Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Arrival Back

After 46 hours of travel and three flights totalling 30.15 hours i have made it back to Cambridge. Jet lag has been a small issue with 1 am and 4 am playing a big part in my day. Currently -7c its a good 35c difference. Even after looking for two days i cant find that the team have done anything wrong at all. I should go away more often!. Well done them! Its been a fantastic trip and i met some wonderful people and the whole Nuffield experience has been a joy. I would like to thank all the people i met and stayed with a big thank you, and the team back home who allowed me to enjoy myself without concern for home. Tuesday night we went for the farm Christmas dinner to the Chinese where they did us proud. Even after my china experience of saying i wouldn't eat Chinese food again i had to give in. I was grateful that no chicken heads or river fish to be seen!. Whilst i was away Fiona had purchased a paint brush and has decorated the bedroom with flowers and the snug has gone brown, i must say it looks good and getting use to waking to floral.
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Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Three Nuffield Amigos

Desiree myself and Jim Baird another UK Nuffield Scholar went on an adventure. We hired a Helicopter and went up to Mount Cook, New Zealands highest Mountain. We landed at a neighbouring mountain side. The journey took 45 minutes at 120 miles an hour. On the return to base camp the pilot Andrew showed us the abilities of the helicopter. I turned around to see Desiree with her hand over her face and Jim with a smiling face combined with a scared and surprised look. Whilst we where weaving in and around the glaciers rugged cut mountain walls i nearly at one point learned over to the Pilot to say, 'old boy we are about to trim the rocks'. It was a nice ending to this 9 week Nuffield adventure. Tomorrow i fly from Christchurch to Sydney, Sydney to Singapore and then to Heathrow. I'm not looking forward to the 27 hour and 15 minute flight time over two days but I'm looking forward to returning to the farm. The question is, is the farm ready for me.
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Monday, 13 December 2010

Trouble in paradise

It must nearly be time to come home, I've run out of tea bags which the empire was built on. With the speed of the post it would be quicker to replenish stocks back in England. Last time i went travelling there where three things i missed most, a proper cup of tea, cotton ear buds and a bath. I bought two out of the three with me, i have found the odd bath, in fact Ed and Kate Cox let me have a bath in their on suite, and the bath was as large as Hugh Hefner's hot tub but sadly empty of talented young ladies. I also tried to have one in a hotel but it was rather like a large be day, I'm sure why they build them, unless its an Australian thing to conserve water.
Today i woke to find my face lying beside me on the pillow, I've gone from the red Botox look to peeling skin rather like a leper. I still have two days to re burn so i will look tanned when i return to the cold of England, hopefully Fiona will meet me with my set of long johns as I'm going to have a temperature shock. I weighed myself today and i hope there's a Nuffield prize for gaining the must weight, I'm optimistic that Ive won, it read 98.7 kg, I'm not sure what that is in imperial but judging by my trousers it frightening. With Christmas ahead and all the goodies I'm unlikely to see this drop. They Say 'Nuffield changes your Life', i put forward the motion that 'Nuffield changes your Body'.
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Saturday, 11 December 2010

Rotary Board Room

Desiree Reid Nuffield 2010 NZ, and husband Paul have a rotary board room!.
Business decisions made over looking the 800 cows being milked. Desiree and Paul 10 year goal is 10 farms in 10 years. Everywhere i go at the moment i see Cows, it must be a sign.
Neighbouring small tourist town has 40 bus loads of tourists per day, there must be an opportunity here.
Paul has a talent with machinery and buys farm machinery from the nettles and brings it back to live in between milking and moving irrigators. Plenty of water here with no restrictions, complete contrast to Australia. Centre pivots play a big part of the landscape, 95% of water still goes out to sea.
Canterbury plains was once dominated by combines and arable equipment, it has gone through a complete conversion to Dairy its know spot the wheat plant. For survival tactics i pretend i have a dairy back home to fit in as i don't want to be lynched for being an arable boy. Any future arable Nuffields brush up on cow talk as talking about wheat is a conversational killer. I'd like to thank Paul and Desiree for letting me stay and wish them luck with there 10 year goal.
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Thursday, 9 December 2010

Arable and Dairy get together

Rhys Williams Welsh Nuffield 2010 has made it to New Zealand with the family, and is driving around in a camper van. It reminded me of the Mini Winny, William Forsyth and i drove around USA in but much smarter and without the rattles.
We are staying in a camp site and i have a little cabin with all home comforts. Rhys has set me up with a farm visit this afternoon looking at a Dairy as he thinks it will be good for me to look at cows. I think its because he's preparing me for the dairy he wants to set up at Scotland Farm. After an afternoon looking at Dairy operations on a low cost system, im sold and can see the oppurtunity of dairy on a arable farm in cambridgeshire.
See my Botox Look. I'm very grateful to Kelly for supplying me with after sun lotion. Thank you to Nicholas Haines for showing me around three dairies and explaining how it works.
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FAR Farm day on Precision Ag

Pictured is Dan Bloomer demonstrating at an open day discussing Precision Ag and Soil Structure in using Controlled traffic farming. Two samples of soil 20cm by 20 cm taking from the same field and dropped onto a wooden board from a metre high. First sample came from the centre of a cultivated field and second from beneath the hedge. Second sample was superior for having good soil structure, high levels of organic matter and worm activity. I ended up having to give a talk on my experiences of weed management and control traffic farming on my scholarship travels. All Nuffields be prepared that you might have to give a talk with no warning.
Dan warned me to put sun cream on, i decided it wasn't warm enough and just not manly, last night my face decided to set as if i had over done botox.
Next Photo will demostrate the improtance of sun cream on your travels. Mind you, sat next to a welsh man ill always look tanned.
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Wednesday, 8 December 2010

Canterbury crop day

James Powrie and Dan Bloomer from Landwise, Hastings in the North Island, Paul and i went to the FAR combinable crop day. Stuart Wright Chairman of Nuffield New Zealand was also the chairman of Far. Craig Mackenzie a Nuffield Scholar had set himself up in a business selling Green Seeker and Weed Seeker technology minimising inputs and maximising output. Another Nuffield Scholar Hugh Ritchie who has embrassed Precision Ag and only farms at night. After looking at trails presentations and machinery manufacture stands we had a talk given by Mark Inglis the mountaineer with no legs. After his speech on how he climbed Everest with no legs and lost fingers through frost bite i felt like a pathetic man for complaining it was cold at 10C when he had been climbing at minus 50C. Its all about attitude was the clear message, keep pushing forward and take good instruction.
Earlier in the day James and Dan took us to one of the farmers of the year runners up John Evans who had a diverse business. He showed me a side shift frame he had built which can be used in a controlled traffic situation. He also was mastering the use of wireless technology to his sprayer for spray recommendation. His wife had a rouging business and had imported a machine that three people could sit on and be motorised up and down the field. I would like to thank John and his wife for showing me around, and Stuart for the Far Day and special annoucement at the dinner.
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Tuesday, 7 December 2010

New Zealand, North and South

Arrived Monday into Auckland and like all scholars decided to book into the Langham Hotel where i had afternoon tea and contemplated my next 10 days in New Zealand but avoided the Spa as im a stone heavier from leaving home and decided to keep my true Nuffield body to myself. The next morning i travelled to Christchurch in the south island which is based on Cambridge. Meet with the NZ scholar Paul Mcgill, still the James Bond of Nuffield. Had a ride about town on the tram looking at the sites of Christchurch which was enjoyable. Up with the crack of sparrows and off to the annual combinable crops conference near rakaia at the FAR (Foundation of Arable Research) research site. I appreciate its cold at home but its 10C this morning and i've had to find my jumper from the china trip. Sounds like next week will be a Nuffield reunion as Jim Baird from Scotland, Rhyes and family from Wales, Julian from Ireland will all be here, so the four nations reunite. Paul will have no time to write his report pre christmas. Sorry not to be in Australia after seeing the cricket result.
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Thursday, 2 December 2010

Canadian CTF tour.

From Toowamba to Gold coast. Tim Chamen the CTF expert in the UK put me in touch with Tim Neale in Australia. Tim was hosting a CTF group from Canada. I was lucky to be invited to spend two days with them looking at machinery dedicated to CTF from axle modifications to 3 metres to Oztek chaser bins with extended belts for unloading at 12 metres. Three drill manufactures specialing in disc and tine drills. We went to visit different farmers who had converted to 3 metre tramlines on 11 metre and 9 metre systems. On thursday night we went to the RM Williams outback spectacular, where we had a meal watching the romantic history of Australia and the light horse brigade. We retired to Jupiters Hotel and casino. Mel next to me in the photo was crouching so Steve Larocque Canadian Nuffield 2008 could be included in the photo. It was great to finally meet the Canadian CTF entrepreneur and Tim Neale who was a fantastic host and had a well planned and interesting trip. I would like to thank the Canadian group for allowing me to join there trip and for making me feel so welcome. I wish them an enjoyable time in Australia and welcome any of them to come and stay in England.
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An Australian Nuffield 2011

Rob and Penny Blatchford farming at Gurley in NSW, he is one of the new nuffields with an adventure in front of him. Rob has embraced Controlled traffic and has a rotation of millet and cotton. Pictured is a JD 7760 cotton picker on 12 metre double skip configuration. Rob was in the the farming press this week for building a 36 metre cotton planter using JD planters. Diversity in water storage was the dam they had built which was also their water skiing lake with a 400 hp speed boat, very impressive.

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Land of dreams and honey.

Dave Brownhill Nuffield 2010 Australian Chairman and legend. Dave and liz kindly let me stay in the 'Hut' which was a five star house in the garden with fresh flowers. It rained after i arrived and I'm beginning to get a complex as it seems to be following me around Australia. The picture was taken 36 metres high at the top of the elevator, not liking heights i still had to get to the top as i was too proud for Dave to tell the world that the pomey was beaten especially when we are doing so well at the cricket.
The soil on the Liverpool plains is fertile with underground water, perfect! Cotton in CTF was the new enterprise, the agronomist quoted it was the best he had looked at. Tramlines had some depth which showed the benefits from CTF but also asked some interesting questions. Weedseeker technology on the sprayer and biomass scanners (greenseaker)was saving 1000's a year on chemical costs. Specially converted belly tanks allowed the second line to turn on and off when the scanner detected weeds as the sprayer pasted over the field, Brillant!. Next morning we had 63 mm and the Nissan Micra not known for its 4wd qualities was dispatched or i might have got stranded. On route following Dave to a local town to meet Richard Heath he slowed down on a gravel track to show me 20,000 acres of flooded crops and the Micra was aquaplaning at a pace to towards the rear of his hilux, luckly he saw me in his rear mirror and put his foot down which saved my insurance excess. Over a coffee the three of us thrashed out the future of agriculture in 20 years time. I enjoyed my time with the brownhills and wish i'd had more time to spend with them.
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Sunday, 28 November 2010

Stallion on Stallion

Tamworth the town of country and western. Saturday night i went to the final of Professional Bull riders 2010 at Tamworth. Very exciting and only one injury. Their best bull came out at the end and could buck over 9 feet, no wonder the rider only made 3 seconds.
Sunday went to the Tamarang stud where Richard Bull breeds and owns some of the best quarter horses in the world. The stallion i was riding was the 3rd in Australia. Went to the highest hill to survey the lands and i looked for miles and the best bit was no people to be seen. Sunday evening we went to the safari club to celebrate the day where they serve crocodile. I'm grateful to Michael and Lucy for putting me up and Richard for allowing me to ride his favourite horse.
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Friday, 26 November 2010

Rally vehicle

My metro sexual car Hyundai Getz. This is my second Getz I've done 5500 km so far, more mileage than i'd do in a year at home. On my left is Julian and Dave Gooden on my right. Id managed to work the timer on the camera. I need a shoe horn to get in Dave refers to it as my little ladies car. To make a statement i parked out side the pub door between all the V8 Ute's. Only needs 38 dollars to fill.
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Gooden Boys!

Dave Gooden Nuffield scholar 2010, with his two brothers and father just fixing the combine as it had rained between 10mm and 25mm depending which part of the farm. The Goodens are practising a controlled traffic farming on a 13.6 metre system, no till system, growing wheat barley and canola. Depending on the season due to droughts they will bale the land for hay which will enable them to cover costs in a drought year. Dave took me to a neighbours property who had built his own mobile water mixing station. Spraying at 30 lts/ha he was doing 500 ha a load. Only two tank fulls a day. We visited Delta Ag which was a supply business to farmers for variable products. Warwick one of the agronomists showed me the seed and fertiliser area and the chemical shed. It was interesting to see the same chemical like Atlantis but half the price!
Combining had come to a stop due to the rain so a good old knees up in Lockhart at the commercial hotel with a number of local farmers and there families including 4 nuffield scholars together. Julian who helped us at harvest was working on one nuffield scholars farm Brent Alexander thanks to Jim Geltch was supporting a rather porn star moustache for Mowember. I have photo evidence for his father back home on the hunting field. Dave and Heidi looked after me with the help of Isac (jr). I'm extremely grateful for there kindness and that it rained so dave and i could have a look around. Dave was naughty he got up early to wash my hire car and fill it with fuel he was concerned it looked like a 4WD, and there might be a clause to suggest that it wasn't allowed down farmers tracks and through grass hopper swarms which where currently sticking out of the radiator.
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Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Trucking in OZ.

I spent the day with David Cooks a entrepreneur near shepparton, where he was doing controlled traffic farming on a 9 metre system and 3.1 metre wheel track. He had successfully joined forces with a neighbour to increase there acreage and to be able to adopt new technologies. They had imported a cross slot seeder from New Zealand and was becoming one of two importers for cross slot in Australia. He took me to a paddock to show me the drills capabilities of drilling into a mass of grass without blocking. A local contractor was also employed to swath the Beans and Canola which i had a ride around with and learned how he had built his own sprayer to follow the swather and using John Deere technology not launched in the UK yet was controlling the sprayer outfit. I also learnt about sealed silos and controlling insects in temperatures 10C +.
The beast of a lorry was on Alastair Starritt's farm which i drove carting oil seed rape from the paddock to the silos. I'm sure the boys back home would like one of these. Alastair was Combining through the night so i finally got more than 5 hours sleep. As i sat here typing this blog a random sheep was trotting around the garden which has been hiding in the undergrowth was doing its best to avoid capture from Malcolm Starritt. I thank Alastair and Beau for letting me stay and showing me around there enterprise.
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Monday, 22 November 2010

Travel light

Im having differculties getting my luggage around the world, excessive baggage is costing a fortune.

This was in the Tuppal wool shed which had 72 stands for shearing built in a T shape in 1901. First part of the shed was constructed in 1864. One of the largest shearing outfits in the east. The building was built by hand and was in wonderful order. The shed was the site for the famous australian painting by Tom Roberts, "Shearing the Rams". I'm grateful to the Atkinson Family and Bernard Packer for allowing me to look around.
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Rice Seeding

Brad Stillard took me to see pure controlled traffic farming by air. GPS controlled, applying Rice over the flooded bays. It only took 15 minutes to empty and need a refill which took place on site with a mobile fuel tanker and batch rice loader in one, as seen in the photo. Brad specialises in subsurface drip irrigation on his tomatoes. Combinable crops and an Aberdeen Angus herd. Whilst at the sheds he caught a brown snake which as he showed me it was in the top 8 most poisonous, I'm pleased not to have been bitten. I thank Brad and Jan for looking after me and organising the aerial seeding and the next days tour.
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Controlled traffic Engineer

I went to see Trevor Postlethwaite who has been practicing Controlled traffic farming for 18 years, and with GPS controlled for 8 years. Trevor showed me his weed wiper, shielded sprayer and seed cleaner in a combat to weed management as they havent been burning rows for a number of years. Trevor had built on his chaser bin an extension to allow 12 metre tracking, which would develop and allow a solution to my own business. It was good to see how difficulties with adopting a controlled traffic farming had been overcome by manufacturing and developing GPS controls. I was grateful for the time he took on a sunday to show me around and hope to catch up with his brother who does GPS controls another day.
Jim and Helen Geltch kindly put me up and it was good to see both of them again since the scholars contemporay conference. Im extremely grateful for the support and contacts Jim has offered since my arrival in Australia. I wish them luck with the tomatoes.
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Friday, 19 November 2010

EX Pat Nuffield

I've found the lost Nuffield who on her travels loved australia never went back to the welsh hills of Pembrokeshire. Some say Nuffield changes your life. Im on the Smart Group Farming enterprise with three nuffields and a potential fourth in the wings. Enjoying a beer i had a fright when a Kangaroo came to join me. Little did i know when moving faster than seen in ten years that it was a tame pet, interested in beer and snacks i moved to safer quarters. Brendon offered me a ride in his plane to adeliade but my travel sickness had the better of me. I learnt about Quality Management which was a new diverse way to manage and incourage staff. The Canola harvest was underway i was driving a combine but sadly the reverse on the header wasn't working so i blocked the front up which made me sweat.
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Wednesday, 17 November 2010

Steve Ball, Riverton South Australia.

Back to Adelaide, Currently staying with Steve Ball, Nufflied scholar 2010. The home of the invented seed cleaner and pickerel (Hannaford). Visited Helen Thomas Nuffield 2010, Mark Branson nuffield 2005 and Precision farming expert and adopter, John Rohde free range egg chicken farmer. John Gladigau Nuffield Scholar 2007, MD of collaborative Farming Australia. Steve and Nicki where wonderful hosts and i thank them and everyone else for there time.
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Cray Fish for tea

Kangaroo Island, i made it to stay with Ben. i was given a beer at the airport and taken off for a tour of the island. We looked at the islands new grain silo handling facility, and off to see the capital of the Island. Scottish steak and cray fish for tea and more beer. Next day i meet and had a tour around another island Nuffield scholar Andrew Heinrich's sheep enterprise.
Peter a young euthusiastic farmer on the island then took me to see local farmers planting potatoes and a marron operation (fresh water Cray fish). In the evening i gave a talk in a hotel to about 40 young farmers about PX Farms and farming in the UK. I would like to thank Andrew for inviting me to talk to the group and arranging my travel, i enjoyed the evening and meet some fantastic people.
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Sunday, 14 November 2010

First and last night in WA

Ralph (step brother) and Liz who emigrated in 2006 to Joondalup a northern suburb of Perth kindly put me up, on my first night in WA and my last before Adelaide and Kangaroo Island. Exciting news Ralph oldest is getting married at 22 yr old and daughter 20 yr old got engaged whilst i was here. When i rang mother to tell her see got confused on the line and thought i'd said i got engaged.
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Geraldton cathedral North of Perth

I went to see Dr Paul Blackwell at Geraldton North of perth who is an expert in Controlled traffic farming or as he calls it Tramline farming which makes sense. He kindly saw me on a saturday and took time out of his weekend. We ran through the merits of controlled traffic and the practical hurdles. Im grateful for the time he gave me and the scones and english tea.
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Saturday, 13 November 2010

David Fulwood

David Fulwood Nuffield Scholar. I know why they call these a Mother Bin. 85 tonnes of lupins as a standing hopper, just over 3 metres so could easily work in the UK. David showed me his photos of his time on his Nuffield travels. He recently took a global focus group to East Europe and it was good to see some familiar faces. David was gettig stuck into lupin harvest. Controlled traffic farming and over laying 10 years of maps to determine the good and bad parts of the fields. Where to invest and where not to farm. Making GPS technology work for you.
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God father of Australian No till

Ray Harrington took time out of harvest to take me to his farm and show me the Harrington Seed destructor. Towed behind his combine it takes the chaff and crushes the seed. 98% of ryegrass seed travels through the chaff and is destroyed lowing the numbers. Seeing is believing and i was able to witness the process as he combined. As Ray explained its all a numbers game. Hopefully in the future this technology will be available as standard on combines through out the world. Good luck with Harvest Ray and thanks again for showing me.
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Mike kindly showed me around the AGmaster factory where they produce direct drill tines to work in high wearing soils. Complete tine and pipe brackets where manufactured to fit 30 different combinations.
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