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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Livestock farming at Rob's

Rob was building a chaff frame to deliver the ryegrass seeds in one place on his JD combines. Intergrated livestock enterprise in reliable country. Was trying new wheats with double any ear size i'd seen on any other Australian variety. You can blame Rob for this blog as he taught me how to do it. Rob kindly took me around his high standard farm and to kellie's which im grateful. Look forward to seeing you in the UK.
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Combine Baler

I went to see Kellie shields at Gunwarrie who kindly hosted me with Rob Warburton 2010 Nuffield Scholar to see her operation and the combine Baler. This baler fitted behind a Lexion 480 with 12 metre header. This was exporting the ryegrass which is the australian Blackgrass equivalent. Excellent idea two jobs in one, would be interesting to see if it will work in the UK. They had a workshop i could only dream of. Good luck with Harvest Kellie.
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I cant remember his name!

Dan hart ex Cambridgeshire farmer from my home county. Moved over to Australia for opportunity and higher standard of life. Currently planning for harvest and a wedding has a lot on his plate. Using a disc seeder and blue tooth technology for the controller. Good luck dan with your wedding.
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Controlled Traffic Farming leader

Mark Wandel was mastering controlled traffic farming using John Deere Starfire. Working on a 9 metre system he was using an 18 metre seeder, 36 metre John Deere sprayer and had the first 36 metre weed seeker sprayer in WA which was some piece of kit. Used pre drilling it turns each nozzle on when it passes over a weed, saving vast amounts of chemical. Mark was using as seen in the picture a cyclone for the chaff, directly behind the wheel track. He was swathing barley when i arrived which i've never seen before. The swather honey bee header could deliver a swath in three places which helped with control traffic farming especially on headlands. Canola on the controlled traffic fields where doing 2.2 tonnes/ha but the headlands where doing 1.7 tonnes/ha, which shows the next step is headland controlled traffic. I would regard mark as a leader in controlled traffic farming.
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Im no camera man

Phil Longmire, chief of Nuffield WA. I had a great day with Phil, he started combining while i was there and like all farmers on the first day when things go well he was on top form. Phil had the best chaser bin ive seen on my travels which doubles up as a seed filler. He had built a power pack to run his field bins, which could be controlled from the bin. Phils moto was don't spend money on things you can't use else where, which ruled out my Ferrari purchase. i tried to help to set up the ATU john deere steering on the combining. I could have stayed helping for harvest i enjoyed myself so much.
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Large Block farming

Simon Tiller Nuffield Scholar has two large farming blocks of land, manages contractors to help with his harvest. Has identified which parts of the business earn money and how to utilise assets to there full potential. showed me his home made pit and blending facility. Is using a tine drill and a disc seeder with mutliple hoppers. Took me to a sheep feed lot, which buys in damaged grain, wheat straw and mixes in a keenan feeder. Had delivered while i was there a CBH sampling hut which comes with a member of staff to sample grain going to the store terminal which speeds up the turn around time. Only the larger farmers have this or ones who are happy for others to use as well. I wish Simon luck for the future.
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Its not just europe that can go Big crops

Andrew Fowler Nuffield Scholar and wife Marie last farmer before the bush. Has a beach at the end of his farm with sand that squeeks. Well run farming business with a brother who loves livestock, perfect situation. Uses David Cox's N strips to determine nitrogen requirement if any and grazes crops to achieve a gross margin on livestock on par with Cropping. Diverse cropping with Wheat, Barley, canola and clover/ryegrass for cattle and sheep to graze. The clover is burnt off and allowed to regenerate three years later. Growing roundup ready canola. Uses his sprayers as swathers which was utilising assets. The sprayers where so big i could drive the car underneath. Canola was yielding over the bridge 2.2 tonnes to the ha. Andrew and Marie kindly put me up for two nights. Andrew took me to the local pub which had one of the largest burgers i've ever eaten. Im currently 1 stone heavier from meeting Andrew and David Cox. I thank Andrew and Marie for looking after me.
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Silver loam, gods country.

David showed me his soil type, i've never seen land like it, he should get a medal for achieving such good crops. David and sally very kindly looked after me in Esperance and he took time out of his week to take me to Summit fertiliser, CBH in Esperance port facility, Sepwa to visit Nigel Metz and Land Logic. David was grazing crops with imported livestock and was proving to have no yield detrement, increasing gross margins on a livestock enterprise and being able to achieve a return on marginal land. David from his Nuffield studies was working on the concept of N strips which he was passionate about. The basic idea was to ask the plant what it needed by ruling out nitrogen as a requirement. he would apply double what he would normally to a strip in a field and then scan with a green seeker and then scan the unapplied area of the crop and with a Top Secret formular could determine what the Nitrogen requirement of the crop was, this had the potential to save ten of thousands of pounds per year for farmers which subscribe. I wish the Cox family a happy harvest and wish them success for the future.
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Monday, 8 November 2010

Spot the arable farmer.

Arrived in Perth and Ed Cox picked me up from Ralphs my step brothers house and took me down to Esperance an 8 hour drive to meet his brother David and family.

We went kangaroo shooting the first night in Busselton, and i must have been given RSPCA cartridges.
On the way down we hit a Kangeroo which made a mess of Ed's truck, he need a new one anyway!, lucky for me we had just change over driving, its an interesting drive.
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China 17th October - 29th October 2010

Arrived in china and meet up with the group, Arwyn, Claire, Tony, Kevin, Jim, Helen and Helen. We started our adventure around china with new smells, tastes and sights. The pictures shows an afternoon at a school teaching students about the UK. Luckly we did it in pairs and arwyn was my double and did a sterling job entertaining the students with talking welsh and showing them his home on Snowdon. My lasting impression of the trip was Tony had the ability to eat anything including chickens heads, turtles, chicken feet. The chinese people believe they will be the farmers to feed the world.
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