Monday, January 3, 2011

Surefills, Drills and no staff

After a 900km drive south from Gunnedah I arrived at Dave Goodens, an Aussie Scholar I hosted in the UK. I met Daves wife Heidi and son Isaac for the first time and was made to feal very welcome striaght away - Heidi is an excellent cook and I was treated to home made ice cream - yum! Dave works with his brothers on a super efficient 9000 acre farm, controlled traffic and 45m system. Both seeder and header widths are a collosal 45ft. Daves soil is the soil you think of when you think Aus - red containing about 2% Organic Matter. Dave grows Wheat, Barley and Canola in rotation and direct drills. Heidi is an agronomist for local firm Delta - an impressive business model for an agronomy firm, the company carries out a lot of trials work with some of their profits. Delta currently holds 40% of the Lockhart market share - an achievement made very quickly. Heidi carries out the agronomy on the farm.

Dave has no employees - family rallies at busy times and the wives take it in turn to supply lunches and dinners to the harvest team depending on whose farm they are working on.

Daves seeder pulls the seed box behind. The seed box has four compartments. One for small seeds and three big ones to make caryying and applying seed, MAP and Urea all possible at the same time in close proximity to each other. The seed is augured into each compartment so no bags.

I visited Heidi store in town - with similarities to my own companies store. Here however I could also purchase pH and water hardness testing kits and a large proportion of the chemical comes in surefil type drums so no leaks, spills or handling just plug the hose from the sprayer in, suck out required amount and return the empty container - not rocket science but brilliant!
My last picture is of the local Bunker - grain is chaser bin'd into waiting lorries or mother bins at the side of the paddock, the lorries then transport the grain either to on farm storage, local bin stores or bunkers - cheap alternatives for the grain companies to silos and necessary where harvest can be very variable. These are in fields, lorries arrive, reverse up to the auger and unload and the auger is moved to create an even heap (that's the plan) the bunker is covered with tarps. The downside is when storage begins to get full in a good year like this bunkers become more probable destinations for the lorries and ques develop which last night were requiring a four hour queing time! Think that may be what's called a bottle neck! With careful management farmers can keep the combines rolling to accomodate this but it adds some logistics to the sequence!

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