An Australian Nuffield 2011

An Australian Nuffield 2011

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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.

Land of dreams and honey.

Land of dreams and honey.

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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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Stallion on Stallion

Stallion on Stallion

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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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Rally vehicle

Rally vehicle

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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!

Gooden Boys!

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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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Trucking in OZ.

Trucking in OZ.

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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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