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A difficult harvest

Posted January 2, 2007 By AussieSapphire

This time of year, we take a break from mining to harvest our oats.  We produce seed oats for our local district – oats is an important winter forage crop for many graziers around here and is also grown for hay.  There is always a steady demand for seed from our regular customers but the widespread drought in NSW has seen the price for grain skyrocket and enquiries from far and wide from growers desperate to secure seed oats for the coming season.

heading07.jpg Due to the drought and poor harvests in other regions, we knew that it was important to get this crop in.  It has been a nervous time though and we wont relax until it is all in the silo – we did lose yield in some paddocks from hail storms about a month ago but luckily, the damage was not widespread. 

Harvest usually starts just after Christmas each year.  A few months of nursing the crop through and now it all comes down to harvest time.  Unfortunately, the weather is proving frustrating to say the least – very showery, cool and damp. 

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So far, we have had daily interruptions due to rain.  It is 8:00 am as I write this and these pictures from the Bureau of Meteorology tell the story – rain to the west of us and rain to the east with lots of clouds overhead.

We have relatively small paddocks compared to some of the very large wheat growers out west so usually one header is sufficient to get the crop off easily.  However, in these circumstances, it is urgent to get as much off as quickly as possible so the photo  below shows our own header with Andrew driving (in the red) as well as a contractor called in to help (Peter driving the green John Deere in the background).

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Unfortunately, about 20 minutes after this photo was taken yesterday afternoon, another shower rolled over us and we had to call it quits again for the day.  Looks like today will be similarly frustrating.

stubble-hay.jpgWhen we do manage to complete the harvest, the next job will be to arrange baling of the stubble.  We contract this job out and most will go to a nearby feedlot for cattle feed.  This photo from last year shows a truck loading up ready for delivery.

Of course, the final job is cleaning and grading the seed ready for sale and this will take place over the next month.  As usual, our seed will be sold through Elders, Glen Innes and any enquiries for supply should be directed to Bruce and his team on 02 6732 2500.  Supply is extremely tight this year and it looks like the price will be high due to general shortages and high demand so we suggest you get your order in early so you dont miss out.

cheers for now from Andrew and Leah (Aussie Sapphire)