The old saying, ‘when it rains it pours’ definitely comes to fruition this time of year, every year.
This time of the year is always the busiest, but it’s also my favourite. I love watching all the planning and hard work throughout the previous months –cropping, lambs, wool, sheep, cattle and hay – coming together.
In what can only be described as an unusual year, we will fare very well.
Crops for the best part will be profitable, with beans looking to be the winner once again. Although parts of the crop have struggled with the wetter times in July-August, they will still yield reasonably and prices once again are looking great.
Particular paddocks that have had countless hours spent on them are now almost fully formed crops. The satisfaction of paddock transformation is a definite highlight of my farming life.
Usually just growing a handy oat crop on virgin ground is enough but this year with oats about $400 a tonne, the success – fingers crossed – is all the more sweeter.
Shearing 2018 has come and gone with the exception of some meat lambs and border Leicester lambs. This year was much easier to manage, with minimal rain and no delays like we’ve had the past two seasons. Wool cut was down a little from last year, which I’ve put down to a tough season in the lead-up.
Meat lambs are once again a very profitable side to the mixed farm enterprise.
Getting $180 to $200 for lambs at five months of age is almost easy money.
‘Almost’ being the key word, as most of us who work with sheep know the joys of dealing with crossbreds opposed to the placid demeanour of merinos.
We’ve sold more lambs over the hooks this year than we ever have but it seems to have worked well.
This year, like every year, has its challenges. None, however, account to the challenge of running the farm without Dad.
Even though through his illness I still made most of the decisions he was still available to ask questions and back me up.
Sometimes it’s the simple little everyday things that are the hardest, sometimes you just miss enjoying something together that you know he would love.
Luckily, I have a well-oiled support crew. You really find out who cares for you when you lose someone, especially to cancer.
Ongoing support from family, friends, neighbours and even complete strangers who know your situation is greatly appreciated. Hopefully, I can repay those in years to come.
But even with the sad times, we move on to possibly the busiest, most daunting, yet super exciting part of this year’s season: The arrival of the seventh generation at Highlands. Due early December, the new arrival is sure to change the world as we know it.
At this stage, we don’t know if we need pink or green tractors but either way there’s some new toys and sleepless nights heading our direction. Sarah has been lucky so far, hopefully, all goes well in the coming weeks and we have a new future farm manager this Christmas.