Friday, April 5, 2013

Farming is not for the feint hearted.

Today I learnt more about what real farming is all about. While all week I have been helping around the farm, assisting with whatever job needs doing, from checking livestock to fencing, it has all been fun. Today I saw the results of two years of fleece collection and the marketing process. It has finally hit home. To be a farmer you have to have a job. I mean something other than farming to pay the bills. Farming is something you do for love, not money. Unless you have land of such a size that you can realistically farm quantity and retain quality at the same time....ethical farming needs space to flourish. We started our day early with the task for the day being to bale the fleeces from New Years Eve, then take them to the wool buyer. Two hours later, after collecting and baling the fleeces, then helping to recapture an escaped ram we were on the road with 5 bales of fleece in the trailer. This is two years of product from our flock. The wool buyer pays between 10c per kilo for daggy wool to $7-9 per kilo for top quality Merino fleece. Black Faced Suffolk's are considered eating sheep with their fleeces a by product. With wool quality less than Merino or Merino crosses, around the $4 mark is what is paid for a kilo of fleece from the Black Faced Suffolk's. Slightly more for lamb fleece as would be expected. Bales range in weight from around 90kg to 180 kg depending on the quality control of sorting and dag removal etc. The local rural newspaper only reinforces my thoughts, with the Tasmanian Country advising that DAFF has increased its shed registration fees from $500 last year to $8500 this year. From what I can work out the Government has increased the fee for those producers wanting to export their product, in this instance cherries, so that they comply as a registered exporter. That is a huge increase in fees. Perhaps DAFF should rename themselves DAFFY! We arrived home mid afternoon with a trailer load of mulch to add to the garden. I had started weeding during our Christmas visit, only to return and find that weeds were again taking over. So, mulch is the best option to try and control the regrowth in our absence. Luckily for us Harold called in to say hi, so while he shovelled mulch from the trailer to the wheelbarrows, Frank delivered them to me and I raked them across the garden beds. So much quicker with three on the job - so thanks Harold! The cold beer at the end of it went down a treat too. I am still admiring how good the garden is looking after our efforts. 6.4.2013

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