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Wednesday, September 4, 2013

A Dry Time of Year and Being Prepared

One of the ongoing tasks needing to be addressed is the state of preparedness. When things go wrong it's no good throwing hands in the air and not having a solution. In bushfire season it is the state of readiness and a plan. For a power outage there must be a plan. In dry weather water is needed and feed for the animals. It is very dry and has been since July when we had 35 mm in total. August had 2.5 mm.

In the water area the plan was implemented when we purchased  the property. It was not on town water or alongside a permanent water source. With the aid of two D5 bulldozers and a government department a 7 mega litre dam was installed. Two piston pumps with petrol motors (one for redundancy) push water up to a 20,000 litre holding tank where it can be distributed to garden, trees and water troughs with a pressure system. Theoretically there is enough water for 6 months should it not rain for that period.

There has been very little regrowth and the three cattle are a bit whingy because the quality of feed is poor i.e. plenty of roughage but a bit woody and hard work. We had about 30 bales of old Bio Dynamic Lucerne in the hayshed. It was a bit rat eaten and the last time it was offered to the cattle they ignored it. The Lucerne was purchased some years ago and successive  good seasons meant we never fed much of it out. In fact as it was getting old we had used some for mulch.

At the beginning of the week it was offered again and they wolfed it down. They are still in good condition and just in case the rain stays away we don't want them to lose condition as it is always hard to recover. Because of the age and quality of the BD hay between 2 and 4 bales are being put out each day.

Always having a supply of feed hay on hand is an important part of being prepared or eventualities. There is a balance between having too much and too little. The decision was to refresh stocks and try and get two months supply (based on a bale a day) at the current price and then be prepared to pay a premium after that if it ran out. Some freshly made high quality Lucerne would improve their nutrition until some rain arrives.

Made  contact with a farm at Singleton which makes hay on a large scale. They had 6000 in stock and this last 12 months had baled 45,000. "Come any time". Two levels of quality $11 and $12. We chose the $11 quality. Arrived just before lunch to find three men loading a ute and horse trailer. We gave them a hand and then it was out turn.  Not being sure how many would fit on the trailer and ute it was a simple matter of saying how much cash we had with us and loading until money or space ran out.

The money ran out at 68 bales. Well that's what appeared to be the case. There had be some confusion and instead of loading $11 bales they had supplied $12 bales. Since it was not tied down at that point it would be easy enough to off load some until we matched our cash.

"Don't worry about it, take it at $11."
"Are you sure, we don't mind unloading and putting it back in the shed."
"It's fine, leave it on"

Farmers are funny people. Hard working and frugal, tough as nails and yet generous when you least expect it. Its a good day when you meet good people.

68 Bales of Lucerne, ignore the date stamp on the photo it is incorrect.


  1. funny how old hay suddenly seems to taste better when they get hungry! ours don't get any lucerne though :)

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

    1. Hi Liz, you should have seen them when they got their first bale of fresh Lucerne. Just one bale and afterwards they all sat back to back chewing and looking very contented. Then of course later in the day when they were given an old bale they looked very offended.