Farmer Roy's Random Thoughts - I never said it was easy.

CornishTone

Member
Location
Cornwall
View attachment 828199
Finally cracked the 600,000kg liveweight/hectare mark.
Sunny Sunday after a frost, so we migrated out to the verge for a topup, certainly "filled a gap" and saves me mowing it.
Have them in a handy paddock to the road, so we can on/off graze the verges before Sarah begins her calf-rearing job.

All in the plan
How long were they on there for then, just an afternoon?
 
@Farmer Roy , may be I missed it but now you've sold your house (not sure if that's good or bad really) but what do you think your going to do both from a living /house point of view and the farming ?? Just asking as a "TFF friendly pom" !
hi
selling that house was always part of a longer term plan - that's why we built it.
However, the reason / intent behind selling it has changed
I am unhappy about the reason for selling it & the fact that I am having to make these decisions, but it is good that it is sold, it is still working toward my survival plan & that I have accepted what needs to be done. It is neither good or bad. It is what it is . . .
Part of the original motivation to building a house in town rather than on the farm ( which was always a bit of a pipe dream & ultimately doomed to fantasy ) was to separate assets, not to have all the eggs in one basket & to provide a bit of security if it all turned pear shape & we lost the farm.
Bear in mind, this isn't a rash knee jerk reaction to a short term cashflow situation - we built the house 5 years ago, bought the land for it a year earlier etc etc
The theory was, even if we lost the farm, at least we would still have a family home. This house was never meant to be the "forever" home, which is why we built a fairly generic house that would appeal to most, rather than anything too personalised or polarising.
Nothing is ever guaranteed, we are all only really a hiccup away from homelessness or poverty. Always good to have a Plan B ( or even C, D, etc ) or an escape route for everything in life.
Anyway, it has become clear that although living in town is hugely convenient for school, my wife's work, sporting & social activities etc etc - it is not where we ultimately want to end up.
So - we are looking at buying a small farm about 25km away, about 10km the other side of Curlewis, from where my farm is located. This small farm is worth less than the house we sold, so we are effectively moving our home loan sideways & not increasing our borrowings. It is a grazing block, so there is potential for income from it, compared to a home in town.
There is no house, but a fairly new shed with one end closed off for living accommodation. Will be a bit of a shock going from a 5 bedroom / 2 bathroom / 3 toilet house to a shed corner . . .
From that point, there are two scenarios
1) within a year or 2 seasons turn around, we still have the main farm & we will build a modest, small house on the "hobby farm", while also increasing its value
2) comes to the end of the year / next year & we make the decision that we cannot keep digging a bigger hole & borrowing more money with no sign of income, then we sell the main farm, clear our debts, build a small, modest house on the "hobby farm" & revaluate our lives . . .

money, or material possessions, or other peoples perceptions, aren't that important to me. What IS important is a "connectedness" with land & country. I really don't want to sell / lose that connection with land. At times I think I would rather die out there by my own hand, than turn my back on it. . .
However, decisions need to be made & the harder or more unpalatable the decisions are, the more important it is to make them. That sorta comes back a bit to what @Kiwi Pete was saying elsewhere about having mentors & constantly questioning what we do. No point "hoping" things will improve . . . We need to take control. I believe that so much of the reason for rural depression / anxiety / mental health / drug & alcohol problems is because people feel they have lost control of their own destiny & feel powerless. So many posts on TFF reflect this. At least by making the unpalatable decisions, you are regaining control . . . If we don't have anyone to point this out to us, we need to have a good grasp on "self awareness"
I used to be a big fan of the HBO series "The Soprano's". The script writing & performances were so good, it just drew me in. Tony Soprano was an interesting, multi faceted character. Repulsive & charming at the same time. There is one line from all those years ago ( what is it 15 or 20 years now ? ) that has always stuck with me, more so than any bible passage or motivational quote. I cant remember the exact situation - another gang was trying to take over their turf, or they had to kill someone ? Anyway, the boys couldn't agree on the best course of action or what was best to do, until Tony said "any decision is better than indecision. We need to take control". or, was it "the wrong decision is still better than no decision" . . . ? something like that anyway :)
I know myself, at times I can be virtually paralysed with indecision & stress & anxiety, because I don't know what to do & am unwilling to consider the "difficult" option. The funny thing is, once you make that "difficult" decision, its amazing how that clears your mind & relieves a huge burden . . .

Sorry - getting all "Farmer Roy" on you & side tracking a bit

Farm wise - well, I do have a portion of my cool season cropping area planted, on the only fields that had any subsoil moisture under them. Chickpeas & barley. Still a long way from harvest yet, should manage to harvest something but yield prospects are not great.
Our whole farming system revolves around zero till, retaining as much groundcover as possible & conserving as much soil moisture as possible. Our crops rely on stored sub soil moisture as much / more than they do on in crop rainfall. We have very deep soils with very high moisture holding ability. Rule of thumb is, we don't plant a crop unless we have a metre of soil moisture ( due to our harsh & unpredictable climate. Just another facet of Risk Management, an attitude that is part of every operation & decision we make ) - the trouble is, once our soils are dry ( I don't mean dry on top. I mean DRY right through the profile, with cracks that are metres deep & a surface that is turning to powder & losing its structure ) they take a LOT of water to wet them up. That is why floods can be so beneficial to us, afterall, we are on an alluvial floodplain & the whole environment has adapted to that cycle of floods and drought. So have our farming systems ( hence the zero till, ground cover & moisture conservation ) to an extent. The trouble is we have never faced one like this before, the extremes are getting more extreme & the climate is generally getting hotter & drier.
I mentioned groundcover. Crucial. Our soils consume groundcover fairly quickly, which is great when you are regularly growing crops & leaving residue. However, with no crops growing ( or even "weeds". At the moment Id be happy for any vegetation ), high temps, strong winds & a brittle environment, it is very difficult to maintain ground cover as eventually it is consumed or just oxidises away . . .
Back to topic.
We have 2 cropping seasons a year, so next planting opportunity would be warm season crops ( dry land cotton, grain sorghum, sunflowers, mung beans ) from say October to December. ( in the past, that has always worked for us, by splitting the main incomes & expenses throughout the year, but also from a production risk perspective. If we lose or miss out on one crop, the next potential chance is 6 months away, not 12, like it is for most cropping areas south of here who only get 1 season a year ).
However - as stated we have no profile of soil moisture. You certainly wouldn't "dry sow" any summer crops here. We would need at least 200mm before youd even consider putting a seed in the ground. We NEED that soil moisture. Next few months forecast to be dryer / hotter than average with little chance of rain. Many people have already written off our summer cropping season & are already looking towards next winter instead ( May - July 2020 ) . . .
If we cant stay in the game long enough without increasing our borrowings - then the farm is for sale. Simple as that.
I will retreat to the "hobby farm" ( assuming we buy it, that is - nothing signed yet ), lick my wounds, & potentially do what I did this year - work away from home for 4 months to earn as much money as 12 months here in a low paid labouring job . . .
My wife has a job & we aim to be much more self sufficient & modest in our living
 
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hi
selling that house was always part of a longer term plan - that's why we built it.
However, the reason / intent behind selling it has changed
I am unhappy about the reason for selling it & the fact that I am having to make these decisions, but it is good that it is sold, it is still working toward my survival plan & that I have accepted what needs to be done. It is neither good or bad. It is what it is . . .
Part of the original motivation to building a house in town rather than on the farm ( which was always a bit of a pipe dream & ultimately doomed to fantasy ) was to separate assets, not to have all the eggs in one basket & to provide a bit of security if it all turned pear shape & we lost the farm.
Bear in mind, this isn't a rash knee jerk reaction to a short term cashflow situation - we built the house 5 years ago, bought the land for it a year earlier etc etc
The theory was, even if we lost the farm, at least we would still have a family home. This house was never meant to be the "forever" home, which is why we built a fairly generic house that would appeal to most, rather than anything too personalised or polarising.
Anyway, it has become clear that although living in town is hugely convenient for school, my wife's work, sporting & social activities etc etc - it is not where we ultimately want to end up.
So - we are looking at buying a small farm about 25km away, about 10km the other side of Curlewis, from where my farm is located. This small farm is worth less than the house we sold, so we are effectively moving our home loan sideways & not increasing our borrowings. It is a grazing block, so there is potential for income from it, compared to a home in town.
There is no house, but a fairly new shed with one end closed off for living accommodation. Will be a bit of a shock going from a 5 bedroom / 2 bathroom / 3 toilet house to a shed corner . . .
From that point, there are two scenarios
1) within a year or 2 seasons turn around, we still have the main farm & we will build a modest, small house on the "hobby farm", while also increasing its value
2) comes to the end of the year / next year & we make the decision that we cannot keep digging a bigger hole & borrowing more money with no sign of income, then we sell the main farm, clear our debts, build a small, modest house on the "hobby farm" & revaluate our lives . . .

money, or material possessions, or other peoples perceptions, aren't that important to me. What IS important is family & a "connectedness" with land & country. I really don't want to sell / lose that connection with land. At times I think I would rather die out there by my own hand, than turn my back on it. . .
However, decisions need to be made & the harder or more unpalatable the decisions are, the more important it is to make them. That sorta comes back a bit to what @Kiwi Pete was saying elsewhere about having mentors & constantly questioning what we do. No point "hoping" things will improve . . . We need to take control. I believe that so much of the reason for rural depression / anxiety / mental health / drug & alcohol problems is because people feel they have lost control of their own destiny & feel powerless. So many posts on TFF reflect this. At least by making the unpalatable decisions, you are regaining control . . . If we don't have anyone to point this out to us, we need to have a good grasp on "self awareness"
I used to be a big fan of the HBO series "The Soprano's". The script writing & performances were so good, it just drew me in. Tony Soprano was an interesting, multi faceted character. Repulsive & charming at the same time. There is one line from all those years ago ( what is it 15 or 20 years now ? ) that has always stuck with me, more so than any bible passage or motivational quote. I cant remember the exact situation - another gang was trying to take over their turf, or they had to kill someone ? Anyway, the boys couldn't agree on the best course of action or what was best to do, until Tony said "any decision is better than indecision. We need to take control". or, was it "the wrong decision is still better than no decision" . . . ? something like that anyway :)
I know myself, at times I can be virtually paralysed with indecision & stress & anxiety, because I don't know what to do & am unwilling to consider the "difficult" option. The funny thing is, once you make that "difficult" decision, its amazing how that clears your mind & relieves a huge burden . . .

Sorry - getting all "Farmer Roy" on you & side tracking a bit

Farm wise - well, I do have a portion of my cool season cropping area planted, on the only fields that had any subsoil moisture under them. Chickpeas & barley. Still a long way from harvest yet, should manage to harvest something but yield prospects are not great.
Our whole farming system revolves around zero till, retaining as much groundcover as possible & conserving as much soil moisture as possible. Our crops rely on stored sub soil moisture as much / more than they do on in crop rainfall. We have very deep soils with very high moisture holding ability. Rule of thumb is, we don't plant a crop unless we have a metre of soil moisture ( due to our harsh & unpredictable climate. Just another facet of Risk Management, an attitude that is part of every operation & decision we make ) - the trouble is, once our soils are dry ( I don't mean dry on top. I mean DRY right through the profile, with cracks that are metres deep & a surface that is turning to powder & losing its structure ) they take a LOT of water to wet them up. That is why floods can be so beneficial to us, afterall, we are on an alluvial floodplain & the whole environment has adapted to that cycle of floods and drought. So have our farming systems ( hence the zero till, ground cover & moisture conservation ) to an extent. The trouble is we have never faced one like this before, the extremes are getting more extreme & the climate is generally getting hotter & drier.
I mentioned groundcover. Crucial. Our soils consume groundcover fairly quickly, which is great when you are regularly growing crops & leaving residue. However, with no crops growing ( or even "weeds". At the moment Id be happy for any vegetation ), high temps, strong winds & a brittle environment, it is very difficult to maintain ground cover as eventually it is consumed or just oxidises away . . .
Back to topic.
We have 2 cropping seasons a year, so next planting opportunity would be warm season crops ( dry land cotton, grain sorghum, sunflowers, mung beans ) from say October to December. ( in the past, that has always worked for us, by splitting the main incomes & expenses throughout the year, but also from a production risk perspective. If we lose or miss out on one crop, the next potential chance is 6 months away, not 12, like it is for most cropping areas south of here who only get 1 season a year ).
However - as stated we have no profile of soil moisture. You certainly wouldn't "dry sow" any summer crops here. We would need at least 200mm before youd even consider putting a seed in the ground. We NEED that soil moisture. Next few months forecast to be dryer / hotter than average with little chance of rain. Many people have already written off our summer cropping season & are already looking towards next winter instead ( May - July 2020 ) . . .
If we cant stay in the game long enough without increasing our borrowings - then the farm is for sale. Simple as that.
I will retreat to the "hobby farm" ( assuming we buy it, that is - nothing signed yet ), lick my wounds, & potentially do what I did this year - work away from home for 4 months to earn as much money as 12 months here in a low paid labouring job . . .
My wife has a job & we aim to be much more self sufficient & modest in our living
At least you are able to LEAD yourself and make the unpalatable choices - so many are paralysed - we are ALWAYS more emancipated than we believe ourselves to be...
I'd rather make a bad decision myself, than have someone else make a reasonable one for me.

If anyone can turn a sh!t situation upside down, it's someone with big enough clangers to make tough choices - as Ruben Gonzales would say, "great people are born ordinary - the struggle makes them great"
 
as I said on the latest of the Boss's hand wringing, pizzle dampening self entitled whinge fest - we ALL have options.

it is just up to us to recognise that fact, rather than sitting in the corner blubbering that its not "fair"

no one ever said it was meant to be fair

or easy
I thought "fair" and "easy" were simply constructs of the child's mind - and as we trade magic for fact, we should realise that
 
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Of course they have, Aus is only a little colony after all :ROFLMAO::ROFLMAO:
 
hi
selling that house was always part of a longer term plan - that's why we built it.
However, the reason / intent behind selling it has changed
I am unhappy about the reason for selling it & the fact that I am having to make these decisions, but it is good that it is sold, it is still working toward my survival plan & that I have accepted what needs to be done. It is neither good or bad. It is what it is . . .
Part of the original motivation to building a house in town rather than on the farm ( which was always a bit of a pipe dream & ultimately doomed to fantasy ) was to separate assets, not to have all the eggs in one basket & to provide a bit of security if it all turned pear shape & we lost the farm.
Bear in mind, this isn't a rash knee jerk reaction to a short term cashflow situation - we built the house 5 years ago, bought the land for it a year earlier etc etc
The theory was, even if we lost the farm, at least we would still have a family home. This house was never meant to be the "forever" home, which is why we built a fairly generic house that would appeal to most, rather than anything too personalised or polarising.
Nothing is ever guaranteed, we are all only really a hiccup away from homelessness or poverty. Always good to have a Plan B ( or even C, D, etc ) or an escape route for everything in life.
Anyway, it has become clear that although living in town is hugely convenient for school, my wife's work, sporting & social activities etc etc - it is not where we ultimately want to end up.
So - we are looking at buying a small farm about 25km away, about 10km the other side of Curlewis, from where my farm is located. This small farm is worth less than the house we sold, so we are effectively moving our home loan sideways & not increasing our borrowings. It is a grazing block, so there is potential for income from it, compared to a home in town.
There is no house, but a fairly new shed with one end closed off for living accommodation. Will be a bit of a shock going from a 5 bedroom / 2 bathroom / 3 toilet house to a shed corner . . .
From that point, there are two scenarios
1) within a year or 2 seasons turn around, we still have the main farm & we will build a modest, small house on the "hobby farm", while also increasing its value
2) comes to the end of the year / next year & we make the decision that we cannot keep digging a bigger hole & borrowing more money with no sign of income, then we sell the main farm, clear our debts, build a small, modest house on the "hobby farm" & revaluate our lives . . .

money, or material possessions, or other peoples perceptions, aren't that important to me. What IS important is a "connectedness" with land & country. I really don't want to sell / lose that connection with land. At times I think I would rather die out there by my own hand, than turn my back on it. . .
However, decisions need to be made & the harder or more unpalatable the decisions are, the more important it is to make them. That sorta comes back a bit to what @Kiwi Pete was saying elsewhere about having mentors & constantly questioning what we do. No point "hoping" things will improve . . . We need to take control. I believe that so much of the reason for rural depression / anxiety / mental health / drug & alcohol problems is because people feel they have lost control of their own destiny & feel powerless. So many posts on TFF reflect this. At least by making the unpalatable decisions, you are regaining control . . . If we don't have anyone to point this out to us, we need to have a good grasp on "self awareness"
I used to be a big fan of the HBO series "The Soprano's". The script writing & performances were so good, it just drew me in. Tony Soprano was an interesting, multi faceted character. Repulsive & charming at the same time. There is one line from all those years ago ( what is it 15 or 20 years now ? ) that has always stuck with me, more so than any bible passage or motivational quote. I cant remember the exact situation - another gang was trying to take over their turf, or they had to kill someone ? Anyway, the boys couldn't agree on the best course of action or what was best to do, until Tony said "any decision is better than indecision. We need to take control". or, was it "the wrong decision is still better than no decision" . . . ? something like that anyway :)
I know myself, at times I can be virtually paralysed with indecision & stress & anxiety, because I don't know what to do & am unwilling to consider the "difficult" option. The funny thing is, once you make that "difficult" decision, its amazing how that clears your mind & relieves a huge burden . . .

Sorry - getting all "Farmer Roy" on you & side tracking a bit

Farm wise - well, I do have a portion of my cool season cropping area planted, on the only fields that had any subsoil moisture under them. Chickpeas & barley. Still a long way from harvest yet, should manage to harvest something but yield prospects are not great.
Our whole farming system revolves around zero till, retaining as much groundcover as possible & conserving as much soil moisture as possible. Our crops rely on stored sub soil moisture as much / more than they do on in crop rainfall. We have very deep soils with very high moisture holding ability. Rule of thumb is, we don't plant a crop unless we have a metre of soil moisture ( due to our harsh & unpredictable climate. Just another facet of Risk Management, an attitude that is part of every operation & decision we make ) - the trouble is, once our soils are dry ( I don't mean dry on top. I mean DRY right through the profile, with cracks that are metres deep & a surface that is turning to powder & losing its structure ) they take a LOT of water to wet them up. That is why floods can be so beneficial to us, afterall, we are on an alluvial floodplain & the whole environment has adapted to that cycle of floods and drought. So have our farming systems ( hence the zero till, ground cover & moisture conservation ) to an extent. The trouble is we have never faced one like this before, the extremes are getting more extreme & the climate is generally getting hotter & drier.
I mentioned groundcover. Crucial. Our soils consume groundcover fairly quickly, which is great when you are regularly growing crops & leaving residue. However, with no crops growing ( or even "weeds". At the moment Id be happy for any vegetation ), high temps, strong winds & a brittle environment, it is very difficult to maintain ground cover as eventually it is consumed or just oxidises away . . .
Back to topic.
We have 2 cropping seasons a year, so next planting opportunity would be warm season crops ( dry land cotton, grain sorghum, sunflowers, mung beans ) from say October to December. ( in the past, that has always worked for us, by splitting the main incomes & expenses throughout the year, but also from a production risk perspective. If we lose or miss out on one crop, the next potential chance is 6 months away, not 12, like it is for most cropping areas south of here who only get 1 season a year ).
However - as stated we have no profile of soil moisture. You certainly wouldn't "dry sow" any summer crops here. We would need at least 200mm before youd even consider putting a seed in the ground. We NEED that soil moisture. Next few months forecast to be dryer / hotter than average with little chance of rain. Many people have already written off our summer cropping season & are already looking towards next winter instead ( May - July 2020 ) . . .
If we cant stay in the game long enough without increasing our borrowings - then the farm is for sale. Simple as that.
I will retreat to the "hobby farm" ( assuming we buy it, that is - nothing signed yet ), lick my wounds, & potentially do what I did this year - work away from home for 4 months to earn as much money as 12 months here in a low paid labouring job . . .
My wife has a job & we aim to be much more self sufficient & modest in our living
as I said on the latest of the Boss's hand wringing, pizzle dampening self entitled whinge fest - we ALL have options.

it is just up to us to recognise that fact, rather than sitting in the corner blubbering that its not "fair"

no one ever said it was meant to be fair

or easy
Isn't it interesting how many folk here are getting all worked up about the impending political moment and how it will sort out all their business problems / send their business down the pan? So few are actually seriously looking at their, often many, options and PLANNING ahead.

I really hope you do get the "hobby block" as it is clearly something that you feel close to.
 

CornishTone

Member
Location
Cornwall
I’ve met @Kiwi Pete in the flesh, drank his tea, looked at his cows and had a tour of a local nature spot.

Sadly, our plans to meet up with @Farmer Roy before we left didn’t come to fruition. But they do say you should never meet your hero’s, so it was probably for the best we didn’t meet. I’d hate to have disappointed him!


(Next time!!!)
 

onesiedale

Member
Location
Derbyshire
hi
selling that house was always part of a longer term plan - that's why we built it.
However, the reason / intent behind selling it has changed
I am unhappy about the reason for selling it & the fact that I am having to make these decisions, but it is good that it is sold, it is still working toward my survival plan & that I have accepted what needs to be done. It is neither good or bad. It is what it is . . .
Part of the original motivation to building a house in town rather than on the farm ( which was always a bit of a pipe dream & ultimately doomed to fantasy ) was to separate assets, not to have all the eggs in one basket & to provide a bit of security if it all turned pear shape & we lost the farm.
Bear in mind, this isn't a rash knee jerk reaction to a short term cashflow situation - we built the house 5 years ago, bought the land for it a year earlier etc etc
The theory was, even if we lost the farm, at least we would still have a family home. This house was never meant to be the "forever" home, which is why we built a fairly generic house that would appeal to most, rather than anything too personalised or polarising.
Nothing is ever guaranteed, we are all only really a hiccup away from homelessness or poverty. Always good to have a Plan B ( or even C, D, etc ) or an escape route for everything in life.
Anyway, it has become clear that although living in town is hugely convenient for school, my wife's work, sporting & social activities etc etc - it is not where we ultimately want to end up.
So - we are looking at buying a small farm about 25km away, about 10km the other side of Curlewis, from where my farm is located. This small farm is worth less than the house we sold, so we are effectively moving our home loan sideways & not increasing our borrowings. It is a grazing block, so there is potential for income from it, compared to a home in town.
There is no house, but a fairly new shed with one end closed off for living accommodation. Will be a bit of a shock going from a 5 bedroom / 2 bathroom / 3 toilet house to a shed corner . . .
From that point, there are two scenarios
1) within a year or 2 seasons turn around, we still have the main farm & we will build a modest, small house on the "hobby farm", while also increasing its value
2) comes to the end of the year / next year & we make the decision that we cannot keep digging a bigger hole & borrowing more money with no sign of income, then we sell the main farm, clear our debts, build a small, modest house on the "hobby farm" & revaluate our lives . . .

money, or material possessions, or other peoples perceptions, aren't that important to me. What IS important is a "connectedness" with land & country. I really don't want to sell / lose that connection with land. At times I think I would rather die out there by my own hand, than turn my back on it. . .
However, decisions need to be made & the harder or more unpalatable the decisions are, the more important it is to make them. That sorta comes back a bit to what @Kiwi Pete was saying elsewhere about having mentors & constantly questioning what we do. No point "hoping" things will improve . . . We need to take control. I believe that so much of the reason for rural depression / anxiety / mental health / drug & alcohol problems is because people feel they have lost control of their own destiny & feel powerless. So many posts on TFF reflect this. At least by making the unpalatable decisions, you are regaining control . . . If we don't have anyone to point this out to us, we need to have a good grasp on "self awareness"
I used to be a big fan of the HBO series "The Soprano's". The script writing & performances were so good, it just drew me in. Tony Soprano was an interesting, multi faceted character. Repulsive & charming at the same time. There is one line from all those years ago ( what is it 15 or 20 years now ? ) that has always stuck with me, more so than any bible passage or motivational quote. I cant remember the exact situation - another gang was trying to take over their turf, or they had to kill someone ? Anyway, the boys couldn't agree on the best course of action or what was best to do, until Tony said "any decision is better than indecision. We need to take control". or, was it "the wrong decision is still better than no decision" . . . ? something like that anyway :)
I know myself, at times I can be virtually paralysed with indecision & stress & anxiety, because I don't know what to do & am unwilling to consider the "difficult" option. The funny thing is, once you make that "difficult" decision, its amazing how that clears your mind & relieves a huge burden . . .

Sorry - getting all "Farmer Roy" on you & side tracking a bit

Farm wise - well, I do have a portion of my cool season cropping area planted, on the only fields that had any subsoil moisture under them. Chickpeas & barley. Still a long way from harvest yet, should manage to harvest something but yield prospects are not great.
Our whole farming system revolves around zero till, retaining as much groundcover as possible & conserving as much soil moisture as possible. Our crops rely on stored sub soil moisture as much / more than they do on in crop rainfall. We have very deep soils with very high moisture holding ability. Rule of thumb is, we don't plant a crop unless we have a metre of soil moisture ( due to our harsh & unpredictable climate. Just another facet of Risk Management, an attitude that is part of every operation & decision we make ) - the trouble is, once our soils are dry ( I don't mean dry on top. I mean DRY right through the profile, with cracks that are metres deep & a surface that is turning to powder & losing its structure ) they take a LOT of water to wet them up. That is why floods can be so beneficial to us, afterall, we are on an alluvial floodplain & the whole environment has adapted to that cycle of floods and drought. So have our farming systems ( hence the zero till, ground cover & moisture conservation ) to an extent. The trouble is we have never faced one like this before, the extremes are getting more extreme & the climate is generally getting hotter & drier.
I mentioned groundcover. Crucial. Our soils consume groundcover fairly quickly, which is great when you are regularly growing crops & leaving residue. However, with no crops growing ( or even "weeds". At the moment Id be happy for any vegetation ), high temps, strong winds & a brittle environment, it is very difficult to maintain ground cover as eventually it is consumed or just oxidises away . . .
Back to topic.
We have 2 cropping seasons a year, so next planting opportunity would be warm season crops ( dry land cotton, grain sorghum, sunflowers, mung beans ) from say October to December. ( in the past, that has always worked for us, by splitting the main incomes & expenses throughout the year, but also from a production risk perspective. If we lose or miss out on one crop, the next potential chance is 6 months away, not 12, like it is for most cropping areas south of here who only get 1 season a year ).
However - as stated we have no profile of soil moisture. You certainly wouldn't "dry sow" any summer crops here. We would need at least 200mm before youd even consider putting a seed in the ground. We NEED that soil moisture. Next few months forecast to be dryer / hotter than average with little chance of rain. Many people have already written off our summer cropping season & are already looking towards next winter instead ( May - July 2020 ) . . .
If we cant stay in the game long enough without increasing our borrowings - then the farm is for sale. Simple as that.
I will retreat to the "hobby farm" ( assuming we buy it, that is - nothing signed yet ), lick my wounds, & potentially do what I did this year - work away from home for 4 months to earn as much money as 12 months here in a low paid labouring job . . .
My wife has a job & we aim to be much more self sufficient & modest in our living
@Farmer Roy , Hope it all works out well for you. but you never said it was easy.
@Bossfarmer this is how farmers can take responsibility for their own future. Its all about making the big decisions.
 
I’ve met @Kiwi Pete in the flesh, drank his tea, looked at his cows and had a tour of a local nature spot.

Sadly, our plans to meet up with @Farmer Roy before we left didn’t come to fruition. But they do say you should never meet your hero’s, so it was probably for the best we didn’t meet. I’d hate to have disappointed him!


(Next time!!!)
So that's 2 tea bags gone from the box then :whistle::D
 

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Data-linked field boundaries open new opportunities for agri-food sector

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Written by Charlotte Cunningham

UK agri-tech centre, Agrimetrics, have used satellite imagery and cutting-edge AI to map all 2.8 million UK field boundaries. Charlotte Cunningham reports. The lack of accurate field boundaries has been a pain point for the agri-food sector since the Rural Payments Agency stopped making these publicly available. To solve this, one of four agri-tech centres that make up...
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