Harvest has commenced in many areas of the state, as has the associated panic that grips man and beast where long hours and short deadlines turn normally amiable husbands into disagreeable grumps and usually patient sons/daughters into frustrated frowners. Even generally sane mothers, wives, significant others become frazzled and fray a little at the edges trying to juggle the myriad of peripheral roles whilst attempting (usually in vain) to maintain some calm and open communication between all parties. Every able bodied being must be on deck and ready to ask “how high” when told to jump!
I’m being a bit flippant and no doubt there are some farms where harvest runs like a well-oiled machine and calm and order prevail … somewhere …
The aforementioned dispositions are the norm for harvest, in my experience, because our livelihood depends on getting a significant portion of our yearly income into the relative safety of some form of storage before the vagaries of Mother Nature’s moods snatch it away. The lead up to summer often brings storms and any grey, pink or green cloud can deliver varying degrees of destruction, most resulting in a reduction to the bottom line.
Whether it’s damage to the crops themselves, loss of a contractor due to prior commitments elsewhere, meaning down-time in finding another (if that’s even possible) or impassable roads to market/storage there is a consequence and with margins so tight now, any glitch is an unwelcome hindrance. So it is little wonder that stress levels increase.
Most of you have seen a harvester in action and some will know the uses for chaser bins as opposed to field bins, silo bags vs. fixed silos, on farm and off farm storage and the transportation of same in huge road trains whose drivers run the gauntlet of Roads and Maritime Services Inspectors to deliver their precious cargo to grain receival sites dotted across the countryside.
For the uninitiated a chaser bin, as its name suggests, “chases” the header (harvester) so that unloading grain can occur “on the run”, the chaser bin driver will then deposit his load into a stationary field bin which in turn fills the trucks for transport to storage. The whole system is designed to avoid any downtime at any part of the process i.e. the header is not wasting time travelling to the field bin and unloading and trucks are not waiting for a load. At least that’s how it’s supposed to work! (Pic of Sarge overseeing header operations).
This year, although we are lucky to have some grain to harvest, it will not be worth getting contractors in, so; Josh and Marc will alternate days on the header and chaser bin, Jeff will cart, I provide food, ferry and counselling services, the dogs are charged with entertainment and good sounding board roles whilst Emma, on weekend visits, slots in where needed and provides respite for anyone who needs it.
As you can imagine any suggestion of escaping to a CWA event during this time is met with a scowl and often a growl, from not only the boss cocky but his side-kicks as well!
Being President carries no kudos in this team!
Temporary and more permanent grain storage