Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Back Home

I have now popped the Nuffield bubble and am back to reality (and my own bed). At this point I need to thank everyone that has made this year possible. I am not going to individually name everyone but thanks in particular to my family, Nuffield Australia, GRDC, and everyone that has hosted me, fed me, given me a bed or beer, or helped organise visits and contacts.
Thanks to all the boys from my GFP. Thanks for the memories and look forward to keeping in touch
The easy bit is done and now I just have the minor issue of finishing off my report and presenting my findings. My travels have given me a renewed drive to strive ahead and continue to improve. I am confident our business is heading in the right direction but one thing for sure is that we need to continue to move with the times and keep on challenging ourselves and what we do.

South Island

New Zealands South Island was the last stop on my trip and it was a great way to end my travels. I had not been to NZ before and cant wait to go back. We managed to experience a quite a few aftershocks from the earthquake, rain, wind, snow, rain, some sun (I think) and a bit more rain.
Lots of deer farming in New Zealand. Although I dont think that the industry is as big as it used tobe
This is the first time I have been in the snow and not been on a mountain. Farmers in Southland have been battling the elements lately, right at the start of lambing and early in the milking
season. Unfortunately lots of dead lambs and pugged up paddocks as everyone battles the cold wet conditions.
This is some new chicory varieties at Agricom in Lincoln. I had not seen the coloured
ones before and I am not convinced we will see paddocks of them in the future either.
I was surprised at the amount of merino wool products available in the shops. I thought NZ was all prime lambs. Not until we had driven inland do you realise the country is well suited to merinos. We stocked up on Icebreaker gear as well.
Bendigo Station. Home of Shrek the sheep. Not a bad photo - sweet as

Saturday, September 18, 2010


Renee flew over last weekend which was good as neither of us have ever been to NZ. She is now getting used to the pace of life as a scholar on the move all the time - she thought she was getting a holiday. We got the ferry across to the South Island and spent a night in Christchurch. We experinced our first earthquake/aftershock. I think they are over 600 now. This is some of the damage we saw. Amazing no body was killedWindows boarded up. Glass on the street below everywhere.
Some of the stories you here of new rivers forming, straight roads now have bends, flat paddocks now have humps, where is your property boundary now, Do you still own that tree or is it your neighbours?

North Island NZ

I stayed a week with Kiwi scholar Paul MaGill. Paul manages a sheep/cropping farm near Masterton at the bottom of the North Island. The winter here has been very wet and paddocks are waterlogged, and everyone is behind with fertiliser and chemical applications because they cannot get on paddocks.
The day I arrived all the rivers were full and some flooding occurred. The water disappeared fairly quickly though.
This is one of Pauls wheat crops. The line is the tile drain. Pity the whole lot wasn't that good. It was surprising how well the crops were handling the wet actually.
Paul and his agronomist working a plan of attack.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Next stop - NZ

As I make my way around the country you see a lot of interesting things. Want a good travellers tip - keep the camera close handy. Anyway driving along the famous Route 66 the other day I came across this.
Some dude thought it would be funny 50 years ago to stick 10 cars, I think Cadillacs, half in the ground along the side of the road. Its a popular tourist stop and people add their own bit of artwork to the cars as they please with the spray cans left on the ground.
While I was there a group of Mustangs pulled up to see what their fellow automobile enthusiast had achieved. I noticed a few Aussie flags. Turn out they were on a tour driving the whole length of the country on Route 66. A few were from my local area too - small world hey.
I write this in the LA airport as I prepare to head off to tackle the silver ferns. I have really enjoyed my time in the US and am a bit sad to leave. I say goodbye to the home of cheeseburgers, plastic utensils, big steaks, cheap fuel and everyone in Texas that does not own a pair of shorts. I have been extremely well looked after and everyone has been very obliging, even when I did drive down the wrong side of the road (only once and I blame Tom Tom).

Texas Tech

On Friday my last visit in the US was to Texas Tech University in Lubbock. One of the highlights of the whole trip actually. Basically in a nutshell - Texas uses a huge amount of bore water to produce cotton, corn and sorghum. The corn and sorghum help feed around 40% of the US cattle feedlots which are located here. Thats a lot of cows.
The university are conducting research as to how they can reduce water use yet maintain production. They are comparing a typical system of continuous cotton v's a pasture, sorghum, lucerne rotation all done under sub-surface irrigation. See the lines in the pasture from the drip lines.


On Thursday I attended a field day hosted by the ARS in Bushland, Texas. There was various speakers throughout the day ranging on different things from corn and sorghum varieties to irrigation technology.
This is a sorghum trial looking at conventional v's "stay green" varieties. The stuff on the right as the name suggests stays green after harvesting the grain. Obviously a good thing for livestock.
This is sorghum juice. We saw three plants rolled/crushed to produce about 300ml of this liquid. Could be used for a number of things but ethanol production is were most of the research is heading.