The Farm Never Sleeps!

Thursday, 18th July 2013 // Cotton Dictionary, A Cotton Season

When picking is done and all the cotton has been trucked to the gin, we sometimes wish the farm would just have a rest so that we can have a lie down...

But unfortunately our 'off season' isn't really 'off' at all. It's the time of year we spend doing all those jobs that didn't get done over the cotton season. 

At the moment we are busily side-busting, which is where we plough all of the rows really deep and then re-form the seed beds, ready to plant again in a few months time. 
We do this as soon after picking as possible so that everything can be left to sit over the winter. This is a really important part of what we call 'minimal til'. Everytime we til (plough) the soil, we lose moisture, the less we til the more moisture that stays in the soil. It also enourages better biodynamics in the soil as all the cotton trash and stalks from last season are left to break down.

This is also the time of year that we to carry out earthworks. 
As black soil is soft and easily eroded and moved by wind and water, we re-shape and de-silt alot of our channels and roads during the winter, when we don't have to be moving water for irrigation. We do this using excavators, graders and drag-buckets. 

We're also taking this opportunity to do some out-with-the-old and in-with-the-new, digging out old pipes, that we use to move water under roads, and replacing them with new, bigger, ones. 

We use an excavator to crane each piece into place, starting with the end bit called a drop box. 

Then we add each section, bit by bit, sealing them in with grout as we go.

And we make sure every bit of pipe is level using a laser.

This year has also become an especially busy time for Farmer Andrew and I as we are growing our very first crop all of our own.
We've leased some country and planted some wheat that has come up beautifully and is doing it's thing happily growing along nicely. 
It's been a massive challenge for us both as we work our day jobs, look after Eddison and farm on the side as well. But it's very exciting to be finally doing something we have always aspired too achieving!

As they say, a farmers work is never done. But hopefully we will all get a little holiday before it's back to planting time again!

I'm now beginning to draw to a close on my year as the Cotton Australia Blogger. Over the next couple of weeks we will be bidding fare well and saying our goodbyes as we make way for the next installment of the 'Cotton Conversation'. Thank you all so much for reading it has been an absolute joy to share our farm, our family and our cotton with you. smile