Farming

Diego, Mizuki, Robin all Helpz workers doing a great job

Diego, Mizuki, Robin
all Helpx workers doing a great job

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Diego clening the fence and putting netting on top

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the netting installed on one section. several refinements have been made since then

More about keeping the animals out. This is an obsession of mine now as to how to keep the animals out of our orchards. It is been raining a lot lately and I think this has taken the pressure of our orchard. But one or two wallabies getting into the orchard can do a lot of damage. Young trees particularly seem to be targets and strangely not the young suckers on older trees. Once the trees harden up then they are able to survive wallaby attacks but then the possums can still denude them of all leaves but again strangely leaving the fruit so they will die. But generally possums start their havoc at the end of the rows where the damage is very visible and we can do something about it.

So it is the wallabies that you really have to get under control. In the top orchard which is some way from the house I think these animals believe they can behave in an uninterrupted manner. The plan now is to put a barb wire as a top wire and another one just above the 300ml netting which follows the ground. Then I will put in strips of bird netting which can be easily stretched between these two barb wires and the barbs in fact will hold it in position. (pictures above)

We have tested the prototype and whilst it has worked to an extent the determination of the animals when getting out has caused some damage. We now have modified the procedure and put netting on both sides of the wire so that the animals whether going in or out still have to push the netting against the wire and hence then will back off without getting caught.

We have also put a radio on each night which seems to warn the roos that there could be people about. And finally we go shooting every night. All of these measures have gradually made the roos back out of the orchard. I might add that the dogs like hunting in this paddock now that the roos that do get in are more constrained. However they won’t go near the fence and sometimes the roos can still make there escape.

Will update this info as we do more trials.

Another season starts in a wobbley manner- 2013

After a particularly dry spring we are now having a very wet spell with some flooding last week.

our dam fills up overnight and is seen here over flowing. Fortunately the repairs carried out in the past have held up well.

our dam fills up overnight and is seen here over flowing. Fortunately the repairs carried out in the past have held up well.

The wet weather here last week is certainly a mixed blessing. Obviously you do need rainfall especially as the dam empties which happened last year. But once I get my

We were going to use new ground for tomatoes but it wasn't prepared in time. So made three rows with garlic in between.

We were going to use new ground for tomatoes but it wasn’t prepared in time. So made three rows with garlic in between.

irrigation going in many ways I can do a better job supplying water than coping with such heavy downfalls. The sandy soil we have here is so erodible particularly when ploughed.

But there is so much happening in spring and most things at that time of year depend on steady weather conditions. A major set back this year is the lack of pollination and hence poor fruit set due to trees blossoming in wet or cold conditions. These sort of circumstances keep the bees away.

Another thing is there will be so much grass to mow once I can get my tractor out on the paddocks once they dry off. And all our tomatoes were damaged with weeds taking over especially oxalis which must be the worse weed around. The leave look much like clover but it puts out millions of bulbs all of which sprout the following year. The more you try to move them the more they spread. And the worse thing is there is no herbicide other than maybe fumigation which will get rid of it. Just have to let it lie fallow I guess for a few years.

Wallabies seem more determined than ever to get into out paddocks and eat the things we don’t want eating. They don’t seem to eat the grasses but concentrate on the young trees which after continual denudation give up. Not so long ago I decided that my fences need another update as the wallabies were ignoring the electric and getting in. It was obvious that they were not jumping in but going through the fence as the trails went right up to both sides of the fence. So in the end I contacted the Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment (DPIPWE) and was fortunate to have discussions with Mr. Robbie Gaftney. I had envisaged Baiting as a last resort but he supplied many tips some of which I will explain to you now.

As I said they were getting through the net. Apparently they can open the wires up with their paws and use their tail to propel them through between pulses. He recommended that the hot wire system be replaced with wallaby wire. That is both an expensive and time consuming operation. What I have done seems to be working. The idea came to me when I was repairing the cherry netting which these same varmints had punched holes in. So I am now in the process of attaching birdnetting over the hot wires. The theory is that this will impede the roos pushing through the wires as they are still active behind the netting. As they are polyester they are not conductive and in dry weather the fence behave as normal.

here is a tree not destroyed by the wallabies

here is a tree not destroyed by the wallabies

the wallabies have stripped this tree bare

the wallabies have stripped this tree bare

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We have had some great help come to us this year. Last week we had 5 helpers come to us via Helpx. The picture below shows Michel (Holland) and his girlfriend Ludi(France) who came for a week. Also shown is Mizuki from Japan. Mizuki is here for a while and seems to like most things on the farm and might I even say it is getting used to weeding.