Farming et al.

I need to explain the reason for this particular post. I got some comments from one of you – I won’t say who or even whom – but it started me thinking. The first comment was;

To be honest, I know very little about Australia. A few years ago a local Australian told me that it was possible to ski in Australia. It had never occurred to me you had countryside that wasn’t either desert, beach or opal mines. I still don’t know much more. The more I learn, the more I am appalled by my lack of knowledge.

First of all we should all be appalled by our lack of knowledge about other places in the world. (I will exclude leggypeggy ‘cos she has been almost everywhere except Ballarat, and I’m not getting any younger)

So I said to him,

Challenge me. Ask something and I will show it to you.

This is a stupid thing to say to anybody and when I get to be 77 and ½ I won’t be so silly ever again.

Because he said;

Farmland. I’m fairly sure I have never seen Australian farmland, though you must have crops. Tell me if I’m starting to sound like an idiot, I’m certainly beginning to feel like one.

So today I went for a drive. I left Ballarat and at no time was I ever more than 30 kilometres away. First stop was McCain’s factory. Here they process potatoes to supply all the McDonalds places in Australia and probably elsewhere.

“G’day mate. How many potatoes have you got?”

“’bout 26/7 tonnes.”

“How long do you hafta wait”

“Littl’ while. I drop off about this load every two hours.”

“Where d’ya get from?”

“Our place. Out Springbank way.”

“Thanks mate.”

“See ya.”

So do potatoes come under the heading of Farming?

And what do you mean by farming? Do I have to find places where you dig up the earth and plant something? You won’t believe this but I thought I’d fry some potato chip for dinner and I got so engrossed in this story I let them burn. So tonight I will have charcoal.

Okay what about raising cattle to sell and make roast beef out of? (Or out of which to make roast beef. There is no need to let you standards slip.)

These are the Ballarat saleyards. This is for cattle and this.. ..

….   is for sheep. Now do you wonder if there is any farming? Let’s go a’wandering.

Cows also produce milk. These are Friesians. Friesia is a part of Europe on the coast of Holland and Germany – I think but I can be wrong. The Friesian is a very popular milker. I think we should all have Jersey cow because they are a smaller breed and produce the same amount of milk and a hell of a lot LESS methane.

This is a potato paddock and you can see the huge watering system. If you don’t believe me look at what I picked up at my feet.

These spuds didn’t make it through the potato picking up machine. The next shot is from across the road and you can see all the other farmers who had spuds.

Interlude: I am sick of burnt potato chips. Please excuse me for a while while I wash and peel and cut up some more.

Back again. Did you miss me? These potatoes haven’t been out of the ground for any more that two days.

These are a South African breed of goat – the Boer. They are an excellent meat producer.

Is this farming?

What about olives?

Roast beef.

More roast beef from Angus.

Now above we have the start of me getting totally cross and a bit over the top.

See that smoke? Of course you do. That is not one of Australia’s famous bushfires. That, my friends is Canada and Monsanto at their most deadly. Monsanto is from St. Louis, Missouri, United States. And the word canola is a blend of Canada and oil. And we, the poor stupid Australians grown heap and heaps of Canola. And it has been adapted to be resistant to “Roundup” which is Monsanto’s  fantastic, brilliant, amazingingly wonderful and effective weedicide that can kill any plant on the earth EXCEPT roundup ready canola.

Now if you don’t give a ‘rats’ about the impending doom of civilisation as we know it you can skip the rest until I change tack. (I’ll write the diatribe in BLUE so you know)

After a farmer has stripped the crop and the canola seeds have been taken to the market he waits for the optimum day and sets fire to the paddock. In the old days, when we grew such useful crops as wheat (for making bread) and bartley (for making beer) he would let the cows in to eat the stubble. BUT canola stubble is very hard and if a cow eats canola stubble the stubble is so hard it can perforate the lining of a cow’s stomach and cause DEADNESS. So the farmers burn the stubble. Let me show you the picture again in case you have just diddly daddly gone on waiting for me to finish. 

I haven’t fish nished. That is tonnes of CO2 chucked into the sky. But even if you are totally stupid and don’t believe in global warming then you should at least be able to know that all the worms and insects that make soil work will now be a bit sick.

Here is a crop of something that looks beautiful in green.

But I was lulled into wonderland. This is Canola before it is burnt.

The black strip is the burnt canola. And I have finished with my hatred of the great wonder of the world. From now on, nice stuff – I think.

Nice green stuff growing for animals to eat.

And the farmer – note the word ‘farmer’ – working the soil.

I had almost forgotten. This is about Farming. This is a pig farm. Run by a bloke I know. Winston Charles. I hope he never reads this because I have never spoken a word to him. In the picture above you can see – if you put your mind to it – a long row of sheds. These are pens full of pigs. When I first came to live near this pig farm I was amazed to learn that Winston Charles ran his whole pig production without using power from the grid. He made all his power from the EFFLUENT of the pigs. So good was his process that he charged people from Europe and America some thousands of dollars to walk though his place.

We have nearly got home. I have taken you for a round trip of the west of Ballarat.

This is where all the Canola oil is processed. 10 km from Ballarat.

This is the grain handling device for the Ballarat region.

So. Is there any farming in Australia? I don’t know. But there is a ‘nawful in Ballarat.

14 thoughts on “Farming et al.

  1. Great post, did you take those potatoes home for your chips?
    We grow canola but call it rape, there is a field of it in full bloom opposite my house right now. I don’t know for sure how they get rid of the stubble because burning is not permitted in UK, I think they apply a weed killer and then plough it in.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks for the interesting tour. Potato growing in Australia looks very much like potato growing in UK, though we don’t need any added water. We even have a McCain’s factory just outside Peterborough.

    We can’t grow olives here, or sunflowers, so we rely on rapeseed (Canola) for producing oil. It’s dreadful stuff, I admit, but it saves on imports and transport. I’d just assumed that it was ploughed back ion, but have just had an interesting twenty minutes looking at straw management techniques. It seems rape straw is bad as feed, bad as bedding but good as fuel.

    Goats aren’t farming. Raising goats is more like engaging in a battle of wits with an alien life form, one which they often win. There is a reason they are linked to Satan in horror stories.

    Apart from farming, I now know that it snowed in Ballarat in 1905 and that there are things called Avenues of Honour on Australia – both things I didn’t know until I turned to Wiki.

    You may have retired, but you are still educating! 🙂


  3. Gotcha! Reading Sapiens by Yuval Harari. There is a point at which he talks about the fertile lands of Australia and New Zealand around the time Europeans came looking around. Looks like they stayed that way. Despite Monsanto.


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