Sunday, May 18, 2014

May 17th

Day 5

Our morning started off at the farm stays which we were placed at. Many of us had breakfast of mainly cereal, fruit, and toast. Since 3 of the families knew each other after breakfast we met up at the wool shed to have a look around. First the families neighbor Rory showed us his bull whip, which was handmade from kangaroo. This whip was around 6 feet long and resembled a bull whip like we have in the states. Rory gave us a demonstration of how to crack it. We continued into the wool shed which was built in 1894 and still used by this family. In this shed they can give their sheep vaccinations and ear tag them back in the chute. This shed is also used to shear their 8,000 head of sheep. Once the fleece is off it is laid out onto a large table and the edges or "skirt" are taken off because it decreases the value of the wool when sold. In this shed there is also a machine used to pack the wool into bags. These bags can weight up to 440 pounds. After the shed we were taken out into their paddock and showed their cattle. They run about 260 cattle (mostly angus and hereford). We were all then taken out into another one of their paddocks because the families wanted us to see some wild kangaroos. We saw a couple of kangaroos but from a distance. Kangaroos in this country are like deer. The famil would have liked to show us their new air seeder but because of a time crunch we were unable to see this. From what I saw they mainly have New Holland machinery and at this time were planting canola.

Our first stop for the day was at De Salis Wines, a family owned business.Charles Svenson gave use a tour of his cool climate vineyard, which had around 20,000 vines of grapes used to make different wines. Besides only having vines Charles also has some sheep which are allowed to graze between vines to cut back the grass and provide fertilizer. This vineyard makes white and red wines in large wooden wine barrels for added flavors. Charles did not become interested in wine making until age 32. The winery consisted of around 22 acres and was on an old volcano site. Charles was a very business and scientific guy who was very passionate about creating top of the line wines. After our tour we had the chance to taste six different kinds of wine.

De Salis Winery grapevines
oak wine barrels
the pricelist
Later in the afternoon we traveled to the farm of Ian Taylor, near Dubbo. Ian Taylor runs an intensive irrigated cropping and grazing operation with his son Chris. This farm had an 8 km frontage to the Macquarie River, which supplies 7 center pivot irrigation systems. The irrigated crops grown are azuki beans (pulse), wheat, corn, and canola. These crops are all grown for the Pioneer Seed Company and grown under their specific instructions. Ian cattle operation consist of 300 angus cross Charolais, and he just recently sent some of his cattle over to Russia.

Sara and Melissa
azuki beans

hybrid corn field

replacement heifers

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