Farm Tender

Farm infrastructure boom

Extracted from the Farm Tender weekly Newsletter - Sign up and get the email every Wednesday morning before 6 am.

By Dwain Duxson

Firstly I was lucky enough to be a guest on the Ag Watchers podcast last week talking about the Used Machinery market. Take a listen here.

I follow this group called Australian Wool/Shearing Sheds on Facebook, and it's a bit of an ongoing pictorial story of all the famous and not so famous Woolshed scattered around the country. They all helped contribute to the wealth of this country when we rode on the Sheep's back.

As I look at some of these Sheds, it got me thinking about how Farm infrastructure is changing. Many of these Sheds are still in use, some decommissioned, and some have been superseded for newer, more modern outfits.

It's an interesting topic Farm infrastructure. In the last five years in many Grain growing areas, there has been a Hay Shed boom as Grain Farmers diversify in Hay as an opportunistic or fallback thing. There has been an ongoing Silo boom, and now even Bunkers are becoming a common site on Farms.

I have been lucky enough to spend some time in the US travelling through the Corn belt, and I couldn't believe that Farms don't have sheds to house the Machinery, they leave it out in the open.

On-Farm Feedlots are another trend that will continue.

The old Woolsheds and Yards are getting superseded, not because they don't work but because they require many labour units to run. Also, many are not needed anymore because of a change in the enterprise. The modern Sheep and Cattle Yard setups have to be efficient on people. Many jobs are done with one person and a dog or two. Some drafting is automated now.

Speaking of labour, in Argentina, Chile and Uraguay, staff on Farms is not an issue there, so much so that many Sheep Yard setups don't have gates. They just fill the gaps with people. It's a strange thing to see.

On our Family Farm at Marnoo (Vic), my brother is building a brand new Woolshed and pulling down the old one that's 130 years old in places. Mind you, not before time. It was one of those outfits that was built close to the ground, so you had to pull the batons up, arm yourself with a shovel and wheelbarrow to clean it out. Memories

The Livestock guys are going well, and it's great to see all these progressive operations modernising their infrastructure, spending money on the place.

That's progress, but at the same time, it's sad to see all these great Woolsheds fall by the wayside.

I remember going to the "Shearing of the Rams" re-enactment at the North Tuppel Woolshed near Tocumwal back in 2010, 15,000 people turned up, and the line up of cars was many kilometres long. Amazing turnout, which tells you there is a long-held passion for our Pastoral past.

I'm sure some will be preserved.

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