Farm name: Kiley’s Run
Farm district: Nyarrin
Enterprise mix: 8,700ha of cropping and livestock. Wheat, barley, lupin, lentil and chickpea crops and 700 store lambs.
Farming partners: two sons – Zane and Tyrone and son in-law Mick Ellis. Terry lives on the farm at Nyarrin with his wife Vonda.
What has been happening on the farm since harvest?
Lots of summer weed control with our Weedit sprayer. It something we can’t afford to miss. We had to do a blanket spray first up and we’ve been running every night for the last month that the weather allows. We had 120mm from mid October to early December which caused a bit of damage to wheat but gave us a good profile of moisture.
Fleabane is becoming our major issue and it really got growing this year because of the moisture.
For the last 12 years, we have purchased store lambs as an opportunity to graze stubbles over summer then we finish them in a feedlot with our own, mainly seconds, grain (ie. the grain left over from seed cleaning). The sheep are then sold in June or July.
Is the lamb enterprise a risk management strategy for diversified income?
I think we do it more for entertainment at the moment! There’s not much money in it as the price you pay for store lambs is the issue. Every year they seem to be getting more expensive but we always viewed the lamb enterprise as an opportunity to graze stubbles and use up our grain.
What was the biggest lesson learnt from last season?
We were hit with frost, especially in the legumes. There were two main events, one in July and another in September during flowering. I would guess about 20 percent of yield potential was lost but it didn’t affect grain quality.
Storage isn’t a problem for us. We have 7,000 tonne storage capacity at home which we mainly use for legumes and we’ve been members of the Nandaly Grain Co-operative for about eight years which we use for our wheat and barley. The Co-operative is excellent.
What are your plans for 2018?
We are getting ready for sowing. The lupins have been cleaned and the cereals are next then lentil and chickpea.
Our cropping plan and rotations are set. We sow 60 percent cereals with the balance going to legume crops.
We run one plant during sowing (ie. use one seeder and supporting equipment) and with a new Seed Master seeder and liquid system this year, it should manage our stubble loads. We might have to run it at a five degree angle to the stubble but we’ll see how it goes.
At the moment, we rely on chemical control for weeds like wild radish and ryegrass but I’m aware resistance is becoming an issue and something we have to keep an eye on. We’ve toyed with the idea of introducing hay as a resistance control strategy but at this stage, we’ve decided to stay away because it’s expensive to set up.
Our computer program, Plan for Profit, was updated last year. I’ve been using it for 10 years. We’ve also been using Production Wise for seven to eight years and it works well.
Terry will be part of the farmer-to-farmer learning panel at the BCG Trials Review Day. Catch him and other great speakers in the line-up on Friday 16 February at the Birchip Leisure Centre from 9am.