The perfect farmer’s body

What does the perfect body look like? Not mine, that’s for sure! Yesterday, I was reminded just how bad my genes are for farming. Allergies run on both sides of my family and the worst irritant of all looks like this:

Yorkshire fog grass

Yorkshire fog grass: one UK expat we could do without!

I’m told it’s called “fog” grass because the pollen is released in such huge quantities, it makes everything go misty. Dynamite! Yesterday, I had to wander through thigh-high forests of it to get the dam siphon running again. My scalp, eyes, nose, mouth and arms are all still desperately itchy 15 hours later.

The cows don’t like it either. Fog grass is covered in thick velvety “fur” that understandably is most unpalatable.

Thankfully, we have a lot less of this hideous grass nowdays. It was everywhere when I was a girl but much better grazing management has seen it restricted to untouched pockets of dampness (like the dam wall).

Grass management is a big deal for Australian dairy farmers because it is the greatest predictor of profitability. We count leaves, we estimate the tonnes of pasture in paddocks and aim for the magic nexus of quality and quantity. Somehow, it’s reassuring to know that nothing beats the simplicity of grazing grass for high performance dairy farming, even in 2012.

12 Comments

Filed under Farm, Pastures, People

12 responses to “The perfect farmer’s body

  1. Julie D

    I hear you Marian,
    Have you tried the Green (180mg) Telfast for the itchies? Its about the only non-drowsy that works for me on bad days.

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  2. Liz

    I used a nasal spray for hayfever while I was breastfeeding – just ask the chemist what ones are suitable. Don’t feel like you have to put up with it 🙂

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  3. Never suffered like that myself, but I always was told the best thing to help pollen related irritation was to use local honey in your diet. Not a cure obviously, but derived from some of the plants causing the trouble.

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  4. KT

    Love to hear grazing management for fog grass we have plenty of it here….still in leaf stage not yet flowering!

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  5. Ian A

    Marian

    I had hayfever from childhood – tried all the various pills and potions which did very little. Then the doctor prescribed Rhinocort nasal spray. Worked like a treat. What I found was that once the nose was ‘under control’, a lot of the other allergic reactions (itchies etc) reduced or went away completely.

    I see now that Rhinocort is available over the counter but the otc dose is much lower than whet I was prescribed. Two things though – you have to start using the spray before the season starts (ie prophylactic) and I’m really doubtful it can be used while breast feeding.

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  6. John E

    HI Marian
    Did you notice that the fog grass (Yorkshire Fog) was almost non-existant during the drought. I was stunned how quickly it came back with the return to more normal seasons though, on the roadsides everywhere so hard to avoid if your allergic to it.
    Knowing my background this will make you laugh, I’m allergic to ryegrass!!! I wasn’t really aware how much it affected me until, after 12 years of selling the stuff, changing careers resulted in the best winter I have had for ages.
    I don’t know what it is about the ‘simplicity’ of grazing grass for high performance dairy farming, but that is what draws me to this fantastic industry.

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    • I reckon an allergy to the stuff you’re breeding is certainly as crazy as an allergy to the stuff you’re growing! I’ve found that if I stay away from eating grass (wheat, oats and rye), I can tolerate the lot except for the fog grass.

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  7. Pingback: Rural round-up « Homepaddock

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