Wayne is one of those rather colourful yet very black and white people but, the other day, he sounded peculiarly uncertain.
“I’ve got a problem with the irrigator,” he said. “Maybe you should come and have a look.”
We’ve worked through more than our fair share of problems with irrigation in the last year. Pipes blowing apart, toppling hydrants, underground leaks, you name it – one disaster after another – so just the mention of another drama had my blood pressure rising. I pressed Wayne for more details.
“It’s on a tilt,” he said. “Okay, don’t come and look then!” he blustered.
I figured I’d really better come and take a look.
After uncoupling it from the hydrant, Wayne had been towing the irrigator away to another paddock when a wheel found the softer earth over the original trench and buried itself. You might be able to see the tyre tread just below the blue strut on the right hand side.
The pair of us eyed the situation warily. The irrigator had two lifting points on each side. Was this the time to call the neighbours and see if we could get a posse of tractors to round up the wily wheely waterer?
On the other hand, the irrigator is one of the most expensive bits of gear on the farm and, with thirsty crops in the paddocks, mangling it didn’t bear thinking about.
Instead, I called the local heating and plumbing service, which also happens to install power poles.
The following day, a white knight in the form of Eddy the crane truck operator arrived.
In about two minutes flat (and safely further away from the power lines than it looks on the video), he had the irrigator back on solid land, albeit still looking a little saggy thanks to a popped tyre.
“We’ll have that off and into town pronto,” Wayne crowed with a heady mix of relief and triumph.
It turned out none of our jacks were strong enough to support the 2.5 tonne whirly gig. Cue, another distress call, this time to the tyre service.
It just went to show that no matter how self-reliant we like to fancy ourselves, keeping the wheels turning on farm relies on a squadron of support people.
So, this Christmas, we owe a big dose of gratitude to all the townies we rely on to get the milk into the tanker. Just looking through our accounts, we have all these people to thank this year:
- crop and harvest contractors
- quarry and earthmovers
- stockfeed supplier
- hay supplier
- breeding experts
- herd testing
- auto electrician
- hardware supplies
- bankers, insurers and accountants
- dairy technicians
- dairy hygienists
- refrigeration mechanics
- metal fabricators
- rubbish removal
- milk processor
- stock agents
It’s a big list that removes any doubt regarding just how many jobs dairy farms generate off farm and still doesn’t include all the people we employ via levies and taxes, like the Dairy Australia and Agriculture Victoria brains trust.
Thank you to every single one of you who’ve helped us make 2017 a success.