My brother getting married in Australia has introduced us to a whole new level of family, recently, and in this case, farmers! Apart from the fact that they are all lovely and seem a perfect family to be ‘in-lawed’ to, they are also incredibly generous with their time, and invited us to spend the last day of a six week harvest with them this year.
The farm is out in the middle of nowhere – or Williams – about two hours from Perth.
Their home is beautiful, their farm is spectacular, and the time we’ve spent with them has been quite different to anything else we’ve experienced. We arrived on the last day of harvest, and the girls absolutely loved it. It was a fabulous learning experience for them too!
This particular field was full of oats, so once the oats were ready for harvest, the harvester is sent in. This no mess no fuss machine costs a fortune, but it’s brought farming into the technological age. Complete with airconditioned cabin and radio, it also has an impressive on board computer that tells the farmers at a click of a button how much harvest was gleaned from each individual field, the quality of the crop and loads of other information about the field and the crops. All this is kept and in the ‘down months’ when they’re not actually working the fields, but prepping the machines, and selling the harvest, they also spend time analyzing the data so that they know where to e.g. add more fertiliser or send the cattle in or whatever.
The oats are cut by these might rotating blades, and the whole blade contraption is controlled from within the cabin, lowered and raised based on the landscape of the field. From here it’s sucked up into the back of the machine, where the ‘wheat & chaff’ are separated, so that the oats fall through into the bin, but the stalks and everything else it picks up is chucked back out the back of the machine where it is left to become grazing or mulch.
Once the bin reaches an almost full state, an orange light atop the cab lights up so that the Chaser Bin driver knows to head in. Either the harvester stops and empties out into the Chaser Bin, or the tractor pulling it will just drive alongside and be filled up as it goes. I guess it depends on whether they feel like stopping for a chat and a snack or not! In this image they had stopped, so you can just see the blades in the back behind the blue tractor raised off the ground.
From here the harvester carries on again, and the Chaser Bin goes off to the silos which are then filled in a similar way before they are again emptied into a truck that will take them to the warehouse for sorting and preparing for market.
It was a really fascinating way to spend an afternoon, and Ameli was engrossed in it all.
I love that we had the opportunity to see first hand where the oats for our bliss balls (since we don’t really eat porridge!) comes from.
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