Sharing's Caring

Thank you to everybody who has shared this blog. Sharing is the way these things work, otherwise I'm justing talking to myself. If you like what you read please tweet, Facebook or email it to your mates. The more people outside our agricultural circle we can reach the better. Don't forget to have a look at the other blogs I'm following too. Everyone has a story to tell.

Sunday 9 December 2012

You're gonna need a bigger park....

Sunday, the 18th of November, 2012 started as any other Sunday in Fremantle. Hipsters gathered at Cafes, each claiming they’d put their woollen cardigans on that morning, before they were cool. They were joined by old Italian gentlemen trying to outdo each other with gesticulations as they sipped coffee you could stand spoons in.  Parents herded their children into cars headed for the nearest sportsground, revellers from the night before did the barefooted walk of shame from strangers houses, and the latest bunch of nutters to board a sheep ship rattled tins at the Markets to raise bail money.

But something was different. Something was in the air, something electric, like the moment before the lightning hits and the thunder rolls, when your hair stands up on end and your arm raises goose bumps with corrugations a trainee Shire grader driver would be proud of. You could smell it, rain on the horizon, or far off smoke from a distant fire. Or the dust of a thousand country cars as they weaved their way through the unfamiliar bituminised roads of Perth. If you build it, they will come, and come they did, in a display of pride that made more than one old cockie’s eyes moisten and voice falter before the day was out.

Thursday 29 November 2012

Golden Rules of Farming Part 9

These ones took a while, until I stumbled upon the idea of asking Twitter for help. Why it took so long to ask I have no idea, but judging by the replies, the next 25 should be up in about twnety minutes. Maybe.

201. By the time you yell "COME BEHIIIIIIIIIINNNNND!!!!!" the damage is already done.

202. By the time you can taste the dead goat in the house well, it's too late.

203. It's a good idea to test the lifting capacity of the ute winch before being lowered down the well on a bosuns chair.

204. Never underestimate the gripping power of clenched buttocks on the bosuns chair.

205. The less expensive the guard that you fail to notice has worn away, the more expensive the part it was protecting.

Sunday 11 November 2012

Stand up for Live Exports


This post is now redundant. The day was a great success, and you can read about it HERE

Not quite two weeks ago I sent out a simple email calling for a counter rally to one being planned against live exports on the Stirling Bridge, Fremantle on the 18th November. I expected maybe 50 people to turn up with us to stir things up a bit.

 But apparently, everyone has had a gutful.

The response has knocked me for six. So while I originally intended to do this on the quiet, it’s gone past that now. This post is purely to serve as an information point for our little gathering.

 If anything I’ve written here, on Facebook, or on Twitter since I started this little adventure back in 2011 has made you laugh, nod, smile or just think a little differently, please, join with us on Sunday, 18th November.

 Everyone is welcome to come and show your support for the farmers, the truckies, the stock agents, the yardmen, the jackaroos, jillaroos, feed mills, hay and grain growers, feed lotters, vets, AQIS officials, shearers and all the other support industries involved.

 Thank you.

Michael Trant

Below are the details emailed to everyone. This post will be updated as required, with most recent info at the top, just below this introduction.

Thursday 1 November 2012

So Sue Me.

All tough and brave while the other blokes not looking.
One of our last litters of puppies was all female except for a single boy. It was Gemma's idea to name him Sue, and much to our worker mans disgust, he even has a bright pink collar. The plan being of course, as per the song, he would grow up to be big and tough and strong. Instead, he's a big dopey oaf, but not to worry. So for fun, and with much apologies to the late, great Mr Cash, the following is in honour of our Dog named Sue.

Sold to my boss soon as I could see
Cos my parents owners couldn’t handle me
Had too many dogs and not enough cattle to do
Now I don’t blame him cos he took the bid
But the meanest thing that he ever did
Was day I got born, he went and named me Sue.

Well he must o thought that was quite a joke
And it got a lot of laughs from the country folk
As my Boss and I worked the district through.
Farmers would laugh and I’d see red
And when they did I’d piss on their leg
I tell ya, life aint easy for a dog named Sue

Wednesday 17 October 2012

Hell? No.

I was asked the other day by an opponent of the live trade how I justified sending our animals overseas. They’d read this blog and formed the opinion we look after our stock, but couldn’t understand why we continue to send them in light of all the bad news stories airing about lately. This was my reply.

Glad you liked it. That site is my hobby. The way I see it is this. I've been on a farm since I was born. I'm 32. In that time I've seen sheep burned alive by bushfire, washed away and drowned by downpours, I've come across ewes with their entrails hanging out after being mauled by wild dogs. I've seen a weaner lamb still alive after having his back leg eaten by a fox. I've seen lambs picked up and dropped from heights by wedge tailed eagles, then get up and try to flee with their backs broken. I've seen sheep literally shit themselves to death from salmonella or coccidious, despite our best efforts to treat them. I've seen the fattest, most healthiest looking sheep choke on their own kidneys as their bubble up through their throats from pulpy kidney disease, caused simply by being too greedy and getting a gutsful of feed. I've seen a nanny goat being rooted to death by ten or more billy goats in the wild. Kangaroos blind from disease slowly starving as they bash themselves to bits on trees and shrubs as they try to make their way to water. I've seen hordes of emus breed up in good years, only to starve to death in bad. And I'm only relatively young, so imagine what my parents and their parents have seen. If my sheep pass out in 5 - 10 seconds or worst case a minute from a poorly executed cull or slaughter, they may not be as lucky as those killed here, but tell you what, their fate would be my 2nd choice. Just cos you die naturally, doesn't mean you die well.

And that’s it in a nutshell. Knowing what I know about sheep, if the ships were the crammed Hell holes they are claimed to be, by the time the three week journey was over, the sheep would all be dead. And no customer is going to buy dead, or half starved, stressed and sick animals, especially at the price they’d be charged for them.

Yes, I would like all stock to be stunned. But having cut a few throats myself, and witnessed more than one Muslim family kill their own animals, I don’t have a problem with it. Other may disagree, as is their right, but that’s where I stand. We raise animals knowing full well they will end up on somebodies dinner plate.
In the last 16 months of banging away at the keyboard, not one person has been able to name me one other country that spends money on trying to improve welfare practises in overseas countries. 109 countries export live animals.But it seems more and more likely that the only one actively doing anything to better things over there is going to be the one not allowed to send anymore. Out of sight, out of mind I guess.

Give me half a day with some football footage and I could make you a video claiming that football (or any sport) is a brutal, horrific game that results in countless injuries and even the occasional death. None of the footage would be fake, and Michael Barlows broken leg last year would be the Pièce de résistance. Add in some sad, scary music, a few disgruntled ex-footballers and whammo. Who knows, I might even win a Walkley.

Saturday 13 October 2012

Bless you.

Day 1 - Place is looking pretty good right now, the winter has been okay, and looks like it’s not going to cut out too early. Next time I’m in town I’d better stock up on antihistamines, there’s a faint itch in the air already.

Day 3 - Doing a paddock tour while inspecting sheep. The wild radish is flowering nicely. Never did get to town.  Funny how the radish flowers block the radiator but not my nose. That’s running freely.

Day 4 - Going to town. Last night in bed elbowed Gemma’s head as I scratched my nose while asleep.  Need drugs and need them now. And an icepack. And flowers.

Through a haze of tears and snot explain to the young counter girl at the pharmacy that while the packet does say 24 hour relief, past years have proven that to be a furphy. Mildly annoyed when she refuses to sell me three different types of antihistamines at once.

After doing three separate runs into three separate chemists now know what it feels to be a meth maker seeking pseudoephedrine.

Wednesday 3 October 2012


Well bugger me, we got a response. The PR team was working overtime (at your expense, dear taxpayer) and managed to punch out a neat reply for most of Jo's first questions. I will give credit to where credit is due, Lee Rhiannon is on a hiding to nothing from us, and could've quite easily ignored it. We struggle to make as much noise as the activists, and getting our side in mainstream media had proved to be very difficult.

So. Below is the link to Lee's reply. But before you read it, I'd like you to get a drink. A few actually, we're going to play a little game I like to call Spotto. Each time you read the word cruel, horrible, horrendous, or the phrase "called for / call for," we yell "Spotto!"and drink. Ready? See you on the other side.... shtill uprightsh?

Seriously though. I'm not surprised at it to be honest, pretty much every argument for bannng the trade is there, and while it looks good, the substance is lacking in alot of areas. I'm not going to bore you all to tears with an in depth analysis, but I can sum it up in two words. Bull. And shit.

Tuesday 2 October 2012

Don't hold your breath

Well, live export is back in the headlines again. Another bad news story, though this time not even the most imaginative opponent could've thought this one up. Apparently, after marching the feedlot staff out under police guard, a mob went in and culled 7000 or so sheep, sheep they claimed to have been infected with either scabby mouth, salmonella or anthrax. It's hard to be sure, cos the disease changed overnight as each one was cleared by independent tests.

It's a bloody mess, and to top it of, reports say sheep were clubbed to death, buried alive and stabbed. If true, and going of Wellards comments sounds like it is, it's wrong. Simple. Personally I think it's a problem of our own making through trying to tell foreign countries what they can and can't do with animals they've purchased. I think the full story behind this has more to do with payback and saving face than any disease. But that doesn't help those sheep. And of course, it's brought the anti live export community out in full force.

One such person is Lee Rhiannon, Greens Senator for NSW. Now it's long been the Green policy to ban live exports. Along with forestry, fishing, mining, and basically anything else that actually produces something and doesn't involve rainbows and unicorn poop. She's even started up her own facebook page to push her cause. I can't say it's been a raving success just yet, except for this one thing.

Monday 17 September 2012

The eyes have it.

This came across my Facebook feed the other day. Its a lovely sentiment, two friends willing to share despite each probably wanting the stick for themselves. A great photo.

Look closer. Check out the eyes on the brown dog. He wants that stick. I am betting that the poor lovable dopey looking retriever is within a few seconds of getting a helluva flogging from the brown dog and losing his stick. Why do I think this? Because I've seen that look before. When you grow up around animals you learn to read them. Maybe I'm wrong, maybe they walked off in the sunset holding the stick, best mates forever.

I guess what I'm trying to say is while a picture can tell a thousand words, sometimes those words are easily opened to interpretation based on what your own experiences are. I see a great photo. But I can imagine the fur that flew after it.

Friday 13 July 2012

The Stocky's Guide to Seeding.

Ahh, seeding time. It's like the first day of school for new kids, repeated each and every year. You're nervous, unsure as to what the year may bring, what drama will unfold. Will that big bully Mother Nature pick on you again like last year, or will she have a change of heart this time and not steal your lunch money? You're also excited, hoping against hope to nail that elusive Holy Grail of grain growing, the trifecta of a perfect season, high prices and a dry harvest.

Fill her up thanks.
For the seasoned grain grower, seeding time is like the Boxing Day Sales. If you don't get in and get it sorted quick smart, you run the risk of missing out. Especially in our area. The Northern Ag Zone has such a short season it's not funny. The average break is around the 20th of May, and by the middle of October canola is getting swathed. So you can imagine the flurry of activity the occurs has tractors roar up and down paddocks, guided mostly these days by satellites thousand of kilometres away, with a steering wheel attendant who basically keeps an eye out for trees and swings the tractor 180 degrees in between reading Zoo Magazine the Farm Weekly.

But not all are solely focused on tractors, trucks, seed and fertiliser at this time of year. Spare a thought for the stock farmer, who after being burned with last years hay prices, has decided to scratch a bit of feed in for his precious animals. After all, how hard can it be? Sit in the tractor all day listening to the radio. Money for jam, right?

Thursday 12 July 2012

I knew him before he was famous.....

You may have seen this video. I love it. The Peterson Brothers parody of the popular song I'm Sexy and I Know It by the group LMFAO (ask someone else what that stands for). I'm Farming and I Grow It. This isn't the first parody video involving farming I've seen, but it is by far the best. A lot of time and effort went into those few minutes we get to watch. The Kansas boys have done a remarkable job. In case you are the one of the last few people who haven't seen it, I've put the video below.

Sunday 6 May 2012

Golden Rules of Farming Part 8

176. Never in your box of water fittings is just the one right sized joiner to fix a leaky pipe. You must use at least 5 fittings to create a metre long monstrosity that costs more than replacing the entire pipe.

177. In your many boxes of various nuts & bolts, there are only two sizes. Too big and too small.

178. Nothing tastes as good as the neighbours grass.

179. It is impossible to stay dry when fixing water leaks.

180. If you plan to fix a water leak and the short in the electric fence on the same afternoon, do the fence first. Wet boots makes for good sparks.

Sunday 22 April 2012

Welcome to the Hotel De Feedlote

Trained staff members
The Lobby office.

Greetings, and welcome to the Hotel De Feedlote, your premier pre embarkation resort for the discerning ovine. We trust your short stay with us will be pleasurable as we endeavour to meet your every whim and desire prior to your ocean cruise. Should anything not be to your satisfaction, please do not hesitate to make one of our many grounds staff aware of your concerns, and they will only be too happy to assist.

Saturday 24 March 2012

Ask an Aussie Farmer

Ever since I started this blog, and indeed, one the driving factors for doing so,  I have been saying how many outside of the farming community have no idea how or why we do what we do. Doesn't matter if it's lamb and beef producers, grain growers, horticulturists, beekeepers, wool growers, cotton growers, the list is endless, there are many misconceptions, untruths and general fairy tales around about our lives, both good and bad.

We can't rely on industry bodies to push our cases for us. We need to do it ourselves. Why? Because if we don't we let others speak for us or about us. And we've all seen how that can turn out.

So without further ado, I am proud to announce our little initiative. Ask An Aussie Farmer. A social media experiment where everyday Aussies can ask their farmers anything they like. It's been months in the making, and we have all the producers mentioned above willing and able to take questions and answer according to them. We are not sponsored nor limited by any bodies, organisations or agencies. Just a bunch of committed farmers and their supporters keen to tell people what they do.

We have 8 administrators to keep things in line, spanning from WA to Qld and even into the UK. As the page takes shape we hope to add in new bits and pieces, weekly polls, themes and who knows what else.
Five days in and we've hit 600 likers, with questions from honey, to cotton, shearing, garlic, fish, you name it, we hope to be able to answer it. So get on board and help out, either as an asker or an answerer or both.

Facebook page

Twitter: @AAAFarmer

Sunday 26 February 2012

A Good Erection aka Mother Natures Second Cousin

I had this story all written out in my head before we'd even started,. It was going to be hilarious, full of what went wrong, what fell over and how husband and wife nearly came to blows. I don't know why I thought that, we work very well together most times. Maybe I was just thinking of what would be easiest to write about here. Maybe I was going off our previous experiences. Either way, what transpired was not what I expected.

While we were at the Mingenew Expo last year, we bought a skid shelter, at the once off, never to be repeated, special Friday showtime special price. "Good luck for you, good luck for me." (Bali regulars should understand that last bit, basically means we paid too much while thinking we got a good deal). The skid shelter is a metal dome frame, with a large canvas tarp stretched over it. Great for machinery covers, or as we were planning, trough covers or shade for feedlots. We already had a 12 x 24 metre permanent shelter we use as a machinery shed. It's been up for eight years, and only lost the tarp last year in a huge storm that started north of Geraldton and shellacked it's way down south before uprooting pretty much all of York and Northam. So not too bad, considering the constant wind we get here. But we did have a few dramas building that one. The frames had the wrong spiggots on, a couple of pieces were missing, and when we had to put the replacement tarp on, we were short staffed and struggled to get it up.

Friday 27 January 2012

Golden Rules of Farming Part 7

#151. Always remember to put the draw bar pin in after backing up to whatever you are planning to tow.

#152. After remembering to put the drawbar pin in, also remember the clip that stops it bouncing out again as you go along. The trailer hitting the dirt as you drive off is annoying. The trailer hitting the dirt as you bounce along at 18 km per hour across the paddock is downright scary.

#153. Your new Smartphone and it's 12 volt car charger do not appreciate your trucks 24 volt cigarette socket.

#154. The dog that yaps all night stays silent in the yards.

#155. Never confuse your Iphone with your electric fence tester.

Tuesday 24 January 2012

Drown the Bastard!!

On Saturday just gone I headed back out to Gabyon with a big delivery of troughs and water fittings. I had just got back Friday morning from being called out there Thursday for another fire. Luckily the rain killed it before I got there. It did flare up again Friday but another drenching saw it finished.

Trouble with stations is they are so bloody big. As I arrived to the house Helen came out and told us she'd just been called to say a new fire had started on our eastern boundary. Obviously the rain never reached that far. So Mike and Gemma took off while mysef and her brother Matt got the new fire unit I brought up on Thursday ready.

As we were heading out to the fire we could see the patchy showers coming over. The unknown was whether it would rain over the fire or not.

The country out there was a bit more open, meaning we could get in and too it without waiting for the loaders and graders, which were on their way, plus the grass wasn't as high. This fire was very tame compared to Thursdays and our first one. So it was a good chance to get some video of us in action. I'm driving, and my brother-in-law Matt is on the back. The last 3 minutes or so of the video shows the best way to put a fire out. We just need to work out how to make it happen more often. And not get bogged.

Monday 9 January 2012

Fire on our Hold!! Fire on our Hold!!! Hey Michael!

Disclaimer: I've tried to remember this as best I can. It all got a bit blurry by the end. Oh, and there may be some course language. Actually, I can guarantee there will be.

While I would be happy if I never fight or see another fire in my life, I will admit to finding a slight thrill in them. Something to do with the sudden rush when you first see the smoke, the panicky hurling everything off the ute as you load up the unit and scream out towards the smoke, wondering whose it is, where it is and what's going to happen, hoping it's only grass and not near a shed or house. The frantic chasing down of the front, the heavy machinery madly trying to cut the blaze off, the way everyone drops everything to come help. It can be a rush. And judging by the way others seem to get what I call "fire crazy", I'm not the only one. Utes which you weren't allowed in without wiping your boots first become scrub bashing, fire chasing water carts from hell, with the normally fastidious owner tearing around with their windows down, sucking plumes of smoke, dust and ash into their once pristine interior.

Turns out the thrill soon wears off when it's your place though.

On the 1st December 2011, after the best season the rangelands had seen for God knows how long, lightning struck Gabyon Station. It also struck Meka Station, Murgoo and Melangata, as well as down near Paynes Find. Now normally, this isn't a problem. Being new to the area, we have been told fires just burn themselves out. Might burn a thousand acres or so. When the paddocks range from 3000 to 20 000 acres, so what? Quite often you won't even know there's been a fire out there until you come across a burnt patch mustering.

Not this time. The fire burned for nine days and by the time the all clear was given it had covered 103 000 hectares and we've been told cost FESA damn near a million dollars.