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Belle Baker and Emma Gilbert for the Adelaide Hills & Fleurieu Farmcast - April 2023 Edition.

Welcome to the Adelaide Hills & Fleurieu Farmcast – the monthly podcast where we let you know what we’ve been up to on our farm and on our clients’ farms to help inspire and guide you on what makes sense for you to be doing on your farm or lifestyle property.

In this episode we lead off with our big news. We’re announcing Farm Fencing Demo Days to be held between 11 and 13 May, 2023.

Plus we have other on-farm insights and two interviews: Emma Gilbert and John Pickard.

So, join us as we take a broader look at farm operations and focus on one or two key things that you need to address as a part of running your small acreage farm throughout the year.

We have plenty of fodder to work through, but if you’d like to suggest a topic for us to discuss, please send us an email.

00:00 Adelaide Hills & Fleurieu Farmcast April 2023 Edition


Farm Fencing Demo Days

The big thing I want to announce this month is our Farm Fencing Demo Day’s to be held between 11 and 13 May 2023.

First cab off the rank is a ‘Tractoring for Women’ workshop that will cover everything you need to do to understand your tractor and safely undertake practical jobs around the farm. We’ll cover prestart checks; lifting, moving and stacking hay bales safely; swapping out the bucket for forks and attaching a slasher with 3-point-linkage. And when you book in, we’ll ask you to select the tractor brand and size and that’s what we’ll have on site for you to learn in.

And we’ll do all this between 10 and 2. Sound good? I know I’m keen to get to know our tractor better without all the dull mechanic stuff that just bores me to tears, and I love the idea of being able to do more tractoring myself!

And we’ve pulled in the big guns – we have invited Tim Thompson, an ag communicator and educator from Victoria and with over 50,000 followers on You Tube!

The next couple of days we have planned will be truly immersive – we want you to get your hands dirty, try out different tools and materials and have a go at straining fences. You can learn how to repair your own fences and what you’ll need in your DIY kit.

All this and so much more will be on offer and yes, these two days are free!

We truly believe a rising tide lifts all boats. Come and learn from the experts, talk to suppliers directly and go away with the confidence of a kid in a Superman costume!

And we’ve invited our friends at DART Agricultural Drones to come along as well. They’ll demonstrate their new 40L Drone and you can see for yourselves if this method of spraying, seeding or fertilising spreading is suitable for you

More information will be released soon so please make sure you subscribe to our e-newsletter so that you don’t miss out!


Yes, it’s a falling market for both sheep and cattle. However we had to cut our losses and sell the six I spoke about last month.

Once we had our 24, much quieter heifers at home, we left them to acclimatise in the yards for a couple of days (with plenty of good hay and water) and then we vaccinated, drenched with a good 5 in 1 and back lined them. We also tagged them so that we can easily identify them in the paddock. I mentioned last month that when buying in stock, we presume they haven’t been vaccinated. This information ‘should’ be on the NVD you receive but often it’s not.

The other thing we did was invite the lovely Emma Gilbert along so that she could get hands-on experience working with cattle. Emma has plans to breed Highland Cattle and already has semen and embryo’s sitting on ice. She has been slowly building her plan over many years and is nearly ready to execute. She hadn’t worked with cattle for many years (although she did participate in the SA Heifer Expo as I did when she was younger) – but Emma was so generous with her time and knowledge for this month’s podcast it was only natural that we would want to give back.

Needless to say her stock handling skills were good and she picked everything up very quickly.

I’ll talk more about Emma a bit later in the podcast.


Now I think I mentioned in the March episode of the Farmcast that the next thing to happen with our hay paddocks will be sowing.

Pods and I went for a walk over the paddocks a few days ago and he made an interesting observation. Some of the weeds are coming back – but not enough that it would warrant re-spraying.

You see, everything has to be weighed up. Does the cost of spraying the paddocks again out weigh the benefit? It’s always a balancing act between producing the best hay we can, the input costs of producing the hay and good stewardship of the land.

We’re due for some rain this week so that will probably freshen up the weeds again and we won’t be sowing until mid April. I’ll let you know how we get on with that next month.

Summer Crop

I was going to tell you about this fab summer crop that is planted out the back and was here when we bought the property in December. It’s called a Fast Summer blend and is a mix of 20% Brassica, 20% Chicory and 60% Millet.

And both the heifers we just sold and the ones we have just bought are thriving on it. It looks a bit straggly, the long stalks of the brassica is an unusual look for a fodder crop but we reckon these new heifers have easily put on 10 kg’s in the week they’ve been here.

The rule of thumb is around 1kg a day for young stock that are on a rising plane of nutrition.

We’re going to be following up with the supplier of this mix and talking to other local seed suppliers to find out more about this super blend of fodder and we really need to understand what goes in next when it’s done. We’ll share what we find out and what our plan is in the next Farmcast.

Fence Posts

The team have just finished a very sexy fencing project at Yankallila using Tanaposts. Tanaposts are similar to creo posts but wait for it – they have 90% less exposure to free creosote, have a vastly reduced odour, vastly reduced skin irritation upon handling and they’re dry to touch.

The big difference that you’ll notice is the colour. It is a lighter colour than traditional creosote. So if you’re all about looks (and honestly we believe that fencing should be all about safety and fulfilling a purpose) this may not be the product for you. You can always paint it, your local agri reseller will have suitable products that you can paint on if it worries you too much. But here’s the news; both creo and CCA WILL be fazed out soon. Its time to start looking to the future.

The guys have enjoyed this project – no one enjoys a project with traditional creosote – and the finished product looks fab. I’ll put photos in the show notes.

And I should mention; we’ll have the Tanapost team at our Farm Fencing Demo Days so you can get more information and make up your own mind. In the meantime, your local FP Ag branch are selling Tanaposts and should be able to help you with any queries you may have.

10:23 Farmcast Interview: Emma Gilbert, The Farm, Clarendon

I caught up with Emma Gilbert of The Farm, Clarendon.

Emma produces Heritage breed poultry and it the only producer in Australia who sells day-old chickens and freights them across the country!

She is incredibly generous with her knowledge and is now running workshops to help people new to poultry or keeping chickens.

33:49 Farmcast Interview: John Pickard, The Australian Fencing Historian

And then we met up with an Australian treasure, John Pickard. John is an (or is he THE) Australian Fencing Historian!

John Pickard, The Australian Fencing Historian

He has had a remarkable career as a vegetation ecologist and geomorphologist both here and in Antarctica and that led him to researching the role of fences in farming systems in Australia. He has written several books including the ‘History of Australian Wire Strainers’ and there is a new one on the way.

The interview was recorded at The Ed in Adelaide and our apologies if the background noise is annoying. Who knew The Ed would be so busy at 6pm on a Monday!

And here are two pictures of the slate fence posts John mentions.


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