A FARM RUN LIKE A FACTORY INDUSTRIALIST'S WELL-PLANNED MENINGIE PROPERTY ?
By J. W. Ryan B. Ag. Sc.
Like a factory in the wilderness, Yarindale, Mr. Barton Pope's 4,100-acre property 17 miles north-east of Meningie, is a model of forethought and planning. Scrub three years ago, it has now been cleared and fenced into paddocks of 200 acres, and all but 500 acres are sown to diversified pastures.
THE industrial mind of the chairman of directors of Pope Pro ducts Ltd. can be seen on all sides. Everything has been done with an eye to efficiency of operations later. Risks have been spread — pasture seeds are produced in addition to wool and meat, while plants with growing periods at different times ensure that a failure at any one time of the year will not be a major disaster. Fire breaks are adequate and sown with lucerne, which is green at the time of greatest risk. Fodder is being conserved in several forms, including fireproof pit sil age. Massive iron sheds pro tect the machinery which has made the phenomenal development possible. To be justified, expensive machines must be made to work. This has been done by obtaining contract work through the district. Now that develop- ment is complete, the Majes- tic ploughs and heavy crawler tractors will be dis- posed of. A wide race bisects the property, with paddocks leading off from this. Pad- docks are grouped according to usage — those containing mixed pastures for grazing are all together to facilitate stock movements, while those to be used for pasture seed production are remote from these and sown with mixtures chosen for easy reaping and seed separation. Twelve men and two girls are employed at Yarindale; probably more will be needed as pastures develop and productivity rises. Staff are well housed. A 30,000 gal- lon squatters' tank is now being built on high ground to store the water drawn from 20 to 30 feet below the surface. This will be reticu- lated to houses and sheds on the property. Impressive Pastures THE improvements at Yar- indale are no more im-
pressive than the pastures, however. That these were seeded and established dur- ing two of the driest years on record, augurs well for the future of the district Mr. Pope told visitors to the recent field day that although the 13 year aver age annual rainfall at Yar indale was 211 inches, only 16 and 17 inches respectively had been received in the last two years. Evaporation at Meningie was low and the light country held the moisture well, he said. This probably accounted for the excellent growth of pastures. With more rainfall, these might possibly do better or worse; it remained to be seen. In developing country he had largely followed the ad vice of the experts but had experimented as welL A bag to the acre of super with 7 lb. of copper and 7 lb. of zinc had been used in estab- lishment; some pure stands of legumes had been sown for seed production, but grasses had been included in others. Some pastures destined solely for grazing contained clover and a mixture of grasses, others clover and either phalaris or veldt grass, so that seed can be reaped from either without the necessity of separating the two somewhat similar species. No rye grasses have been sown, as Mr. Pope considers these can be easily included in the pas- ture after other components are well established. Cover Crops And Phalaris MOST seedlings were made with a cover crop of cereals to offset the cost of establishment. Clovers thrived with the cover crop but grasses were depressed, Mr. Pope said, and because it looked so poorly with a cover crop, phalaris had been left out of some of the mixtures sown after the first year. However, it had come on so well since that it was now being used again.
Mr. Pope said he had now become much more phalaris conscious and believed it would eventually be the most valuable grass on the property. Clare Sub-Clover BACCHUS Marsh sub- clover and lucerne, in mixtures and on their own, have been the common legumes, but a paddock of Clare sub-clover sown in May last year, has been tried. Large leafed and bulky, this is now an im pressive pasture. Clare sub-clover requires much the same length of growing season as Bacchus Marsh, but because of its large seededness, it gets away to an earlier start. As a grazing proposition, Mr. Pope suggested a mixture of the two strains might spread the growing period, the Clare giving early growth and the Bacchus Marsh coming in later. A magnificent paddock of Bacchus Marsh sub-clover was inspected by the visitors. Light mallee scrub until three years ago, it was sown down then with 4 lb. of clover, 30 lb. of wheat and a bag cf 7-7 copper-zinc super. It has since been topdressed with a bag of plain super each year. In its first year, the pad dock yielded 5 bags of wheat per acres while 300 lb. of clover seed were ob- tained from each acre in the second year after it had been raked and sheepskin rolled. It will probably be used for seed production this year, and later be sown to oats for hay or injected with grasses to make a balanced pasture. Clover seed harvesting starts at Yarindale about Christmas time and goes on until the rains come. Last year, 10 tons of seed were taken from the two-year-old property. Lucerne seed production is also a major enterprise and a considerable acreage has been sown as a pure stand at 6 lb. to the acre. Mr. Pope maintains that with lucerne he has his
eggs in two baskets. If early summer rains inter fere with the clover seed harvest, they will Increase the yield of lucerne seed, and any losses will be re gained. An experimental paddock of rape has been sown this year for summer grazing. Mr. Pope hopes this deep rooted plant will not only provide feed, but will aerate the soil and make a good seedbed for the subsequent pasture to be sown in Autumn. Ploughing Experiment AN interesting experiment in ploughing has been performed on another part of the property. As on other properties in the district, clearing procedure has been — logging, burning, double deep ploughing and seeding through a drill. Usually the land is let lie for a time between ploughings to allow consolidation. Following a 20-acre pilot experiment in 1949, the ploughing on 500 acres last year were straight after each other, without a time interval between. Scrub in March last year, this area was sown six to eight weeks later. One plough immediately preceded the other, both followed by a drill with a bar behind the crawler tractor to knock the tops off the plough furrows. The freshly seeded land was then cultipacked. It now constituted one of the best second year mixed pastures on the property. To industrially minded Mr. Pope time is precious, and any measures which can speed up operations and keep machines working with out expensive waiting periods have been fully ex ploited. Despite the rapidity, dev elopment at Yarindale has been thorough. Land and pastures are clear of yaccas and regrowth, all legumes are inoculated 'before seeding, fences, sheds and improve ments are substantial and permanent. Pains are taken at top dressing time to ensure an even spread of fertiliser. Half the dressing is applied through the spinner in strips running in one direction, while the other half is put on at right angles to this. While chiefly concerned with secondary industry, Mr. Pope considers it a privilege to be associated with the type of agricultural development taking place in the Meningie district. This he described as ' history in the making.' Yarindale was described by Professor Trumble as 'an example of the happy mar riage of primary and second ary industry which the whole of Australia could well copy.' Most visitors thoroughly agreed.
As a fireproof fodder reserve, large pits of chopped silage are being put down at Yarindale with the aid of this recently imported field forage harvester, which. attracted considerable interest among visitors to the Meningie field day.
Mr. Barton Pope stands almost knee deep in a thick stand of second-year Bacchus Marsh sub-clover on his Yarindale properly at Meningie. On his left is the mana ger of Yarindale (Mr. Milton Downing). |||||