Well, it is all very final. Last week our 101 acre block just outside of Sale in Victoria sold and we have now relocated our cattle to the new farm in South Gippsland. It was strange on the Friday morning to see the old block so empty: no stock, no hay and no oak tree on the rise. But we are ever confident we have made the right choice when we consider the climate, hills, view and water availability.
The last few weeks has been a serious effort for coordination to get us here and in my opinion it was no small feat. Mainly because my better half is used to dealing with logistics at work, which is where he was whilst I was lining up our contractors. But I think I did an OK job.
Naturally no farm move will be the same, but to give you an idea these are some of the things we had to organise for this to go ahead.
At the old property:
– drenching and vaccinating the cattle
– moving hay bales off the property
– getting transport quotes for stock movement and arranging a time and day
– digging up the orchard and oak tree we had planted and repotting them for transport down to the new farm
– returning borrowed equipment and removing any equipment (such as IBC tanks and hot wire rolls) from the farm
– signing paperwork for the settlement
At the new farm:
– ensuring there is an adequate unloading point for the stock
– fencing; making sure it’s up to scratch and there are secure paddocks for the cattle
– ensuring there is a watering point for the stock that is easily accessible
I would love to say the move went smoothly. Sadly though it didn’t and one thing after another led us down a wild path of misadventure.
The first of these was the delivery of a new adjustable loading ramp. I hadn’t realised that they were built to order, with an 8 week waiting period. I had a small meltdown when I tried to buy one 5 days from the cattle being transported.. but our local Landmark office worked some magic and found one that could be delivered the day before we needed it!
We had plans to level off and gravel a flat section at the yards where the new ramp could be placed. This went awry when 13mm of rain fell the day before delivery and the next morning the gravel truck got bogged. At this point my heart sank, along with the truck’s back wheel as the driver said ‘I hope I don’t get stuck’.. Luckily for us our Land Rover was able to tow him out.
After the small gravel truck getting stuck, we realised there wasn’t a cat in hell’s chance for anything larger. A few calls to the contractors meant that we put the loading ramp on the driveway and the cattle truck could reverse into it. I can’t say I was overly pleased with this, but with no alternative and the assurance that both the delivery guys were ‘real hill folk’ this went ahead. So then we were back on track and things were looking good (again) for the stock movement.
The cattle were moved in two loads. The cows, calves, heifers and steers were transported on a double-decked semi trailer whilst Hamish and Ciad-Ghin were moved separately as they are staying in Sale for the time being. One small issue we had was getting the truck down the farm lane as we hadn’t considered the extra height. A bit of impromptu pruning of the neighbours overhanging branches soon sorted things out though.
Then the race was on to beat the cattle truck to our new place. We needed to do this so a hot tape run could be set up to guide the cattle along the driveway and into the yards. Most of this was set up by the time the cattle arrived.. but we still had to cross our fingers and toes that they wouldn’t wander off into the wilder parts of our new block.
The first mob off the ramp moved like a dream; straight down the lane, through the pine forest and past the house into the yards. The next group were OK although they ended up in the house garden and had to be ushered out! The final group – our horned ladies, were nothing short of a nightmare, ignoring the lane and making their way up the hill to the highest point on the farm. Most of them we managed to herd into the yards eventually, but not before three of the buggers jumped the fence into the neighbours block.
The last few days we have got to know our neighbour very well. He is a champion fellow and one of those splendid old farmer gems, with over 50 years of knowledge and some funny stories. When we spent a fruitless day trying to coax the highlands back, he was more than happy for us to catch the calves and let them in with their mums. Then he let us borrow his trailer and yards to get them all back!
I am now happy to say that we have moved to the new farm (yay!).