Enjoying the farming lifestyle

22 Sep, 2013 02:00 AM
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Tim and Heidi Evans with their children, Kayley and Hamish.
Tim and Heidi Evans with their children, Kayley and Hamish.

IF Brookton farmer Tim Evans is anything to go by, the future of farming is in good hands.

Tim is a fourth generation farmer and his passion for the industry is evident, which is no wonder, given the picturesque spot he is lucky enough to farm in.

Tim farms with his wife Heidi and their two children Hamish and Kayley, and his parents Ross and Clare.

When Farm Weekly visited Tim it was the first week in spring and the sun was well and truly shining.

And after a soaking rain of nine millimetres the night before, Tim's crops were looking amazing.

He said it had been a near-perfect few months since June.

"The season is looking really good, there isn't a lot we can complain about," Tim said.

"It is probably the best I have seen our oats look for the first week of September."

In a normal year the Evans family put about half of their 1000 hectare cropping program to oats, a quarter to canola and the remainder is split between wheat, barley and lupins.

They sell most of their oats as grain, apart from the few hundred tonnes they keep for themselves for sheep feed.

Tim said traditionally a large majority of the property had been put to oats because it grew so well in the area.

Although looking good at the moment, like every region, Brookton has had its farming challenges.

Tim said the district was prone to late frosts, which was why they had never grown a lot of wheat.

"Even before I came home, there has never been a lot of wheat grown on the property," he said.

This year they planted half the oats program to Carrolup and half to Wandering.

Tim's canola crops were also looking pretty good.

He said they had only been growing canola for about six years.

Since including it in their program, Tim said canola had been working extremely well.

"The prices have been very reasonable the last five years and it grows well on our dirt," he said.

"The canola also is fantastic to use as a break crop before oats and allows us to get in and really clean up the grasses."

This year Tim and Ross were trialling Crusher canola as well as Thunder, which they regularly used.

Tim said the Thunder had always performed exceptionally.

"This year, so far, the Crusher, visually looks very good," he said.

"We will have to wait and see what happens at harvest before we know for sure, but everything is going well so far."

Aside from their cropping program Tim and Ross also run a Merino and crossbred sheep operation.

This year they crossed F1 Prime SAMM ewes with Suffolks and produced 800 crossbred lambs.

They also have 1600 Merino lambs on the ground.

Tim said their sheep numbers were probably at the lowest they had ever been.

"I can't see us dropping the numbers anymore," he said.

"We are happy with the balance we have now.

"They will always be an important part of the program."

Tim said the live export issue was a constant worry as without that market it would almost not be worth running sheep.

"Wool isn't worth enough on its own to continue to run sheep without that wether market," he said.

"It is a necessity for sheep in WA, we can't eat them all domestically."

Although Tim took a few years off the farm after finishing school, he said it was always something that he knew he wanted to come back to.

Tim said his parents had encouraged him to look at other options before settling on the farm so he studied geology at university.

He worked as a mining geologist for five years, even spending some time working in Canada.

"It did cross my mind to stay in Canada, but I had told dad that year that I would be home for harvest, and I was," Tim said.

"Even when I was away at boarding school or uni or working fly in-fly out I always came back to the farm as much as I could in my breaks.

"It was something that was always part of my plan."

All in all it was a good move, considering he met Heidi not long after coming back to the farm.

Tim said while there could be certain stresses involved with farming, it was a lifestyle he enjoyed.

"We are very fortunate to have the acreage we have in this area," he said.

"Brookton is a great little community and there are a lot of young farming families around."

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