MAKING the move from Queensland to WA in 2013 Jared Steinohrt said what started out as a hobby farm had now become a major part of his life.
Mr Steinohrt started farming at Wyalkatchem nearly five years ago as a way to get out of the city.
Growing up on the family farm in Queensland, he always had a passion for agriculture but his studies took him elsewhere.
“When I left high school my brother and I were told by our parents that we were not allowed to come back to the family farm unless we had a degree or a trade,” Mr Steinohrt said.
“So I went and studied micro-electronic engineering and my brother went and studied physics and climatology.”
Once he graduated, Mr Steinohrt was offered a job in Perth with an engineering company.
His work then took him to onshore and offshore oil rigs around the world.
Mr Steinohrt said his wife Kwai didn’t want to return to Queensland as most of her immediate family lives in Perth.
“So I said to her, I have to do something outside of the city and here I am,” he said.
Mr Steinohrt works and manages his farm quite differently to most.
He has a full-time job as a wireline engineer and sees farming as his other source of income.
“It all started as a hobby.
“When I am doing engineering I fly backwards and forwards, so when I come out here, sometimes I can just relax and enjoy the scenery.
“Other times, it can be quite stressful and quite intense, but I enjoy the challenge.”
To make the farm work, Mr Steinohrt employs contractors to do spraying when he isn’t available.
He said his brother came over and helped with seeding and harvest.
“My brother will leave the cattle behind in Queensland and come over for six weeks at a time and he will drive the airseeder and I will drive the spray rig, loader and truck,” he said.
“My brother was born with Spina Bifida.
“So he can walk a little bit but he is normally in a wheelchair, he comes over and jumps up on the tractor in the morning and just goes all day and does a really good job.
“He sits in the air seeder and drives that and I go and spray a tank or two out in front, then when he runs out of seed and fert, I will go and fill him up.”
Mr Steinohrt also relies on other help.
“We have the local agronomist who comes around every Monday to have a look,” he said.
“So he will ring me or send me an email if we need to get something done.
“It’s really good having scheduled crop inspections by a professional.”
Mr Steinhort said it was totally different here in WA, with all the soil types being completely different to what he was used to.
“In Queensland we have anything from shallow to deep sand, shallow to deep red country to heavy black clays which retain moisture well,” he said.
“Generally in winter, it rains in larger volumes rather than light to medium showers here in WA.”
When he first moved to Wyalkatchem, Mr Steinohrt only purchased a 40 hectare block.
“I thought I would try what I know from Queensland,” he said.
“But all the chemicals are different and all the weeds are different.”
Mr Steinohrt said he quickly realised what he was used to doing wasn’t going to work in his adopted State.
“Then a couple of local farmers and agronomists were willing to give me a run down on what process they use so I went and bought a DBS bar and went all out.”
Mr Steinohrt said once he got the processes right, it was time to start working on soil amelioration and preventing resistent weed populations.
The property has now expanded to 1500ha and he has started working on his soil with deep rippers and rollers.
Mr Steinohrt said he has deep ripped some of his program this year because he had a lot of sand that responded well.
He purchased a Gessner Rhino Ripper which allows him to rip up to 800 millimetres deep, depending on the stubble load.
“When I want to go really deep I just lift tines up individually to make it easier to pull and provide the most efficient traction,” he said.
This year Mr Steinohrt ripped every six metres and skipped every other 6m.
“Because the wheel tracks are on every second run and because I’m not 100 per cent controlled trafficking yet, it’s not all in line,” he said.
“I ripped it in January and I thought it would get windy so I wanted to leave a stubble cover row between each infill to minimise the amount of erosion.
“It doesn’t take much stubble to make a big difference.
“Next year I will rip the wheel tracks and leave the infill un-ripped, which will still be soft from this year.
“After that I will either go through with a spader or a plough and try to flip this non-wetting soil upside down and get some of the more absorbent/wettable soil up on the surface.”
Mr Steinohrt said the dry start also impacted his choices on his heavier soils with no canola or lupins going in this year.
His program consists of 13pc Planet barley, 24pc Spartacus barley and 63pc Scepter wheat.
“I didn’t put lupins in on the non wetting soil because of the weather,” he said.
“The dry start changed the situation to barley and wheat, but I think if I planted the canola it would have been alright by now, but I didn’t want to take the risk at the time.
“As for the lupins, we were getting close to the end of the program and it still hadn’t rained, so they were also scratched from the program.”