Change in career direction works for Josh

Change in career direction works for Josh

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Josh Pearse is loving his farming new role that he took on in May, working for Ty and Em Fulwood's cropping operation at Meenaar, South Tammin and Mt Stirling.

Josh Pearse is loving his farming new role that he took on in May, working for Ty and Em Fulwood's cropping operation at Meenaar, South Tammin and Mt Stirling.

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"I always had a passion to go farming in some way & that only grew as I got older..."

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FOR those who don't have a family farm to take on, the dream of farming is difficult to achieve, especially in today's world with increased farming and living costs.

But Josh Pearse has found a way that works for him.

He spent his childhood in Perth, but with family farming at Meckering he would visit regularly and has fond memories of the farm.

"I especially loved going there at harvest time, jumping in the truck and carting grain with my grandfather or in the header or tractor with my uncle," Mr Pearse said.

"Or just generally running amok around the place with my cousins.

"I guess you could say it was those memories and the fact that the farm sold when I was young (nine years old) that prompted me to eventually want to find a way back into farming/agriculture."

As the saying goes, 'you can take the boy out of the country but you can't take the country out of the boy', which rings true for this farmer.

"The general connection to farming was always there for me given my family was involved," he said.

"I always had a passion to go farming in some way and that only grew as I got older, but I knew getting into farming wasn't going to be easy."

 At the time of seeding, the team was also busy with some soil amelioration on paddocks that had non-wetting issues. They spaded this paddock of Rosalind barley and Mr Pearse said he has noticed a good difference in the soil moisture as it was looking to be one of their best barley crops.

At the time of seeding, the team was also busy with some soil amelioration on paddocks that had non-wetting issues. They spaded this paddock of Rosalind barley and Mr Pearse said he has noticed a good difference in the soil moisture as it was looking to be one of their best barley crops.

After leaving school Mr Pearse gained a light machinery trade and worked for machinery dealerships, McIntosh & Son and Bourgault, and then in precision agriculture with Vantage, which he said gave him useful skills and knowledge that he has taken to his current role.

Earlier this year an opportunity arose for him to work for Mt Noddy Farming, a family farming business run by Ty and Em Fulwood, and Ty's father Ray at Meenaar.

Mr Pearse joined the team in May and works on a full-time, drive-in, drive-out basis as his wife Julia and son Liam currently live in Serpentine, with another baby on the way.

"I'm really enjoying the work - the Fulwoods are good operators," Mr Pearse said.

"They are adopters of many things that will make their farm business more sustainable, are very progressive and willing to try new things.

"I've still got so much to learn about farming and I'm keen to learn."

Mt Noddy Farming is a 100 per cent cropping operation with 5200 hectares planted on properties at Meenaar, South Tammin and Mt Stirling.

Part of the Meenaar farm neighbours Mr Pearse's former family farm which he said felt nice to be working in the same area where his connection to agriculture was sown.

He said having the farm spread over multiple areas across 75 kilometres, gave them diversification.

"It is a good risk management strategy as we have variety in terms of rainfall and soil types," Mr Pearse said.

Chief wheat was growing well when Farm Weekly visited, with some good root systems. The wheat and barley crops have since come into a head.

Chief wheat was growing well when Farm Weekly visited, with some good root systems. The wheat and barley crops have since come into a head.

Like many growers across WA, he said recent rainfall gave them a more positive seasonal outlook.

For August they had about 45mm at Meenaar, 35mm at South Tammin and 25mm at Mt Stirling and about 10mm across all properties for the first two weeks of September.

"We've been very fortunate to get the rain we have had at the times it has fallen," he said.

"Considering the rain to date, the crops look alright, but we will need more rain in coming weeks to achieve an average yield.

"2019 was quite a tough year but this year is shaping up to be a bit better."

Mt Noddy Farming's average growing season rainfall is 280mm.

Since Farm Weekly visited in August, Mr Pearse said the wheat and barley crops were starting to head.

This year's crop program involved 1880ha of Scepter, Devil and Chief wheat; 1370ha of barley (Bass, Buff, Rosalind and Spartacus), 360ha of canola; 460ha of Jurien lupins; and 130ha of Bannister oats for hay.

While seeding is a busy time for any farm business, Mr Pearse said there was a lot of soil amelioration work happening around the same time which meant their seeding period started in early May and finished in mid-June.

"We did soil amelioration in some paddocks that had non-wetting issues and other soil constraints before seeding them," he said.

Mr Pearse said the Fulwoods have used no-till and controlled traffic farming practices for a long time, which aided productivity.

"It has certainly helped them achieve a decent result in a below-average or average rainfall year by helping to retain moisture in the soil," he said.

"And we were fortunate to have some moisture in the soil profile to seed, which has certainly helped the crops germinate, especially the cereals."

Average crop yields across the enterprise are 2.25 tonnes per hectare for wheat and barley and 1.2t/ha for canola and lupins.

The crop rotation depends on each paddock's location and frost management strategy, with canola and lupins used as break crops.

Mr Pearse said they were expecting hay cutting to start soon which was done by contractors and harvest is expected to start in late October.

While additional labour is typically sourced for seeding, he said they are not very worried about the labour shortage sweeping the agriculture industry due to COVID-19 restrictions, as they didn't use seasonal labour at harvest.

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