Farmer in Focus – Bailey Petering

Can you give us a bit of background on yourself and your farm? 

I was raised here on the family farm, Wilgara Park in Coromby near Murtoa. After finishing school I went up north for a year working on a cattle station near Oodnadatta, which was a great experience. I learned some good practical skills that I’ve been able to use here. One of the guys had some welding experience and taught me a few things.  

I’m back home now working with my Dad (Tim) and my Uncle (Paul). We run a 3600ha mixed farming operation with about 1200 first cross breeding ewes.  

What was 2019 like on the farm? 

It was one of the best years we’ve had yield wise – even though we had below average rainfall everything seemed to fall at the right time. We didn’t get much over the summer other than the big dump in December but when we needed the rain – it rained, so that was good. 

Sheep have been the same, we got a good price and good numbers and even the hay market was good.   

What has been happening on the farm recently?  

We’ve had a fair bit on the go – selling lambs, spraying and carting lentils out. We were shearing ewes all last week and now I’m on the renovator.  

We’re planning on sowing mid-late April but we might scratch some clover in early if it suits the season. 

What are your plans for the farm in 2020 and going forward? 

Business as usual for us, Lentils Barley and Wheat, plus the sheep and hay production – everything depends on forecasts and it’s still early days but there is water underneath so it’s looking promising. 

We’re planning on continuing to improve our on-farm storage such as hay sheds as well hopefully. 

What are the challenges you see for your program this year? 

Obviously the current situation with the coronavirus we might face a supply shortage and some uncertainty in the market. There is talk about a lack of chemical but luckily, we’ve got our last load of fertiliser coming in tomorrow. There are no forward contracts at the moment, but hopefully that all improves. 

Low rainfall and drought are always a risk when you’re farming up here. Also, there are some mice getting around now, a fair few actually, so that could be an issue. 

Where do you go for advice? 

I go to people I trust – I get a fair bit of wisdom from Dad and my Uncle and the agronomist is always offering plenty as well. 

What is the best advice you’ve been given as a farmer or in life? 

Try and take the emotion out of making decisions. 

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