Dallas Hobbs grew up on the family farm, but he decided he wanted to be a farmer when he realised he liked it a bit more than carpentry.
After spending time studying agriculture and working on various properties, Dallas returned to the farm, Woodlands Partners, in Douglas, Victoria. Here he works with his Dad, Stephen and Mum, Wendy.
The Hobbs farming focus is cropping which consists of wheat, canola, faba beans and lupins, that they proudly work under a no till system. They also have a small amount of sheep that Dallas says they will be looking to get rid of by 2020.
The property varies in soil types ranging from grey clay sodosols and vertosols, to sandy loams and sands.
Dallas says “soil structures are our biggest challenge; we’re focusing on increasing soil pH due to some paddocks being acidic and we are looking to implement a liming program.”
They also have a bleach layer at a foot depth, which acts similarly to a hard pan thus affecting root grow and water penetration in the soil. They have done some trial work on fixing this and will focus on it a lot more in the future.
The Season So Far
Douglas has had 350mm for the year to date (27 Sep) and 328mm for the growing season, their average rainfall is 450mm. The area missed out on the bigger summer rainfall a lot of areas had, only receiving 20mm.
“We’ve put out a big hit of urea over all the crops before winter dormancy. We usually top up early September, but it hasn’t been wet enough this year” Dallas said of his crop nutrition activities for the season.
Harvest is quickly approaching in the Wimmera. Dallas says, “everything is serviced and waiting, so we are definitely ready“. The Hobbs’ plan to harvest everything for grain and generally avoid cutting for hay.
In terms of yield, Dallas says, “we’ll be pretty happy with 3.5t/ha for wheat, 2t/ha for faba beans and lupins, 2.2t/ha for canola”. These predictions are based on how the crop looks and the rainfall. Although, Dallas says the wheat will yield lower because some paddocks had poor germination.
The Hobbs’ have sufficient on-farm storage and priority is given to “what we think has the most potential for upside“. They then deliver or warehouse everything else.
Dallas has an interest in AgTech and has a very long wish list adding “there’s always something to implement, but we need a few good seasons to afford it”.
At the moment the Hobbs’ are integrating a controlled traffic plan onto their farm.
“We are close to having it all complete which means the farm will be full controlled traffic within the next few seasons“, says Dallas.
Stephen has been yield mapping for over 10 years and with the data collected, they are now hoping to set up variable rate seeding and variable rate nitrogen applications.
In terms of soils, they hope to do some pH mapping so that they can vary the rate of lime.
They also have a BCG weather station, which is in the process of being put together, and hopefully operational very soon.
Do you think you need to be passionate to be a farmer?
“I think you have to be passionate in any career. Farming can be pretty trying on many levels including socially, so it can be tricky to manage. Farming has a lot of challenges, so you have to really love it” Dallas said.