Farmer in Focus – Spencer Allan

This month BCG caught up with Wycheproof-Narraport Farmer, Spencer Allan. Luckily, the recent rains which have swept through the region meant that Spenno had some time on his hands during the busy sowing period to chat to us about the farm, family and football.

Can you give us a bit of background on yourself and your farm?
This is the family farm; I came back to work here during the 2015 harvest after working for O’Connor’s for four years. We run a minimum till sowing program, and about 800 merino breeders. My older brother Ricky covers most of the sheep work and I focus on the cropping side of things. We’re lucky to have a good family workforce – Dad and his brother Grant are always available to help, that’s going to be handy this year particularly as there may be a shortage of international workers who a lot of farmers rely on for seasonal work.

How much rain did you get in April?  Is it causing any problems?
We’ve had 100mm for the month, which is excellent. It would be good to see it fine up for a couple of weeks for everyone to get the crop in, but so far in my short career I’ve always thought it can never be too wet in the Mallee!

What has been happening on the farm recently?
Well, we’re having a break from sowing now while it dries out – I was hoping to get out and spray some Rye Grass to add another paddock of Canola. I’ve just bought some seed for it but it’s not looking too likely that I’ll be able to get on today.

What sort of Canola have you sown?
Many of the paddocks had clearfield residues, so we’ve put in Pioneer 43Y92 after some good results in the area last year.

How’s the sowing program going?
We’re about 30% done – so far, we’ve sown Canola, Vetch and sheep feed. We’ll be moving onto the Barley, Wheat and Peas next to finish it off. It has been pretty good going so far.

Where do you go for advice?
I’m lucky to have Dad and Rick to bounce ideas off when making decisions – It’s good to talk to the neighbours too and I work closely with my agronomist Roy Daykin (Elders).

And Footy? How does it feel to be undefeated in your first year as Captain this year?
Yeah, undefeated and we haven’t won any either. It’s unusual not having the usual winter routine but I guess it’s giving me a chance to get a bit more done on the farm on weekends. Hopefully, we can get a few games in though, it’s good for the towns.

What are the challenges you see for your program this year?
Well, there’s lots of talk about the short supply fertilisers and chemical this year with everything that’s going on in the world. Luckily, I haven’t had too many troubles so far, touch wood, and we’ll just have to do our best to manage whatever happens.

What is the best advice you’ve been given as a farmer or in life?
For Sheep – walk when everyone else is running and run when everyone else is walking. For crops – the early bird gets the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese.

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