Just can’t do without . . .

Host: Eversleigh Station
Written by Jenny Underwood – Owner, Eversleigh Station.

When living and working on the land is your business inevitably you will need quite a variety of vehicles and miscellaneous types of machinery as “tools of the trade”.

First up you need to have at least one ute – the number of different jobs that this vehicle undertakes is endless. Most stations will also have a town car (or Mum’s car as it is often called) – a four-wheel drive wagon of some type.

You will also need at least one motorbike. Many properties are now favouring four wheels over two with quite a number using side-by-side buggies for their mustering and checking of waters and associated property jobs.

These vehicles are fundamental to the running of a property.

We have a number of other vehicles that we (that is, my husband) just can’t seem to do without.

5.1.- TractorThe tractor is one of the most often used machines on our place.

A TRACTOR – Rarely a day goes by when the tractor isn’t used for one job or another. It is vital when we are feeding out cottonseed as it not only puts the cottonseed into the shed after delivery;

5.2 - Putting cottonseed into the shedPushing the cottonseed into the cottonseed bay of the shed.

but it also takes the cottonseed back out of the shed to fill the trailer, cottonseed feeders or to walk a bucket load to nearby paddocks.

5.3 - Calves getting the last from the bucketCalves making sure they get every last bit of cottonseed out of the bucket.

The tractor also spends a lot of its life unloading trucks that deliver hay, lick, steel, bull feed and many other necessary things that are needed on a property that are too heavy to unload by hand; it also loads heavy stuff onto our truck.

5.4 - Unloading the hay truckUnloading hay and lick.

The tractor is also used to dig holes when there is a polyline leak; push dirt up to water troughs; rip a furrow when we want to lay polypipe to water troughs and pull vehicles out of bogholes. The tractor also has a clever attachment called a “Brompton Rat” which is used to fight a grass fire. The “rat” digs a firebreak and can also be used to backburn by dripping lighted fuel on the inside of the furrow.

Another machine which helps fight fires is a grader.

5.5 - graderThe grader has a number of jobs on our property.

A GRADER is often used in the same way as the tractor to grade a firebreak around the leading edge of a fire. We live on Open Downs country and this is one of the best ways to fight a grass fire. The grader is also used to grade fireplough tracks to prevent fires from spreading too far especially along fence lines.

When a new fence line is to be built the grader will clear away any timber or grass from where the fence is to be put up.

5.6 - Grading the lineClearing a track to sight the line for a new fence. The track is generally quite wide to allow easy movement of vehicles carrying the fencing equipment and gear as well as to prevent a fire from starting from stray sparks from the welder or grinder.

The grader also ensures that our access and water roads are smooth and trafficable; it can grade a line and dig a trench when new polypipe has to be laid and it can also fill in the trench after the job is done.

The job description of A TRUCK isn’t restricted to carting livestock. During supplementary feeding in dry times the truck can be used to cart loads of cottonseed or the molasses mixer and tanks as well as bales of hay being fed to stock in the paddock.

5.7 - Molasses mixer on truck + cottonseed trailerThe truck carrying the molasses mixer as well as load of premixed molasses in a tank. The ute in the foreground is towing a cottonseed trailer.

The truck was very handy when we had to lay a new polyline to a paddock where the dam had gone dry (yesterday’s blog – “When the dam went dry”). The truck was invaluable in carrying the large, heavy coils of polypipe and then taking the new tank and trough and the tools needed out to the site.

5.8 - Polypipe on truck (3)Coils of 200m x 63mm polypipe ready to be rolled out along a new polyline.

One day when Roger took the truck into town and came home with it fully laden with all sorts of “goodies”. It became known as Roger’s shopping trolley.

5.9 - Roger's shopping trolleyRoger’s shopping trolley.

Inevitably, other properties will have many other machines such as a loader, a plane, a helicopter, a semi-trailer, a tip-truck. While to many people these machines and vehicles may seem extravagant, each will be an important part of the operation of a cattle or sheep station.