Archive for October, 2012

Australia Bound

At the time of writing, I am on a plane about 3 hours outside of Sydney, Australia.  I feel bound in my seat. The map on my seat back screen tells me I’ve travelled 6283 miles since leaving Vancouver and have 1420 to go until we land. I left Toronto at 8:30 pm Sunday.  I have no idea what the real time is, but it’s time for the guy beside me to have a shower.  I change planes in Sydney and land in Brisbane around noon Tuesday (Australia time).  Toronto to Brisbane total travel time is expected to be 26 hours.

I’ll be spending the next 3 weeks in Australia, with stops in Queensland, South Australia and Victoria.  In Queensland,  I’ll be attending the Nuffield Australia Spring tour and meetings.  I’m looking forward to catching up with my travelling companions from the Feb-Mar 2012 Global Focus Program. From Nov 1-13, I’ll be travelling on my own, meeting with farm organizations, research institutions, and companies involved in grain research.  Australian farmers, government, and companies have formed several unique partnerships to develop new crop genetics and varieties. I’m excited to learn about  how these partnerships are working farmers.

The past 6 months since the end of my Nuffield Global Focus Program have been busy with farming, Grain Farmers of Ontario, my Nuffield project, and of course my family.  Spring came early this year in Ontario and our corn, soybeans and white beans were planted in near ideal conditions. The crops had a great start and then in mid-June it stopped raining until the first of August.  This severely stressed the crops, with our corn showing the most visible damage.  However, the August rain must have made  a big difference, as our soybean and white bean yields were close to average.  Corn harvest is underway, and I expect about an average crop.

I  had a great summer, fitting in a trip to the UK to meet with researchers and farm organizations, and a family driving trip to Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick.  At Grain Farmers of Ontario, I am excited to apply what I’ve learned directly, as we are in the midst of developing a new major research partnership program – the Canadian Field Crop Research Alliance.  This is a partnership between several Canadian farm organizations, government, universities and companies to develop and commercialize new crop varieties.

Nuffield 345 CrosbyI’ve been on the look out for a Nuffield tractor.  I was at an Antique Tractor and Steam show in Blyth, Ontario in September and came across this beautifully restored Nuffield 342.  I couldn’t find the owner through.