The A – Z of Farming…

How much do you know about farming?

If you remember a couple of years ago, I ran a segment called 52 Farmer blogs, in conjunction with the Australian Year of the Farmer.

This year, it’s the International Year of the Family Farm and two other family farmers are going to join me here while we run through the A-Z of farming.

Amanda Salisbury is also known as BushBabe of Oz and lives in Queensland.

Gemma Lee-Steere’s other persona is Rural Miss and is based in the South West of WA.

Obviously, you know me and we live on the South East Coastal of WA.

You can follow us on Facebook: Bushbabeofoz, Rural Miss, Fleur. Please pop across and like out pages – we love showing off our country!

All three of us have different perspectives of farming, we live different lives, see different things and our farming practices are incredibly diverse. With all of us, you’re going to get a really wide range of what happens ‘out there in farming land!’

So, join us over the next twenty six weeks as we lead you on an alphabetic journey of what we use, farm and see every day!

A is for:

Amanda:  A.I. – Artificial Insemination

Sounds quite romantic, doesn’t it?


For many livestock producers though, A.I. is essential to their businesses.  Very thin ‘straws’ of bull semen (or ram or stallion or whatever your chosen livestock species is) are ‘harvested’, frozen and then (when the female is at the right part of her cycle) this straw is carefully thawed and placed into the recipient.

Noting what semen goes into what cow is really important for record keeping

Noting what semen goes into what cow is really important for record keeping

AI helps farmers ensure that very best genetics are able to be utilised within a herd, without having to transport animals unnecessarily.  It’s quick, clean and places little stress on the recipient.

Lube makes it easier!

Lube makes it easier!

It doesn’t fully take the place of a real sire however – we still mostly use bulls with our cows, and always use a ‘clean-up’ bull to make ensure any AI’d ladies who missed falling pregnant to that process still get to have a baby.

Getting out the straws of semen

Getting out the straws of semen – scissor cut ‘the end’ off and let the semen (good thing he’s there in real life!)

friend of mine, visiting our place and looking on as my husband poured lube from a giant container onto his gloved hand, said in astonishment:

Semen is stored in a canister full of dry ice

Semen is stored in a canister full of dry ice

‘Can’t you AT LEAST buy them flowers?’

Heh. city girls sure are funny sometimes.  What’s a cow gonna do with flowers? A sheaf of hay would be much more kindly received, methinks!

Ah, the Romance of the Bush!


Fleur: Auger

Augers, Angus cattle, Air compressors, acres, Agriculture… All A words in the first of this A-Z of Agriculture series.

I thought I’d concentrate on Augers… Such a funny word – to look at and say.

grain is pumped into the header box by an auger

grain is pumped into the header box by an auger

There’s always such a play on words, during harvest. (You’ve got to have your mind in the gutter, as we do over here), but it makes for fun chat on the two-way during the long hours of harvest.

‘Got to get rid of your load.’

‘Stick your auger out.’

‘It’s pumping.’

You get the gist!auger1

So, what is an auger? Well it’s a piece of machinery which helps move grain from one spot to another. (I’ll put in a few photos here). A necessity when seeding, feeding sheep or during harvest. We use them to load trucks, help clean grain, fill the sheep feeder and make fixes for the feedlot.


And in all reality this thin, tall giraffe looking like piece of machinery couldn’t be done without!


Gemma: Agriculture


According to Wikipedia, agriculture can be defined as: “Agriculture, also called farming or husbandry, is the cultivation of animalsplantsfungi, and other life forms for foodfiberbiofueldrugs and other products used to sustain and enhance human life. Agriculture was the key development in the rise of sedentary human civilization, whereby farming of domesticated species created food surpluses that nurtured the development of civilization.” (

Gemma and Echo

Gemma and Echo

Agriculture has been in my blood since the day I was born.  The type of farming I have predominantly been involved in is livestock and cropping.  I studied Viticulture and Oenology at uni which gave me an appreciation in the time, care and effort that goes into growing table and wine grapes and in producing wine.  Regardless of the type of farm system that any given property has, proper care of the land is essential. Each stage of a farm is so intricately involved and dependent on the other and getting all the stages balanced and aligned is so important in having a productive farm.



Is cooking a dying art?  Our are farms crumbling and slowly ceasing to exist?  Do the two go hand in hand and is this relationship trying to tell us something that we just can’t see?  I find the obvious and increasing lack of understanding or awareness people are displaying of where the food they are consuming has come from very sad.  One thing I am determined to do is provide an insight into farming, life on a farm and in rural Australia.  When used positively, Social Media has provided us with a platform to share real stories from Rural Australia.



In conclusion (I promise I am not always this serious!!) I believe that farmers hold a little of each of these – I think we are optimistic about the future (we have to be), we can be pessimistic about many things (namely market prices, weather and operating costs), we are realists (realizing that many things are out of our control) and we are also opportunists.  We are opportunists as at one stage of our life as we saw the opportunity for something great.  We saw potential & possibilities and we knew we could do our bit to keep our agricultural industry growing.  We took a great big leap and had a go – and in doing this we showed the greatest opportunism and optimism about the future of farming and agriculture.  And this is EXACTLY what our industry needs.


Comments 11

  1. Quite excited to be part of such a cool project… if anyone has any suggestions for words we should include in this list then please leave them here in Fleur’s comments.

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  2. Since you’ve rashly asked for suggestions, how about the SOI? It’s something I hear mentioned on ABC-RN, and I have the impression that (some?) farmers have a keen interest in it, as it has something to do with the weather, predicted rainfall …? No worries if it’s not part of your practice, and feel free to ignore the suggestion. I enjoy the Rural Miss Fb posts – I think I heard about them on ABC-RN, too. Keep up the great work on all your properties!

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      Hi There! Thanks for your suggestion. I’ve asked the other girls and we have to admit we don’t know much about this. We tend to forecast the weather from what we see! Clouds = rain, blue skies= warm… You get the dirt. We’ll get on to it though, and do some research. You never know, we might be come weather experts yet!

  3. Every night I sit at the computer looking for subjects that interest me, of course that is how I found Dexter. I’m looking forward to the weeks ahead, such a great idea. Happy times ahead.

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