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TAS Country : April 14th 2011
12 Tasmanian Country Friday, April 15, 2011 Farm feature WOODBURN WILD: The Busbys have been careful to protect their farm's natural values. True grit makes most of coast From Page 11 TRANQUIL: The Woodburn homestead nestling in the North-West hills. ''We used to have two mobs and we'd cut the steers from one mob into a steer mob and we'd have to hold them all there,'' he said. ''Those cutting horses were absolutely brilliant. You could put an idiot on one and all he'd have to do was sit there. The horses would know what to do.'' With 26 men in their team, Mr Busby said they had to slaughter one beast a day to keep them all in food. ''The station was pretty good. We always had fresh meat and they didn't buy in poor quality food,'' he said. ''Some of the camp cooks weren't too good, though, because they liked a drink, so it was how the food was handled that made the difference.'' Mr Busby said some of the experiences he had working on the mainland simply would not be possible today. ''It's all changed now, things like riding through a dry Lake Eyre, that just doesn't happen now,'' he said. ''At the time I didn't really think much about what I was doing, opportunities would come up and I'd just make a decision.'' Mr Busby returned home to Woodburn in about 1955. At that time farming was the major industry on the North-West coast and the nearby area of Somerset consisted of nothing more than a pub and a railway station. ''All this area around here was farms then,'' he said. ''Everyone could make a living off their 100 acres.'' The Busbys were one of the first families in the district to buy a ute and also a Ferguson tractor. Mr Busby said the introduction of hydraulic machinery opened up significant possibilities when it came to cropping. Over the years, they began growing a bigger range of crops on the property as market demands changed. They gradually phased out their shorthorn cattle and moved into angus. Nowadays, cropping is a major part of the family's farming activities and they grow a variety of cereals including three different types of wheat, barley, poppies, onions, peas, lupins and grass seed. The family also buy in store cattle to finish and breed and fatten lambs. As well as an abundance of pasture, the lambs are also fed a supplement of lupins and wheat in specially designed lick feeders, which ensures they do not consume too much at once. In small and carefully selected areas of the property, small commercial tree plantations have also been established and will be harvested and replaced in the future. Mr Busby said the tree plantations provided shelter for stock and crops and one day would hopefully provide a reasonable financial return. ''We put them on areas that we can't use for anything else because they're too steep and it works very well,'' he said. As well as the commercial plantations, the Busbys have fenced of areas of remnant vegetation and also commenced re-vegetation work on some areas of the property. Last year, they planted about 3000 native trees and shrubs and plan to plant another 2000 this year. They have also installed about 4.5km of wallaby-proof fencing. ''Some people have said to us that we're fencing the wallabies in, and I suppose that's true but it's a matter of using the wallabies to do a job,'' Mr Busby said. ''A certain number of wallabies can be useful, because they keep the grass down and prevent it becoming a fire hazard, and we protect the trees up high enough so they can't damage them.'' 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April 7th 2011
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