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TAS Country : January 5th 2012
8 Tasmanian Country Friday, January 6, 2012 News Smallholdings Avoid blowing a gasket ask SOTA Q: I haven't used my tractor for some time and, according to the temperature gauge, the engine is getting hot. On checking the radiator, I noticed that the water is dark brown but it does not appear to be leaking. What should I do? A: Now is the time to give your tractor's cooling system a thorough going- over. The time and expense of cleaning, replacing hoses and flushing your radiator is spare change compared with the bill for a possible blown head gasket or worse. The first job it to clean the radiator fins. Dirt and debris can accumulate and block the radiator, vastly reducing its cooling efficiency. Have a screen in front of the radiator to protect the fins. With all the long grass around, the radiator can quickly be blocked with seeds. Watch your temperature gauge like a hawk. You may have to stop several times during a slashing session to clean all the seeds out of the screen. To clean the fins, remove the radiator screen and blow compressed air on to the back of the radiator, blowing the dirt and organic matter back out the front. Blowing air into the front often jams the unwanted material in even harder. You could use a high-pressure hose as well, but they can damage the fins, restricting air flow and permanently damaging the radiator. Make sure you replace the screen, too. Replace the cap, hoses and fan belt if they look tatty. Use genuine or OEM hoses when available and replace the clamps. Make sure the radiator cap is the correct pressure as well. Obviously you are draining the coolant from your cooling system to do this, so check the condition of the water pump, thermostat and thermostat housing while you have the spanners out. If these are corroded, leaking or sweating it is likely that they are not going to stand up to another summer. You need to replace the coolant but if you are going all out, it won't hurt to give the cooling system a flush. Make sure you use the recommended coolant when you top up the system. If the old coolant looks a bit sorry, treat it to a series of flushes and a treatment to remove any scale and rust circulating in the engine block or radiator cores. Mark Crakanthorp, SOTA Tractors Got a farming question? Send to firstname.lastname@example.org. com.au Make sure fences are best for your property HOBBY farming Paul Healy MAKING THE CUT: Fencing newly subdivided land has become important issue for small holdings. ONE of the first major decisions facing those who have just bought their first bush block, hobby farm or small holding is choosing what do do about the state of the fencing. In the case of a newly subdivided parcel of land, you have to decide what sort of fencing is needed for the newly cleared boundary lines. Even if you do not plan to keep stock on your land in the immediate future, you will need a means of keeping other people's stock out, while land which may need to be rested from past grazing pressure, or planted to shelter belts, cannot be secured from browsing while it remains unfenced. An open road frontage is an invi- tation to unwanted entry on your land, especially if you have moved to a bush or rural retreat in an isolated area where vacated land may have been treated, in past times, as common ground used to fetch firewood or to test trail bikes. Well-built, visible fences and gates kept chained and in good order are your best notice to potential trespas- sers that a previously unoccupied bit of ground is now out of bounds. But there are even better reasons to make fencing your investment priority before any money is spent on sheds, trees or stock. The old adage which tells us that Good Fences Make Good Neighbours was never more true than when placed in a rural setting. Securing the dividing line between the stock and crops which are precious to those on both sides of the boundary line is an essential first step in building good relations with your local rural community, and no replacement or repair to an existing fence which is dividing owners should ever be made until your common neighbours have been contacted and consulted. When buying land in a rural setting, you are setting out on a potential long- term investment of your time, work, hope and dreaming, yet all of that can be brought undone all too soon in situations where relations with your neighbours go sour. If you make your first approach in the right manner, you will find that the great majority of country people will be more than friendly, helpful and accom- modating. But if there is one thing guaranteed to put a farmer in a negative frame, it is a meeting with those from the town who think that they know already how it all should be done. If you do not come from a country background, be open with your ques- tions and do not be too proud to acknowledge your lack of experience in rural matters. Ask your neigh- bours about the status of the joint boundary fences and discuss with them your thoughts on the sort of stock you were thinking of keeping, inquiring what sort of fencing may be required to keep the flocks and herds apart. Also remember that fencing of your boundaries has legal implications -- es- pecially those with road and water frontages. It is one thing which must be done properly from the start. Traditionally, it was commonly ac- cepted that a boundary fence should include at least one solid timber post or steel dropper placed at every three metres, but modern, high-tensile fenc- ing systems now offer different options. Common sense does not change, however, and as a minimum in sheep country your boundary fence should be set at least 1.2m high. Where goats or cattle are being considered, a height of 1.6m minimum is suggested, being rigged with a run of ringlock wire supported by three strands of heavy-duty Iowa barb strung above and along the top of the ringlock, with one run of barb wire set just below the ringlock, to stop goats, cattle and horses pushing through. One essential fencing rule to follow is never to mix heavy-duty, long shanked Iowa barb which can snag clothing quite easily with a mix of live electric wires strung in an open fence that would entice any person to try to climb through the assembly. This could have fatal consequences. If you are thinking of free-ranging poultry, game or waterfowl, all bound- aries should be built of heavy-duty rabbit netting backed up by five electric outriggers, arranged in a fox, cat and dog-proof sandwich assembly, set 15cm beyond the outside of the netting, strung at 20cm, 45cm, 75cm, 100cm and 125cm heights. For free-ranging pigs, these same electric height settings should run along the inside of the boundary netting. If your boundaries are likely to have passing foot traffic, always display warning signs beside every gate, and at 50m intervals along all road front- ages when using live external electrics on your fencing. If you have no knowledge or exper- tise in this area at all, the fencing of your boundaries is a job that is best shared with those who know what they are doing, or one that is best given to one of the many professional rural fencing contractors who advertise in the Tasmanian Country. Only when the borders have been secured and your boundary fencing is in place is it time to consider how to develop the land within, and if you would like to learn how to do your own fencing this is a skill that is best acquired with the building of the many internal subdivisional fences you will need to erect as time passes. Paul Healy will be running sand- wich fencing and netting workshops for the smallholder and hobby farmer at his own property, in the Huon Valley, on January 22. For details, email paul--- email@example.com. KR & JM AGRICULTURAL CONTRACTORS ABN 12 738 560 374 2022260-120106 Phone 6259 7001 Mobile 0407 120 043 Fax 6259 7110 Email firstname.lastname@example.org • Conventional Fencing • Machinery Transport • Excavator Hire • Electric Fencing • Vermin Fencing • Security Fencing • Trellising • Stockyards • Horse Yards • Post Driving • Slashing • Irrigation • Truck Hire Tyeasy , Flexable , GalStar , Adjusta-Stay , Ezyslot ,
December 22nd 2011
January 13th 2012