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TAS Country : February 2nd 2012
Friday, February 3, 2012 Tasmanian Country 19 News Small holdings Most precious resource WATER STORAGE: Make the best use of sheds for collecting water. HOBBY farming Paul Healy THE presence, or absence, of water when buying land -- is everything. Knowing that water for your land can be sourced from either above ground, or beneath it, is the No.1 criteria in choosing your block. There are six potential sources of water for your land: Rainfall gathered from the roofs of sheds and dwellings that is stored in tanks, cisterns or dams. Ponds and dams that are dug to collect rainfall surface runoff, or which can save diverted overspill from dryland gullies and gutters which run with the rains. Underground water that is pumped from a bore. Water rising to the surface in the form of springs, or soaks that can be collected in shallow basins and then piped to tanks, or into covered ponds. Water that is pum- ped, under a domestic al- lowance, or with a com- mercial irrigation licence, from streams and rivers. And water that is collected in tanks filled from gutters hung beneath fine mesh nylon nets and curtains that are strung to collect passing drifts of fog and mist --- a useful aid for the drier, inland parts of this state which are prone to fog. The value of rainfall that is collected from the roofs of sheds and outbuildings is often overlooked, when potential land purchases are being considered. There are very few dwellings seen in the rural landscape which do not have tanks attached, at every corner, in modern times, but you still find many farms whose out- buildings have not been tapped for their consider- able potential for the col- lection of rain. While there are signifi- cant variations influenced by the angle and alignment of the roof, and by the type of rain that is falling, as a very general rule for every 10m2 of roof area, you can collect 5000 litres of water from every 900mm (36 in- ches) of rain. With a combined dwell- ing and shed roof area of 500m2, and with an average annual rainfall of 900mm, you can collect 250,000 li- tres a year, which would cost you around $30,000 in purchased tank capacity to collect and hold. The same $30,000 --- when spent on digging dams and lined, covered ponds filled on diverted runoff waters --- could give you anywhere between one and 10 million litres of water storage for your land. The usual rough calcu- lation is that one dollar spent on dam and pond digging will give you 10 times the storage capacity of the same dollar spent on tanks, but there is the question of water quality, plus the right sort of ground, gradient, and run- off capacity required for an investment in dam con- struction. Always consult an ex- pert before spending any money on dam construc- tion. Many a heart has broken by a dam that cost the earth, but which could not hold the water, because it was dug in the wrong place, or in the wrong sort of ground. A water for the farm and garden workshop will be held at my farm, in the Huon, on Sunday March 4. Details: paul francis hea- firstname.lastname@example.org Towbars great, but play it safe ask SOTA THREE-point Linkage (TPL) towbars are a common accessory on small tractors. The beauty of them is that you can utilise your existing box trailer to move material and large objects around the farm. TPL tow bars are also handy for moving cara- vans and boats into tight areas. A tractor affords the operator excellent vision and far tighter steering angles. Using a trailer is also a safer way to move material than using the tractor's front end loader. Often there is a temp- tation to overload the bucket and upset the weight distribution of the tractor. When Safe Working Loads (SWL) are pre- scribed to a loader they don't take into account the variables and the vagaries of farm roads, speed or braking. There are two types of TPL tow bars. The first is basically a bar that fits between the two bottom drawbars on the linkage. The better option is an 'A' type TPL tow bar and ball. The bar and ball between the lower link- age remains, but two diagonally opposing cross members are ad- ded to create a triangu- lar TPL headstock. Most tractors, in ad- dition to having a TPL, also have a lower tow point (also confusingly called a drawbar). These are solidly attached to the chassis of the tractor and are purposely placed low to the ground. These are the ideal point for towing heavy loads. The reason they are mounted so low to the ground is for safety. Tractor engines by de- sign are difficult to stall. It is very likely that a tractor could flip back- wards if the tow point was placed high. The positioning of this ''fixed'' tow point can vary from tractor to trac- tor. They are generally designed to pull purpose- built, towed implements. These implements have long draw bars, so they don't foul the rear wheels of the tractor during tight cornering. Vehicular trailers are not designed with this in mind. TPL tow balls have an advantage in that they are positioned well away from the rear wheels, as well as the dangerous area around the tractor's power take off. It does, however, pres- ent another critical con- trol point where there is danger. The TPL of most small tractors only oper- ates hydraulically one way; that is, hydraulic lift on the TPL. When you lower a TPL, a valve opens and the hydraulic fluid drains out of the rear lifting ram, lower- ing the linkage to the point you have cali- brated on your TPL pos- ition control level. This leaves you in a situation where there is hydraulic pressure pre- venting the linkage from lowering but only the weight of the linkage and the trailer prevent- ing it from going up. This is all fine and dandy until you factor in things like speed, bumps, slopes and other operational variables. There are steps you can take to minimise risk, the first being to keep the TPL tow bar low and be aware of its limitations --- adjust your speed accordingly. Ensure your brakes are working well and properly adjusted for even braking. Easy on the clutch; a tractor can flip surpr- isingly quickly.. Slow down the rate of lift/lower to your TPL. This is done with the tap under the seat of the tractor. If you happen to acci- dentally bump your draught/position con- trol lever, the movement will be retarded -- again minimising the risk of moving the weight of the load and unbalancing the tractor. New mill for small farms CUT ABOVE: The new Lucas 4-5. THIS MONTH, Lucas Mill will boost its range with a new portable saw mill ai- med at small farms. The company says its compact Model 4-6 circular swing blade model is also ideal for furniture makers, wood workers and owner- builders. The mill is capable of cutting 106mm in both the vertical and the horizontal planes and a length of up to 3.6m. It is powered by a 6hp Honda motor with manual start and like the bigger versions in the range, can be fitted with an optional slabbing attachment, planer and sander. Lucas Mills have been producing portable milling equipment in Australia for 18 years with 12,000 mills exported to more than 100 countries. Details: www.lucas- mill.com $39,950 SAVE $4,350 OFF RRP $19,950 SAVE $2,450 OFF RRP 7 PIECE PACKAGE INCLUDES FEBRUARY SPECIALS 7 Remanufactured KUBOTA L2201DT 4WD DIESEL 25HP 6 PIECE PACKAGE INCLUDES SWL 1200kgs - Best lift-per-dollar in Australia! NEW APOLLO 804 4WD DIESEL, SHUTTLE SHIFT 80HP R 6 N INC GST INC GST $120 per week! $194 per week!
January 26th 2012
February 9th 2012