Saturday, June 28, 2008

Update from LAX

We are in the middle of a long layover in LAX as part of our Nuffield global focus tour. We are currently in the One World club lounge during a 8 hour wait for a connecting overnight flight to Hong Kong. This is a very nice lounge, much nicer than some we have used during our travels. The last 5 days have been spent in north and western Oklahoma. The usual comment that we have been getting is, why are you going there? Well we have been learning about all kinds of things, from dairy operations (yet again) to cheese making (somewhat related) to oil production and wind energy. The photo shows a fairly late wheat crop being harvested in the Oklahoma panhandle under quite threatening skies.

We have had very little rainfall back home, it looks like we have only had 0.8mm for the week.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

This week 20th June 2008

Sorry that I haven't posted for a while - we have been very busy on our Nuffield global focus tour. We are currently in NW Oklahoma, in beef and oil country. Our group is having a amazing time, we have been looking at all kinds of things including a very interesting visit to Oklahoma state university, where we talked to a cereal seed breeder and turf grass researchers (among others). We also had meetings with deans of most of the agriculture related departments of the university. Earlier in the week we spent some time in Maryland, this was a very interesting part of the world, we even got to spend an evening on an oyster skip jack with a real local character giving us a run down on some of the local seafood history. I haven't had a chance to organize any photos for this post, but I will make sure that I have some next time.
They have not had much rain at home in the last week, I believe that there has only been about 3mm (the Nuriootpa weather station has been offline for several days again this week).

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Delayed Flight

We are currently in Boston(USA) waiting for a delayed flight to Washington DC. So I thought I would write just a little about what we have been up to. We spent the last 3 days in France. While there we visited a number of small (by our standards) farms. It appears to us that these farms are only viable because of the EU subsidies that they receive (even though it is obviously very productive land). We also visited the Rungies international market early monday morning to see fruit, veggies, cheese and meat being traded there. They also trade seafood and flowers there, however they were not open on Monday. This was a very impressive visit with fruit and veg, that I have never seen before being traded. There are something like 25,000 trucks that pick up or deliver to this market every day. Last night we stayed in a really nice French country villa. The photo shows pigs ready for sale.

Monday, June 16, 2008

This week 13th June

Good news for the Barossa this week. We have recieved 15.8mm of rain, to keep our vineyard going. We are still well behind our average rainfall for the year, we have only had 95mm so far (our average up till the end of this month is 203mm). I am still hopeful that we will get the very wet winter that we really need.

I am currently in Chartres, France on the Nuffield global focus tour. We have been having an incredible time. Our group of 11 (8 Aussies, 2 Kiwi's and a token Canadian) are all feeling rather tired. We are having to cope with very early mornings and late nights as well as jet lag and long sessions visiting farms and listening to other presentations. I have learnt more about the world dairy industry in the last 2 weeks than I will probably ever be able to use. But it is not just dairy, we have been to pig, sheep, beef, cropping, poultry, thoroughbred horse and seafood farm operations and have had a chance to question the owners/managers of all of them (we have even been to some farms that I think they actually farm tractors, one Irish farm had more than 60). I do not have any photos to show this week, as I haven't had time to download them from my camera.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Touring NZ

We are in NZ at the moment. We will be leaving this fabulous country tomorrow afternoon to fly to Ireland via Hong Kong. We have been having an amazing time looking at all kinds of farms and talking to farmers and other people about farming. The first photo shows Ackaroa harbour on the Banks Peninsular. The second photo is of Mt. Hutt taken from near Methven.