Big Machinery for big jobs

The other day we were out and about on Koramba cotton farm when we noticed the huge Caterpillar D7 bulldozer that’s owned by Trent, one of the contractors currently living on the camp.

Last year in the floods a large chunk of cotton field situated closest to the river was nearly destroyed along with about $8,000,000 of cotton.  This was due to the river over flowing and flooding into about 6000 acres of land adjoining the cotton fields at a depth that caused the water to rise inches from the top of the levy banks around the fields. If the water had risen those few more inches millions would have been lost.

Fast work and maximum effort from the farmers managed to avoid this devastation by temporarily increasing the height of the levy banks with excavators and other machinery.

The water nearly reached the level of the Nissan.

The water nearly reached the level of the Nissan.

Now the time has come to eliminate this risk for any future flooding.

This is being done by clearing a strip of land close to the banks so that the temporary job that was made to heighten the levies can be strengthened and made more permanent. A road will be rebuilt on the top of the levies and another road built round the perimeter so that machinery such as laser buckets and excavators can access the area.

The first step in this large project is clearing the land and this is where Trent’s toy comes in. The D7 makes the clearing of the area easy. It’s a huge machine and fascinating to watch in action as it easily moves virtually anything in its path. In the 4 or so weeks Trent and his machine are on the farm they will have cleared about 20km around the perimeter of the levies.

Trent and Chris with the height of the banks behind them.

Trent and Chris with the height of the banks behind them.

All the land that was subject to the flooding has been completely cleared many years ago when the farm ran stock on this area and had some of it under cultivation. The trees now being removed have taken only a few years to grow.

Watching this operation once again bought home the magnitude of the commitment of time, money and resources to keep this farm producing and contributing in so many ways to this county’s economy.

 

After watching Trent in action we moved around to another field where another operation was in progress.

This time a cotton field was being re levelled to maximise the flow of irrigation water to the cotton rows.

Two other contractors, Scott and Ray, have their laser levelling machinery here in order to accomplish this. This consists of two huge Steiger tractors with laser controlled buckets.

Ray and Scott working the paddock to get the levels right for the water to run off.

Ray and Scott working the paddock to get the levels right for the water to run off.

A simplified explanation of how this works is that a laser is set up on a stand at a specified point in the field. Another laser is mounted on the earth moving buckets pulled by the Steigers. The contractors use stakes across the fields and plans as to the levels required to move the surface material around the field. Another 4 of these Steigers will join these two in the next few weeks to get the job done.

The Laser level in the middle of the paddock sends GPS and information to the tractors.

The Laser level in the middle of the paddock sends GPS and information to the tractors.

All the land looks flat but with these machines it is corrected to within 4cm.

All the land looks flat but with these machines it is corrected to within 4cm.

Back at the camp we seem to have gained a “hanger on”.

The big black dog “Bing” is a regular inhabitant of the camp. He’s always made his way to the mess room door at exactly the right time for breakfast and dinner every day where he knows the guys will feed him scraps and have a pat and a play.

Bing has been joined by one of his progeny, a puppy who is so like old Bing he has been given the name “Junior” by the guys on camp.

His real name is Keno, (intended to be a companion name to Bing – Bingo. Bingo and Keno), but the workers all call him Junior.

Junior spends most of his time, day and night, on the camp and lately a large portion of that time wrapped around my feet as I work in the annexe.

Keno (Junior) sleeps at Chris's feet while he works at the computer.

Keno (Junior) sleeps at Chris’s feet while he works at the computer.

 

Lately he’s worked out how to unzip the annexe at night and make his bed either in the basket of clothes to be washed or my chair.

He unzips the annex so he can sleep inside.

He unzips the annex so he can sleep inside.

I don’t know what sort of road kill or wild animal remains he’s been into but boy is he putrid today!

He will be just as big as Bing with those massive paws.

He will be just as big as Bing with those massive paws.

The farm is on a rare weekend off at the moment and most of the workers have taken the opportunity to get away. Some have gone to Brisbane and others to Moree. It means we can put breakfast on at 9:00am and have a precious sleep in.

Kerrie has taken the opportunity to drive in to Goondiwindi to do some shopping and just hang out around a different environment for a few hours while I’ve decided to stay on camp and try and catch up with some work. Strange how we have been together almost 24/7 in the caravan for the last 21 months and yet I still miss her when she’s not here.

The camp is so quiet – quieter even than normal – and it’s warm and peaceful with almost everyone gone and the sun shining in a flawless blue sky. The annexe is open out onto the bush at the back and scores of birds inhabit the trees and the fence running to the rear of the annexe. It’s all very conducive to creativity. I hope to get a lot done.