After 35 years (Started 1984) of owning and operating my contracting business I have decided to call it a day and kick back.
Where it all began.
My first job was at Toorakina, Gulargambone. I started with a second hand JD 7720 combine with a 30' header which I purchased from Bird Farming Equipment.
I slept in a swag in my ute and worked that combine to it's max.
The next year I built my own chaser bin and ended up working the JD 7720 for four years, by then I was able to purchase a new JD7720 Titon II. I stayed with Bird Farming Equipment until 2000 when "Birdie" as we called him decided to sell the business.
From there I dealt with Agro Machinery, the company dissolved two years later so I purchased two new JD 9650's from Emmetts at Warracknabeel in Victoria. I developed a great relationship with Peter Emmett and Barclay Ag Services went from strength to strength. Peter allowed us to keep the trade which meant we could run four combines. So a long with four combines we were by this time running two Finch chaser bins with our own tractors.
Logistically it became two hard to source the combines from Victoria and into NSW so we started dealing with Chesterfield Australia and in part Hutcheon and Pearce.
Chesties became the company we dealt with most.
The harvest run by this time was starting in Queensland and extending to the Central West of NSW. Each combine was averaging over 6,000 acres and the run was over a 1,000 km's in sometimes just 6 weeks. The focus was not only doing a good job but being on time for the next job, so we had to work at every opportunity, be productive and not waste a moment of time.
We had our own caravan and the crew slept in the other two vans. The cooks had their own van and meals were supplied and washing was done and folded. A long haul from my 7720 days in the swag!
There have been good and bad seasons and like most businesses we have had to overcome some challenges. I know I have worked hard but I couldn't have done it without my family. The two boys Tim and Chris from a very young age were actively involved and later sacrificed time away from their own jobs to help on the harvest. After doing 12 months harvesting in the USA Chris returned to run half the team for us. His partner Rachel took the reins on the cooking and caring. The people in the dealerships, the mechaniccs, spare parts, all played such a big role in keeping the wheels turning. There was always someone on the end of that phone and there was always a cup of coffee in the dealership rooms!
A special thank you to all of those professional operators from all parts of the globe who gave us their best in a team effort and shared invaluable farming knowledge and forged lasting friendships.
There has been immense satisfaction from growing a business. I still have a passion for that green machinery but its time to give someone else a go!
When it comes to contract harvesting I reckon three words will sum it up. "Time is Money"!