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About IsaanAussie

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    Aussie Battler
  • Birthday 07/24/1952

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    Ban Hua Sua Sisaket

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  1. Compost and climate change

    The basics are simple. Matter is neither created nor destroyed, it is simply transformed. To maintain a "healthy" soil depends on sufficient resources to sustain the environment in balance. Chemical agriculture and mechanised farming practices are an easy way to move that balance point but not always sustainably in my opinion. There can be such a thing as too much of a good thing. I think we need to learn (or even relearn) how to gauge what is needed and when in our own micro environments. The big challenge for farmers is to avoid our modern passion for debt.
  2. This is a conversation to keep an eye on. My kind of stuff.
  3. Maize and Rotational Crops

    FJ, My main paddy totals 12 rai and the current pond about 40x20x4. Similar but a smaller scale to yours. So now you have peaked my interest. IA
  4. Maize and Rotational Crops

    SRI has long been a dream for me. Planting seeds would reduce the labour of transplanting. My "vision" would be to be able to siphon water (pump if I must) in and out of a series of ponds located in the paddies to provide the water level changes. After all the water is really for weed control and rice can grow without the flooding. Sisaket is one rainfed rice crop per year, either flooded or bone dry. The ponds would advance the rice season, grow fish and provide irrigation for other crops. Has always seemed to make sense to me.
  5. Maize and Rotational Crops

    Mostly paddies. Have seen rice planted on undulating land the same way but didnt see the results. Water being the issue obviously. With rice prices so low I doubt pumping water would help the cost basis. Your planter looks interesting though, transplanting doesnt appeal to me as the machines seem a bit delicate for the normal Thai operator. Of course the seed beds and trays are all additional. Direct seeding could well be the answer for my area where labour is scarce. Will watch this with great interest, albeit for use in paddies.
  6. Maize and Rotational Crops

    For what it is worth. Most around us in Sisaket will use roundup or equivalent to kill the weeds. Then broadcast HomMali seed by hand while walking in front of a tractor with a 4 disc plough which turns the seed in. Then pre-emergent and some post-emergent sprays. Critical is the timing of rain before seeding and afterwards.
  7. Pigs 101 (A Start)

    Trade wars looming for sure and the current US approach is unsettling. Both the Chinese dominated RCEP agreement and TPP (without the USA) will have growing influence on the local Thai Pig Market and Industry. Companies like CPF are players in most of the markets under those agreements (16 countries RCEP and 11 in TPP) with the 10 ASEAN nations included in both pacts as well as the ASEAN Economic development itself. But CPF and Thaifoods aren't profiting widely with both companies shares trading 30% lower than 12 months ago. Everyone is getting squeezed. CP has controlled prices in Thailand for years by decree but now it is more than just the local market supply and demand, it is at least regionally based. I would advise you to keep an eye on these globalising trade agreements as local prices will continue to be effected by them and by those outside those trading groups like the US. Most ASEAN feed relies heavily on imports of soy, corn and distillers grains from the USA. Last time I looked Thai cost of production was some 50% higher than the figures allowed by the US futures market. Same thing has happened to rubber and rice as globalisation takes hold and competition sources increase. What happens next if the shutters start going up and the USA tries to at least equalise it's trade balances with every nation that has a current advantage, who knows? As feed is the majority cost factor, that's where I would start. If you can get your production cost down to international expectations you will be OK. But reducing that by 50 to 60% is a huge challenge.
  8. Pigs 101 (A Start)

    You two guys are spot on, it is a cyclic market driven by mismatches between production and consumption figures. When there are more pigs than the market needs you must sell cheaply or not at all and so production falls. Conversely when there unfilled demand higher prices will be paid and production rises past the point of balance and so the dance continues. I doubt there is any conspiracy by the large payers against the small farms as we are of little if any significance. By example I am working in a factory that produces sliced bacon for the domestic Australian market. 700 ton per week. Yes 700,000 Kgs per week of bacon. The few pigs I produced per week was nothing, even the total all of us produce wouldn't keep one of those packing lines running for more than an hour or so. To survive the rough times there are only two things you can do in my view. Firstly work harder and produce as much as possible when prices are higher. Secondly look at the cost of feed and ways to reduce it always, in good times and bad. I have seen several friends exit recently and that is sad as like me they enjoyed working with their pigs. For those of you still going, hang tough guys.
  9. Will watch that project with interest. Good luck one engineer to another.
  10. Tough and shiny leaves take longer to break down but even banana leaves (full of anti-microbials) will decompose given a good mixture of materials. The answer for compost is C to N ratio, aeration, moisture content and the right microbes. In the case of mulch for the most "stubborn" stuff, try reducing the particle size and prewilting before application. A full banana leave is an umbrella not a mulch.
  11. Pigs 101 (A Start)

    Hi guys, I read a web report that stated..... Pig prices in Thailand edged higher in the second week of January 2018 to THB 45-50/kg (USD 1.36 – 1.52) live. It was THB 30-35/kg (USD 0.9 – 1.1) in December 2017. The price raise signals that an oversupply of live pigs is being fixed. It is estimated that the price would surpass the cost of production (about THB50/kg) in the second or third quarter of the year. My oh my, how are you still continuing? What is happening to feed prices these days?
  12. Sustainable living courses in Essan?

    Check Raitong Farm in Sisaket.
  13. small Farming with bokashi

    Hi Michel, I have used EM for many years as have a number of expat gardeners and farmers living in Thailand. There is a lot of information in this thread and in the organic sub-thread. The secret to farming without chemicals is to work on feeding the soil building up organic matter and the biology so it can then feed your vegetables and plants. To do that you need enough biomass to produce composted organic matter to support the biology in the soil. So my advice is to have a think about what organic matter you can get hold of and in what volumes. It will need to be a substantial amount. The balance between carbon and nitrogen that you start with a C::N ratio of around 30 to 40 times the carbon to nitrogen. Your target should be working towards 10% organic matter in the soil. EM and local microbes will thrive if you can get to even part of that level. The microbes will then provide plant available nutrients to the plants and the plants will supply sugars to feed the microbes in return.
  14. Pigs 101 (A Start)

    Can I suggest you put a fence across one corner of your nursery pens forming a triangular creep. The bottom rail being high enough for the piglets to walk under and put their feed bowl in there. The sow will not be able to get at it and the piglets will have somewhere to sleep away from the sow.
  15. Insect Control

    I agree with Cooked's suggestion to look at renovating that part of the school building you spend your night hours in. At least making it more insect proof.