It’s easy for the ‘smaller guys and girls’ to get overlooked, but Adelaide Hills & Fleurieu Farm Services is changing things for small acreage farming in South Australia.
A cow, a handful of chickens or a large rural enterprise — it all counts as farming to this dynamic duo — and they’re on hand to support you in planning, maintaining and operating properties of all sizes across the Adelaide Hills and Fleurieu Peninsula.
As seasoned farmers, Belle Baker and Patrick O’Driscoll (‘Pods’) are the team to call for expertise or an extra pair of hands — whether that’s for help setting up fences, caring for livestock, preparing for bushfires, general maintenance or looking after things while you take a break.
Their goal is to make the intricacies of animal and land management simple and enjoyable, so that your property flourishes. They’re the definition of putting your heart and soul into farming, and a chat with Belle left us feeling inspired.
“We started with small acreage because there was a gap in the market. Nobody seemed to be focused on lifestyle and hobby farmers, because it’s a numbers game. But our passion is agriculture of any size, so we kicked off in 2020 with a couple of employees, focussing on fencing and livestock support. Pods is also a licensed spray contractor, and we saw a need to support smaller properties with spraying,” Belle explains.
In addition to conventional spraying methods, their offerings are set to expand, with the team now licensed and taking bookings from early 2024 for spraying, seeding or fertilising using drones.
“Particularly in The Hills and Fleurieu, the weather can make it tricky to get onto smaller properties (that may not have easy access to paddocks, or where access is restricted because the ground isn’t dry enough) to spray at the right time. A lot of contractors will only go to larger properties, and that’s where we come in. We’ll work out the most efficient and effective way to get the job done, whether that’s using a tractor and linkage sprayer, ute mounted boom, spot spraying or using a drone.”
In what’s already been done on the eastern seaboard, Adelaide Hills & Fleurieu Farm Services is excited to be one of the first contractors bringing this type of service to South Australia in 2024. “We’re excited to be ahead of the curve — it’s amazing how much technology is changing farming and the possibilities.”
Empowering all kinds of farmers
Belle and Pods are also dead set on upskilling everyone on the land. “There are many reasons hobby farmers talk to us. Sometimes it’s because they’re continuing to work other jobs, or there may be only one person on the property, or someone may become unable to do the physical work or passes earlier. Generally speaking, it’s often a woman on the property alone, and we want to make sure she has the skills and confidence to drive a tractor, feed animals or protect the property from a bushfire, so we’ve started running hands-on workshops,” Belle explains.
Pods and Belle’s 80-acre property at Currency Creek is made for things like their recent ‘Tractoring for Women’ day. “The goal of this event was to get six women in tractors and give them the confidence to be able to go home and use them safely. We started with theory, getting them familiar with the functions, fuel and oil and hydraulics, so they can understand the machine. Then we covered safety and connecting implements, which can be dangerous if you don’t know what you’re doing.
“We had 10 tractors on the day — one for each participant (like what they have a home, so it all correlates), plus others to show them different capabilities. Our goal is also to upskill these women so they can contribute to purchasing decisions for their farming equipment, which can be a big expense.”
“Another plus side of training like this is that having a partner teach you to use machinery can really test a relationship,” Belle laughs. “And with labour shortages across Australia, we’re upskilling families to work on their own properties and support each other.”
Other training days run by the duo include their Fencing Demo Days, which focus on upskilling other fencing contractors across the region, as well as a day dedicated to DIYers, who leave empowered to tackle their fencing safely and using quality materials.
There’s so much on the cards for Adelaide Hills & Fleurieu Farm Services — keep your eyes peeled as things continue to grow for this humble and industrious team.
Learn more at adelaidehillsfarmservices.com.au