Farm Guide VIC : 2014-15
Recycling 71 Are you sitting on some cash? There is a section of almost every farm ‘home’ paddock in Australia given over to the hoarding and stockpiling of machinery and rusty fencing wire that ‘one day - might come in handy’. Invariably there may be the odd plow disc or bolt or length of fencing wire that indeed does come in handy, but the majority of this pile of old iron just rots away. It takes time -maybe more than one hundred years - but it will eventually return to the earth from where it originated. This conundrum recently had some light shed on it and in particular the question “why do farmers stockpile junk in their own scrap metal graveyards?”. The response came from a third generation farmer who had witnessed the stockpiling of redundant machinery and junk by his grandfather and father over the course of eighty years. “It is because they remember what a particular item cost when new and the thrill they had at that time to be working with a new bit of gear. They have trouble getting rid of it. The fact that an old plow has not fired a shot since 1953 is not the issue. It may come in handy for parts - but in reality never will. Every joint is now so badly rusted that it is frozen in time. But it is history to them and they hate to get rid of it.” According to our young farmer, it is generally the third generation of a farming family which starts getting rid of useless stuff. Well - them and their wives, who these days worry about junk laying about the farm as well as any additional cash that can be found. The disadvantages of this strange practice however, do not stop there. Lots of properties often have sheds full of scrap iron and machines that go back for many decades, to a point where the building holding them has collapsed over the hoard as well. Not only is there a stockpile of iron that could in fact be turned into cash -but some real estate that could also be returned to the property for other uses.