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March 2020 16-page feature

Cropping and Tillage

Recent rain lifts 2020 crop hopes SEE PAGE 23

When horse power meant horses PAGE 26

New farm systems require soil tests PAGE 30

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PAGE 22—’Cropping and Tillage’, March, 2020

cropping & tillage

Business skills boost iverine Plains will host two farm R business skills workshops for young NSW farmers later this month.

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Riverine Plains project and finance officer Kate Coffey said the workshops were part of a series of events aimed to improve the access of young farmers to better understand business and agronomic information in the Riverine Plains region. ‘‘In many family farming partnerships the younger generation are taking on greater roles within the farming business, although they may not have as much practical experience in the financial management side of things,’’ Mrs Coffey said. ‘‘Financial literacy is a really important part of successful farm businesses, so these workshops will help participants better understand what goes into preparing the key financial documents of a business, as well as legislation and regulation requirements.’’

The workshops will cover farm business principles, including paddock records and understanding financial statements, as well as how financial management can be made more efficient. ‘‘The workshops will also involve a runthrough of different software options for recording financial and agronomic information,’’ Mrs Coffey said. The workshops will be held on: ➤ Thursday, March 19 from 1 pm to 5 pm at the Riverine Plains office, Melbourne St, Mulwala. ➤ Thursday, March 26 from 10.30 am to 4.30 pm at the Balldale Recreation Reserve. The workshops are free and NSW farmers aged 18 to 40 are invited to attend. ➤ For more information, or to register, phone Kate Coffey on 5744 1713 or email: kate@riverineplains.org.au

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CSIRO researcher Steve Henry (left) performing a mouse monitoring exercise in South Australia with National Mouse Group chair Ian Hastings of Ouyen, Victoria.

Mouse threat at crop sowing

outhern region grain growers have S been warned about the potential for mouse damage at sowing of this year’s

winter crops. Recent monitoring and trapping efforts detected high rates of pregnancy in females — adding to concerns about the risk of crop damage at sowing. Those concerns were raised at the latest meeting of the National Mouse Group, a Grains Research and Development Corporation investment. The NMG is comprised of researchers, advisers, growers and other industry stakeholders to co-ordinate actions to counter mouse plagues. CSIRO mouse researcher Steve Henry said the combination of an abundance of grain remaining in paddocks and good rainfall were leading to ideal conditions for mouse breeding, and growers in some areas were already reporting increased activity. ‘‘Parts of the Victorian Wimmera, Mallee, South Australia’s Lower Eyre and Yorke Peninsulas incurred significant head loss in November 2019, when severe winds struck,’’ Mr Henry said. ‘‘Such a large amount of grain on the ground combined with reasonably heavy rainfall over recent weeks could lead to a rapid increase in mouse populations ahead of sowing.’’

Mr Henry said large quantities of grain on the surface of paddocks could reduce the chance of mice finding toxic bait, while providing an ongoing food source. ‘‘If strong winds have resulted in two tonnes/hectare of grain on the ground in some areas, that equates to up around 4000 grains per square metre,’’ he said. ‘‘The challenge for growers is to reduce the food load for mice in stubbles. ‘‘Putting sheep on stubbles and strategic cultivation (burying grain) will assist with food reduction, and growers should spray out any summer germinations. ‘‘Seeding with knife points assists in burying residual seed — enhancing bait uptake.’’ Mr Henry emphasised the importance of the timing of bait applications. ‘‘It is critical that growers bait six weeks out from seeding if mouse numbers are reasonably high, and then follow up with another bait application off the back of the seeder if numbers are still high at sowing. ‘‘A six-week break between applications avoids the risk of bait aversion.’’ ➤ Growers are urged to report and map mouse activity — presence and absence — using MouseAlert so other growers can see what activity is being observed in their neighbourhood and via Twitter using @MouseAlert.


’Cropping and Tillage’, March, 2020—PAGE 23

cropping & tillage

Confidence lifts after good rain By Rodney Woods onfidence is a rare word used by C farmers in the current climate, but cropping farmers are quietly confident after significant downpours drenched the region recently.

Areas near Shepparton, Benalla and Yarrawonga recorded between 50 and 70 mm, according to IK Caldwell Shepparton agronomist Tom Harding. Mr Harding said the soil moisture profile was a blessing after two years of well-below average rainfall years. ‘‘The grounds have been dry, dusty and hard so this moisture is giving us lots of confidence going into the season,’’ he said. With the recent falls being ‘‘perfect timing’’, Mr Harding said

Chris Dunn he would like to see more rain at the start of May. ‘‘If we could book it in, it would be on the first of May so it falls on top of the canola and others like

David Daws hay crops or pasture. ‘‘Saying that, we will take it when it comes.’’ Nutrien Ag Solutions Elmore agronomist Chris Dunn said the

Tom Harding extra soil moisture helped with the confidence building in the industry. ‘‘It only just makes the confidence that you’ll be able to

bring grain right through harvest,’’ he said. ‘‘It will be the difference between cutting it for hay or getting it through and you don’t have your backs against the wall.’’ Over the border, NSW farmers are saying the rainfall is the equivalent of a pre-irrigation. ‘‘A lot of farmers recorded 150 mm, which is a really good start,’’ Nutrien Ag Solutions Shepparton branch manager David Daws, who covers the southern Riverina, said. ‘‘It’s huge to them (irrigators on zero allocation) because they can put in a crop with some confidence,’’ he said. ‘‘Even if they have a below average year, they’ll still have something.’’

Maximise fertiliser value ith many farm budgets W looking tight following the run of desperately dry

seasonal conditions, grain growers will be anxious to maximise the value of fertiliser expenditure this winter. As one of the largest single variable costs for farming operations, it’s important that fertiliser programs are well planned in terms of requirement, product and placement to ensure they deliver dividends in crop yield and grain quality. Incitec Pivot Fertilisers agronomist Bede O’Mara said the most effective strategy started with segmented soil testing to quantify the reserve of carry-over and mineralised nitrogen and its position in the soil profile. ‘‘It’s important to understand where you are in terms of nitrogen availability because even though generally it’s been very dry, it is possible that some mineralisation has occurred in areas that have seen small falls,’’ Mr O’Mara said. The mineralisation process converts nitrogen to plantavailable forms and is driven by soil temperature, moisture and levels of organic matter. Mineralisation generally occurs slowly during drought and increases strongly once it rains. ‘‘Testing will be especially important in the zero to 10 cm and 10 to 30 cm bands as that’s

where most of the mineralisation will have occurred with sporadic falls of rain,’’ Mr O’Mara said. ‘‘However, nitrogen could also be sitting deeper in the soil profile — depending on the amount and intensity of falls, previous fertiliser applications or soil nitrogen could have moved to the 30 to 60 or 90 cm profile depths, particularly if the soil was cracked and open prior to the rain. ‘‘Basically, soil testing can remove the guesswork in terms of nitrogen requirements and the risk of unnecessary expenditure. ‘‘If necessary, that spend can then be directed to other ameliorants, such as gypsum or lime, or other nutrients, such as phosphorus, zinc and potassium, which may be limiting given the dry season and potentially low levels of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi.’’ Previously known as vesicular arbuscular mycorrhizal or VAM fungi, AMF could be low on longfallow country, which may affect a crop’s ability to access nutrients, such as phosphorus and zinc. AMF populations can suffer from a lack of host plant roots during long, clean fallow periods or drought, with severe reductions showing up as a syndrome known as long fallow disorder — the failure of crops to

thrive despite adequate moisture. As crops vary in their ability to grow without the AMF fungi, crop selection is an important part of helping address low AMF situations. Some crops, such as winter cereals, can grow in paddocks that are low in AMF while boosting AMF levels for the next crop. By comparison, crops, such as linseed, sunflower, mungbean, chickpea, maize and sorghum all have more than 50 per cent dependency on AMF and therefore yield may be compromised in paddocks where low AMF is an issue. AMF levels can be assessed using PREDICTA B testing, allowing growers to identify atrisk paddocks and if necessary, alter rotations to a crop less dependent on AMF and/or attempt to ameliorate paddocks with additional nutritional inputs, such as phosphorus and zinc. ‘‘At the end of the day, soil testing allows growers to make site specific objective judgements on the right treatment for each paddock and gives them the best chance to grow a productive and profitable crop,’’ Mr O’Mara said.

Incitec Pivot Fertilisers agronomist Bede O’Mara and grower Paul McNulty. Mr O’Mara says it’s important to consider soil testing when determining this year’s fertiliser strategy.


PAGE 24—’Cropping and Tillage’, March, 2020

cropping & tillage

Data to help plan new season mportant new data has been Igrain released to inform southern region growers’ crop variety choices

GRDC’s National Variety Trials southern manager Rob Wheeler says harvest of the 2019 winter crop variety trials is now complete with the data from the trials being used to inform grower decisions in 2020. Picture: GRDC

for the 2020 season. Harvesting of the extensive winter crop variety trials conducted through the Grains Research and Development Corporation’s National Variety Trials program is complete and data from those trials is now available to growers and advisers. GRDC National Variety Trials southern manager Rob Wheeler said single site results from successful trials in 2019 have been finalised and this data has been fed into multi-year, multienvironment trial variety performance analysis. ‘‘These multi-year, rolling data sets for all crops and growing regions will provide growers with the most valuable information to support their decision making around what to sow this year,’’ Mr Wheeler said. ‘‘Long-term MET results are the most

accurate and reliable means of interpreting variety performance across sites and years, rather than results from a single year.’’ Growers and advisers are encouraged to base their variety decisions on not just yield results but also market receival quality data. ‘‘Simply focusing on yield does not provide growers with a reliable indication of which varieties may potentially offer the best returns — the quality of the grain harvested is also an important factor,’’ Mr Wheeler said. Season 2019 was a somewhat variable one across the southern cropping region and these conditions were reflected in the NVT program. ‘‘The trials program in 2019 was generally a successful one, with a small percentage of trials compromised by frost and shattering due to strong winds, particularly just ahead of harvest in November,’’ Mr Wheeler said. ‘‘Data from those compromised trials

is presented in a ‘quarantined’ report on NVT online. ‘‘This report provides growers with a transparent account of the fate of unreleased but not abandoned NVT trials, however, the data is of no value for the purposes of head-to-head variety comparison and should not be used for any variety selection decisions.’’ Meanwhile, planning for the NVT program for 2020 is well under way, with the number of trials across the nation expected to be around 650. ➤ To support growers and advisers, the GRDC has produced instructional videos on How to interpret NVT data (long-term yield results) using the NVT website and How to navigate NVT’s website. The videos can be viewed at: https://bit.ly/ 3cLoCHq ➤ Results and analysis from the 224 trials harvested in 2019 across South Australia, Victoria and Tasmania can be viewed at: www.nvtonline.com.au

Summer crops down 60 per cent igher than expected barley H and canola production in Australia is estimated to have

offset lower-than-expected wheat production during winter, but the nation’s summer crop production is expected to decrease by more than 60 per cent. That is according to the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences latest crop report, which said summer crop production was expected to fall by 66 per cent to 878 000 tonnes. In terms of the winter crop harvest, Australian winter crop production is estimated to have decreased by five per cent in 2019-20 to just under 29 million tonnes, with wheat production estimated to have fallen by 12 per cent to 15.2 million tonnes. Barley production is forecast to increase by seven per cent to 8.9 million tonnes and canola production is also on track to increase by seven per cent to 2.3 million tonnes. Winter crop production in Victoria is forecast to almost double in 2019-20 to about 7.4 million tonnes, which is 16 per cent above the 10-year average to 2018-19. Production in most cropping regions outside of the northern Mallee and north-eastern parts of

the Victorian cropping region were boosted by timely and sufficient rainfall, with production in the southern Mallee, Wimmera and Western Districts estimated to be well above average. Planted area is estimated to have increased by seven per cent, after fewer crops intended for grains and oilseeds production were cut for hay compared to last year. Winter crop production in NSW is estimated to have increased by 16 per cent to about 3.3 million tonnes in 2019-20. Despite the increase, this is 68 per cent below the 10-year average to 2018-19. Area planted to winter crops in NSW was 44 per cent below the 10-year average to 2018-19 reflecting unfavourable seasonal conditions and a significant area intended for grain and oilseed production being cut for hay as seasonal conditions deteriorated. ABARES acting executive director Peter Gooday said this year’s summer cropping season was a trying time for many growers, especially those in NSW and Queensland. ‘‘Summer crop prospects were adversely affected by unfavourable seasonal conditions in December that further depleted soil-moisture levels to well below average in most summer cropping

regions and to record lows in some others,’’ Mr Gooday said. ‘‘With the planting of summer crops in Queensland and northern NSW now largely complete, we expect planted area and production to be lower than our forecasts of December 2019. ‘‘This largely reflects seasonal conditions in December that were more unfavourable than expected.’’ Cotton production is forecast to fall by 72 per cent to about 135 000 tonnes of lint and 191 000 tonnes of seed, while grain sorghum production is expected to be down by 77 per cent to about 292 000 tonnes. Rice production will remain low, about 54 000 tonnes, because of low water allocations and high water prices. The dramatic falls in production correlate with the reduction in plantings during the summer cropping period. Area planted to grain sorghum is estimated to have decreased by 71 per cent in 2019-20 to 143 000 ha, while the area planted to cotton is forecast to fall by 82 per cent to 61 000 ha — the lowest cotton planting since 1978-79. ➤ To read the full report, visit: www.agriculture.gov.au/abares/ research-topics/agriculturalcommodities/australian-crop-report

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’Cropping and Tillage’, March, 2020—PAGE 25

cropping & tillage

O’Connors is triumphant again ase IH dealer O’Connors has C once again claimed the title of Case IH Dealer of the Year for

dealers with three branches or more, presented at an awards ceremony in Tasmania last month. It’s the fourth year in a row O’Connors has claimed the top award, topping off a big 12 months for the company, which saw it undergo significant expansion of its dealer network last year. Started in Birchip in 1964, the business is now the largest dealer in the Case IH network, with branches in Birchip, Warracknabeal, Horsham and Shepparton in Victoria; Corowa, Forbes, West Wyalong, Grenfell and Condobolin in NSW; and Bordertown in South Australia. It now employs more than 200 staff across its 10 dealerships. O’Connors chief executive officer Gareth Webb said the award was recognition of the hard work of all their staff and the commitment to their customers. ‘‘Last year was a massive year for us, taking on an additional four outlets, and to make it happen we needed so much from our executive team and they delivered and we can’t thank them enough,’’ Mr Webb said. ‘‘Our dealership staff really stepped up and taking home this award again proves all that work, commitment and long hours was worth it and we couldn’t be more thrilled.’’ Case IH’s Australia/New

Case IH’s Australia/New Zealand general manager Pete McCann, O’Connors group sales development manager Tom Sheridan, O’Connors group operation manager Rowan Bennett, O’Connors HR and marketing manager Lisa Day, O’Connors chief executive officer Gareth Webb, O’Connors chief financial officer Michael McGough, central west manager Daniel Speed, O’Connors group sales operations manager David Hair and Case IH managing director of agriculture for Australia and New Zealand Brandon Stannett at the presentation of the Case IH Dealer of the Year Awards in Hobart. Zealand general manager Pete McCann said the award was welldeserved and congratulated the whole O’Connors team. ‘‘To win this title four years running says a great deal about

this business and the team they’ve assembled across all their dealership locations,’’ Mr McCann said. ‘‘To win this award a dealership has to prove its excellence across

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PAGE 26—’Cropping and Tillage’, March, 2020

cropping & tillage

step back in time

Above: Tatura tiller (front), Tatura spring-tined cultivator and Tatura seeder working on permanent beds. Right: J.W. Carr sowing mixed pastures at Katunga on March 29, 1950. The Empire Combined Harvester was made by Peter B. Richards and was the first machine to strip, thrash and winnow grain crops.

Below: George Wall bagging grain at Gowangardie in the pre-1950s.

Bill Thompson Snr with a three-horse team sowing grain, circa 1930s.

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’Cropping and Tillage’, March, 2020—PAGE 27

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Australia for our unique conditions,’’ Mr Caffery said. ‘‘Built with efficiency and spraying performance in mind with exceptional power-to-weight ratios, industry-leading boom ride, unmatched fuel efficiency and the latest spraying technology. ‘‘Australian spraying practices vary substantially from that of the United States and Europe with higher spraying speeds, lower water rates and generally harsher weather conditions.’’ Goldacres has developed its sprayer range to operate at maximum efficiency and reliability primarily for these conditions, and

Goldacres’ flagship trailing sprayer model, the Prairie Pro, is built on the following philosophy — to build the best sprayer, you have to start with a solid platform. The Prairie Pro design incorporates many elements from the transport and earth-moving industries to ensure maximum strength, longevity and performance. Features such as fully bushed pivot points, air-ride suspension components and dampeners, to the best corrosion-proof painting systems. ‘‘Fully welded-in rotating positional jigs ensure accuracy,

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PAGE 28—’Cropping and Tillage’, March, 2020

cropping & tillage

Update shows the way forward he Victorian grains industry T is well-equipped with the latest research findings, new

knowledge and critical advice to guide growers through the 2020 cropping season and into the future, after attending the Bendigo Grains Research and Development Corporation Grains Research Update. The Bendigo Update, attended by 280 people, played an important role in informing advisers and growers for the coming season, according to GRDC southern grower relations manager Courtney Ramsey. ‘‘New outcomes and findings from GRDC investments in research, development and extension will inform Victorian growers’ decision-making — not only over the coming production year but well beyond,’’ Ms Ramsey said. ‘‘The GRDC Grains Research Update in Bendigo — attended by a mix of forward-thinking advisers, growers and key industry representatives — also provided a crucial opportunity for networking, sharing and debating ideas, access to researchers and the chance to provide feedback to inform future grains research investment.’’ The Bendigo update featured leading United Kingdom agricultural consultant Keith Norman, who spoke about the realities of producing grain in a highly regulated environment, as well as expert speakers from

Craig Altmann, from AGF Seeds in Smeaton, and GRDC southern grower relations manager Courtney Ramsey at the recent Bendigo Grains Research and Development Corporation Grains Research Update. Picture: GRDC across the nation who discussed future industry challenges and opportunities, along with more immediate, regional agronomic and tactical approaches — underpinned by outcomes from rigorous scientific research. Key messages delivered to growers and advisers attending

the event included: ➤ Plant breeding and genetics have a vital part to play in the sustainability of crop production. ➤ A clear opportunity exists for grains, particularly whole cereal grains and legumes, to be featured in plant-based meat substitutes. ➤ A whole-of-industry approach

is required to defend and maintain Australia’s barley markets. ➤ In coming decades, it is likely that yield gains will need to double to enable growers to maintain profit levels. ➤ The increasing interest in harvest weed seed control systems (HWSC) continues to drive the development of new and improved HWSC systems. ➤ New pre-emergent herbicides are becoming available, however, it is vital that these are used appropriately to get the best results. ➤ Higher crop seeding rates appear to consistently improve the suppression of annual rye-grass and brome grass, especially in later sown crops. ➤ A pasture phase can deliver substantial and lasting nutritional benefits well into a subsequent cropping phase, as well as providing the opportunity to drive weed seed banks to low levels. ➤ In many cases, soil sampling intensity should be increased to sample multiple zones in a paddock as soil phosphorous and nitrogen status are highly variable across and within paddocks. ➤ Strategic one-off incorporation of lime is the fastest way to ameliorate highly acidic soil layers, especially at depth. ➤ A thorough testing program is recommended to diagnose soil constraints to depth before undertaking any amelioration practices. ➤ A number of simple farm

practice changes can be made to maximise establishment of canola and lentil crops. ➤ Prior to sowing, use the BlacklegCM canola disease management decision support tool to identify high-risk paddocks and explore management strategies to reduce yield loss. ➤ A new national pulse disease rating system has been implemented to ensure a consistent and independent disease rating system for pulses. ➤ Recent reports of fungicide resistance in cereal pathogens highlight the importance of avoiding fungicide use that increases the likelihood of resistance development. ➤ Insecticide-resistance management needs to have a foundation in long-term planning rather than short-term decision making to achieve sustainability benefits. ➤ To minimise snail bait degradation, avoid baiting in significant rainfall or high temperatures and store bait in cool conditions. ➤ Multiple earwig species have been detected in grain crops, most of which are not associated with crop damage — it is therefore important to correctly identify which species is present in a paddock before taking any action. ➤ For more information on the update, visit: https://grdc.com.au/ resources-and-publications/grdcupdate-papers

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’Cropping and Tillage’, March, 2020—PAGE 29

cropping & tillage

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Tim Gaffy (front) and his team show off the machinery they have available for hire.

Taking care of business

lean and well-maintained machinery C is the key to Mooroopna business Gaffy’s Tractor Hire’s success.

A family owned and operated business that has been serving the Goulburn Valley and beyond for more than 17 years, Gaffy’s Tractor Hire continues to be passionate about providing a wide range of tractors and farm machinery. ‘‘We spend a lot of our time making sure the tractors and machines have been thoroughly checked over, inside and out, before they go on to our customers,’’ director Tim Gaffy said.

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‘‘We pride ourselves on the repeat business we receive from our loyal customers.’’ Recently, the team has welcomed fulltime mechanic Dylan Prentice, who has a background in agricultural machinery and brings with him extensive experience from around the Goulburn Valley. But that expertise has not been needed as much as Mr Gaffy would like, due to a lack of summer cropping because of the cost of irrigation water. ‘‘However, the recent rain event has boosted confidence in winter cropping.’’

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PAGE 30—’Cropping and Tillage’, March, 2020

cropping & tillage

Vital to check nutrients rowers altering their farming G systems are changing the balance of soils, according to a recent analysis of

nutrient removal. Incitec Pivot Fertilisers agronomist Lee Menhenett co-ordinated a program of grain and leaf tissue testing from 27 commercial crops in the Mallee and Riverine Plains over summer. The program found switching from a grain harvest to a hay cut could increase potassium removal, with about three times as much potassium removed from a tonne of wheat hay than from a tonne of grain in the tested crops. Mr Menhenett said if the straw was taken after harvesting wheat or barley grains, potassium removal could double from the paddock. ‘‘Given that most growers are not applying potassium in their fertiliser programs, there is a need to at least monitor potassium availability where hay or straw cutting is happening more often.’’ He said growers could monitor the availability of potassium to crops by leaf tissue testing during crop growth or soil testing. ‘‘Another nutrient not often applied in fertilisers and being removed in considerable amounts from grain harvests is copper.’’ Based on the grain testing, 20 to 30 g/ha of copper is potentially being removed annually from grain crops. Mr Menhenett suggested growers consider applying copper fertiliser in test strips, to assess the response to the micronutrient in crops. ‘‘The overall theme from the results was the high level of variation in nutrient removal between and within crop types,’’ he said.

Make sure machinery is ready ’Connors Shepparton has seen an O increase in early orders for machinery parts due to the region’s

Lee Menhenett from Incitec Pivot Fertilisers is encouraging growers to arrange their own grain and tissue testing after harvest, to keep an eye on nutrient loss. ‘‘One key point to note is that grain growers who are using a phosphorus replacement strategy based on a rule of thumb removal rate are at risk of overestimating or under-estimating their phosphorus requirements by a fair margin, because the variation in removal is actually quite high.’’ Depending on the yield, the overall phosphorus removal per hectare was

between six and 13 kg/ha. Mr Menhenett said growers who will use a nutrient replacement strategy to guide phosphorus decisions should arrange their own grain testing from areas of known and stable yields. He said monitoring removal from grain and hay cuts could be arranged through the Nutrient Advantage laboratory.

recent rainfall. ‘‘Following the rain events, this year we have seen an earlier rush on parts compared to previous years and expect it to stay strong into the sowing season as growers continue to prepare themselves,’’ O’Connors Shepparton machinery sales team member Tom Hunt said. ‘‘Over the past week we have been conducting new machine start-ups, which has given us some insight into how different soils have reacted to good rain. ‘‘Every farm has been different and getting the right set-up for the paddock you’re sowing is essential to ensure good seed-to-soil contact and germination occurs.’’ Mr Hunt urged farmers to check their machinery works well in advance of needing it. ‘‘The biggest take home point I would have is not to leave it to the last minute to pull the seeder out of the shed. ‘‘Be prepared so that you can take full advantage of opportunities that present themselves and get the crop in the ground in a timely manner with little interruption.’’ ➤ For more information on the parts, service or machinery O’Connors offers, call the Shepparton office on 5821 4555.

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’Cropping and Tillage’, March, 2020—PAGE 31

cropping

P

ractical workshops addressing early season canola pest management have helped bolster industry’s uptake of integrated pest management principles and improve the effectiveness of control strategies.

A survey of participants who attended a series of workshops about pests in establishing canola crops found 99 per cent now use or intend to incorporate integrated pest management practices into their farming systems. An investment of the Grains Research and Development Corporation — with assistance from FarmLink, Australian Oilseeds Federation, NSW DPI and Local Land Services — the workshops equipped participants with practical tips on identifying, monitoring and controlling early season pests to maximise crop establishment. ‘‘For years we’ve been trying to move away from the practice of applying ‘insurance sprays’, whereby a pesticide is applied at the same time as a herbicide spray whether it’s required or not, because it destroys the natural enemies that are resident in paddocks,’’ Bowden Rural Services principal agronomist and lead workshop presenter Phil Bowden said. ‘‘Successful pest management in canola relies on accurate identification of both the pests and the beneficial insects, an understanding of their behaviour and roles, and a comprehension of the objective and likely impact of chemical control methods.’’ Mr Bowden said growers should assess potential pest issues prior to planting by considering paddock history and the propensity of certain crops and stubble loads to encourage pest incidence, and then develop an appropriate multi-pronged management strategy. ‘‘The aim is to have as few surprises as possible to maximise crop establishment and growth,’’ he said. ‘‘Insect pests can be a significant issue in new canola crops. ‘‘Canola has a tiny seedling which can be difficult to get out of the ground and so it becomes a target for a range of damaging pests such as mites, wireworms/false wireworms, slugs, cutworms and earwigs. ‘‘We are now seeing crops targeted by pests that we’ve never seen before in canola, largely due to the increased stubble loads retained in modern farming systems. ‘‘So it’s important that we adopt an IPM approach to ensure our control methods are effective, sustainable and maximise the productivity and profitability of our canola crops and broader farming systems.’’ ➤ For more information, watch the new GRDC video Five easy methods for monitoring insects in early season canola at: https://bit.ly/2xpjTLv

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PAGE 32—’Cropping and Tillage’, March, 2020

cropping & tillage

Tractor and technology collide griculture dealership A O’Connors will be the place to be later this year as it

becomes the home of CASE IH’s new AFS Connect Magnum tractor. The tractor, which has been generating a buzz since it was previewed at NSW’s 2019 AgQuip, offers a range of operational and styling changes that build on the Magnum’s solid reputation for endurance, power and performance. Described as a ‘‘true integration of tractor and technology’’, the AFS Connect Magnum features a new display, operating system and receiver, and redesigned cab, according to O’Connors group sales development manager Tom Sheridan. ‘‘This new Magnum will bring levels of connectivity farmers haven’t had before, providing new opportunities when it comes to running their business,’’ Mr Sheridan said. ‘‘This connectivity also means additional support features to minimise down-time and the ability to make decisions on the tractor’s operation from wherever you like.’’ The AFS Connect portal is the door to the AFS Connect Magnum series tractor, allowing operators to view field operations, fleet information and agronomic data from a desktop or tablet anywhere, while also giving the option of sharing data with trusted

CASE IH’s newest tractor will be available in Australia later this year.

advisers and suppliers. ‘‘Remote features really set this tractor apart, with remote display viewing allowing a farm manager or dealer to see what an operator is seeing on the display in the cab, and a remote service tool allowing dealers to remotely identify

maintenance and service needs,’’ Mr Sheridan said. The machine has been used in field tests in a variety of conditions and across different farming practices, confirming its capacity to perform at the highest level in Australia’s diverse and demanding

conditions. ‘‘Performance in the paddock has always stood the Magnum apart here and overseas,’’ Mr Sheridan said. ‘‘Based on these local field tests, we’re confident this will continue and we’re looking

forward to sharing the technology with our customers.’’ The AFS Connect Magnum will be available in the latter part of this year. ➤ For more information, or to speak to your local dealership, visit: www.oconnors.com.au

Moving bulk commodity and need to know your weight? Speak to Country Scale & Equipment Shepparton, your regional supplier of quality engineered and Australian manufactured METTLER TOLEDO weighbridges. Servicing regional Victoria and southern New South Wales, our team is quali!ed to supply and install new weighbridges of varying sizes to meet your needs… from 10 m axle weighers right up to 40m Road-Train capable weighbridges. We also have years of experience in repairing and servicing existing weighbridges of all types. Our fully !tted out test truck enables us to calibrate, test and verify existing weighbridges as well as new ones. We are a National Measurement Institute (NMI) licensee and a member of the Weighing Industry Association of Australia (WIAA). A partnership with a reputable scale service team can help any scale owner get the most out of their scales! Don’t estimate the weight of your commodity. Ensure compliance with the Chain of Responsibility with a quality installed and serviced weighbridge from Country Scale & Equipment Shepparton.

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’Cropping and Tillage’, March, 2020—PAGE 33

cropping & tillage

Ideal for broadacre cropping ew cultivation equipment N designed and built by Ararat’s AF Gason was a

featured new product release at the Wimmera Field Days. The first prototype of the T12000 planter follows on from a six-month product development project undertaken at the significant Gason manufacturing complex in Ararat. The T12000 machine is an update and expansion of the company’s planter range. It has a 12 m working width, but with two hydraulically folding wings on either side of the central frame it closes to an overall transport width of 6.5 m, which is road travel compliant under the current rules for agricultural machinery. ‘‘We set out to build a machine that is simple and robust in design, but with new features added that give reliability for the broadacre operator,’’ Gason’s design engineer Tom McCluskey said. ‘‘The first unit has been purchased off our computer drawings by our Gason dealer Hicks Machinery on behalf of their client — a local district grain grower from north of Horsham.’’ A key feature of the Gason T12000 is the single row of 500/55-22.5 high-flotation tubeless tyres and a rigid pull design, which makes for a strong and manoeuvrable machine. The wheel spacings are three

Gason design engineer Tom McCluskey with the new Gason T12000 planter bar under construction at the Ararat plant of AF Gason. metres apart to accommodate controlled farming applications. ‘‘The T12000 has five toolbar rows with a nominal spacing of one metre,’’ Mr McCluskey said. ‘‘These frames are fitted with Gason’s well-proven Scaritill or

Hydratill tine assemblies, which provide a breakout force of 140 to 310 kg.’’ Mr McCluskey said the hydraulic tines allowed the operator to back-off the breakout force if there were rocks in the paddock

while still getting the job done. ‘‘The Gason range of parallelogram or frame-mounted press wheels can also be added to the machine,’’ he said. ‘‘Identical features will also be included in the T10000 version of

the machine which will have a 10-metre working width. ‘‘Pairing the T12000 or T10000 with a Gason air seeder will provide a complete planting system for broadacre cropping operators.’’

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PAGE 34—’Cropping and Tillage’, March, 2020

cropping & tillage

Updates for popular sprayers new year brings some A important changes to one of the most popular members of

the Case IH machinery family. Case IH Australia/New Zealand has announced two key updates to MY2020 Patriot sprayers in the form of a new boom option and an upgrade to their automatic boom height management system. The Patriot 4430 will now come with the option of a larger 41.14 m boom, offering increased productivity and better compatibility with a Controlled Traffic Farming scheme, among other benefits. The automatic boom height upgrade applies to the Patriot 3330 and 4330 and is known as AutoBoom XRT, the industryleading, latest version of Raven’s AutoBoom boom height control suite of products. The most notable difference from the previous AutoBoom system is radar sensor technology replacing ultrasonic technology, and where previously there was no chassis sensing, now the XRT system offers chassis pitch and roll sensing. Case IH Australia/New Zealand product manager for Patriot sprayers Alyx Selsmeyer said for customers the new AutoBoom XRT meant greater levels of boom control and protection, with other features including simultaneous ground and canopy detection, lighter and smaller sensors, and smoother movement and quicker

There are a few changes to Case IH’s Patriot 4330 and 3330 series boom sprayers for the Australian market.

reaction time compared to other systems on the market. These most recent changes follow the launch of a 6000 litre product tank for the 4430 in 2019, and in 2020 this larger stainlesssteel tank will be shipping from the United States as standard.

‘‘All of these changes have been driven by feedback from the Australian market, which is something we’re very proud of,’’ Ms Selsmeyer said. ‘‘This ensures the latest Patriots offer what local farmers are looking for in a self-propelled

sprayer and are ideally suited to the demands of local conditions. ‘‘Patriot sprayers are still constructed in the US at Benson, Minnesota, where the first Patriots were designed, tested and built more than 25 years ago and running parallel with that proud

heritage is the legacy of superior performance and outstanding durability. ‘‘These latest changes only enhance that reputation.’’ ➤ For more information on the Patriot sprayer range and the latest updates, speak to your local Case IH dealer.

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’Cropping and Tillage’, March, 2020—PAGE 35

cropping & tillage

Redesigned drill now available armers now have the F opportunity to purchase the new Maschio Gaspardo Gigante

Pressure drill, thanks to machinery distributor PFG Australia. ‘‘The Gigante Pressure is an advanced direct seed drill with pneumatic seed and fertiliser distribution,’’ PFG Australia cultivation and seeding territory manager Tom Wilkinson said. ‘‘The drill has recently undergone a redesign to incorporate a number of new features further improving its ability to seed in challenging conditions.’’ Mr Wilkinson said the new drill would work perfectly even if you farmed on uneven land. ‘‘The Gigante excels in uneven terrain due to its class leading range of disc movement, and its precise depth control, provided by the large depth control wheel on each disc. ‘‘The single disc system is perfect for all conditions, especially with undulating terrain. ‘‘With minimal disturbance it creates a fine tilth in the slot, creating a perfect germination zone and a consistent firm closure, thanks to the independently mounted press wheels.’’ The sowing elements of the drill are independent and reinforced for improved durability and efficiency. ‘‘This feature is designed to greatly improve the lifespan of the

The Gigante excels in uneven terrain, according to PFG Australia’s cultivation and seeding territory manager Tom Wilkinson. Gigante Pressure, whilst new coulters with a unique profile for improved seed penetration ensure high-quality seeding, as well as the added benefit of increased wear resistance. ‘‘Two strong and independent springs provide the range of disc movement spoken of. ‘‘In combination with the depth wheels on each disc, they enable the sowing unit to achieve a

uniform seed depth at the seed delivery point. ‘‘With a free-floating independent press wheel on each sowing unit, the sowing coulter and press wheel can drop and raise independently of each other as the row unit passes through a hollow or over a mound.’’ The new pressurised hopper has been designed to improve seed distribution and reduces the fan

power required, reducing wear and increasing efficiency. ‘‘The hopper has been rotated, so the bins are front to back and lowered in the chassis,’’ Mr Wilkinson said. ‘‘This has greatly improved the stability in hill country due to its low centre of gravity. ‘‘The new low position of the hopper also makes loading of the seed and fertiliser much easier as

well as improving the visibility over the rear of the drill.’’ The hopper is split 60 per cent and 40 per cent and is interchangeable depending whether the seed or the fertiliser has the higher volume for the operation being undertaken. The eDrive metering system is easily adjustable due to the interchangeable metering cartridges that are supplied for small seeds, right through to high rates of fertiliser. Calibration is easy with the touch of a button from inside the cab or next to the drill. Fully ISOBUS compatible, the Gigante Pressure Drill can provide maximum precision and efficiency using the standard addition of the Genius controller with electric drives and the GPS speed detection system. On the road and in the paddock, new larger wheels provide improved wear and decrease compaction. The hydraulically folding frame allows a compact 3 m width, making it an easy drill to transport. PFG Australia will be running demonstrations this season. PFG Australia distributes Maschio machinery to Shepparton’s Goulburn Valley Ag, John Sanderson Machinery in Nagambie and Cobram Farm Equipment. ➤ For more information on the demonstration sessions, and the drill itself, phone Tom Wilkinson on 0484 999 044.

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PAGE 36—’Cropping and Tillage’, March, 2020

r e h t r u f r a l l o d r u o y g n i v i r D 32,500 21,900 0

Irtem Double disc $$ openers on 5” spacing’s with Harrowss

Minos 3mt, 24disc, 11XD, Roller

S/H Crump 1 Tonne Trailing

Minos 9 tine with 100lt, 12v spreader

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inc gst st

15,950 inc gst

$

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inc gst

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Abati BDS 8mt, 40 row seeder

$

132,000 inc gst

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Abati Titanium, BDS 3000 20 Row, 3m w/w Direct Drill

inc gst

$

NEW Farm Tech Seederr $ 2.4m 130lt 12 volt seeder and harrows

89,900

S/H Connor Shea 8000 22 Tine with Coulters

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$

14,100

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Grizzly Wheel Track Renovator, 4mt

4,345

Iris 1160lt multi manure/fert. spreader

inc gst

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Lehner 170lt bait spreader

$

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S/H John Shearer 28 plate new discs Also: Gibbons Rawling 18 plate $12,000

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S/H Yeoman 5 tine Ripper with Coulters

$

inc gst

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$

inc gst

Abati 12mt, 36 row on 300mm spacing’s

29,700

Silvan Agrex 6t dual belt lt $ spreader

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Photo for illustration purposes only n nly

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New John Shearer 24 Run, “Airmatic”

inc gst

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S/H Connor Shea 18 run n $ Series 2 Disc Seeder

S/H Abati 62 plate, folding, 8.8t

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Vertikator 3m small grass sss $ seeder includes harrows wss and press wheels

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S/H John Shearer 7.2m $ 41 tine folding scarifier

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S/H Connor Shea 14 disc one way plow

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Celli 4.5mt folding linkage mulcher

$

79,000

S/H McCormick 165hp 4WD CAB

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New Farm Pro 1.3 Cubic c $ Trailing Grain feeder electric remote control

Nobili 4mt heavy duty mulcher

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New Landini Power Farm 110 4WD CAB FEL 4in1 Bucket

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S/H Connor Shea 30 tine, 4mt scarifier

Grizzly 28 Plate Disc Plow

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11,300

Commander Ag 56x10 Grain Auger

$

inc gst

28,900

2.6m Hydraulic Rear $ Door and Rear Wheels

47,916

S/H Landini 6cyl 110hp p$ 4WD CAB with new FEL EL L 4in1 Bucket and Forkss

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28,000 inc gst

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2.5mt Maschio 5 tine ripper

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Boomarang Mark 6 Feeds out round bales and big square bales

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S/H Hardi 2000lt Trailing Sprayer with 20m boom

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inc gst

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LMCT 11745

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inc gst

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S/H McCormick CX105 5 $ 4WD CAB FEL Bucket and Forks

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rther u F r a ll o D r u o Y g in Driv 355 Benalla Road Shepparton Phone: (03) 5821 4411. Fax: (03) 5831 2187. A/H Leo 0419 399 109

For more information visit:

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13,750

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Profile for McPherson Media Group

Cropping and Tillage — March 2020  

Country News Victoria New South Wales Farming

Cropping and Tillage — March 2020  

Country News Victoria New South Wales Farming