Shift to all-in-one sprayers

17 Jun, 2013 04:00 AM

WEED management has become an ever-increasing issue for farmers who have switched from conventional cultivation to minimum and zero tillage operations.

The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development says some 70 percent of Australian farmers adopted both direct drilling and minimum tillage practices between 1974 and 2005 - evidencing the need for spraying to control weeds.

Croplands Northern NSW and Southern Queensland territory manager Jeremy Rennick said spraying had become so important that farmers were now after an all-in-one self-propelled spraying unit.

"Clearance is a big thing for people in northern NSW and Queensland because it lets them do in-crop spraying," he said.

"Minimum till requires spraying instead of ploughing - so instead of the tractor and plough being the number one rig on the farm, spraying has taken over.

"It's climbed the ladder on the machinery of importance and I think that's why people are investing more money in it."

Mr Rennick said the key to weed management was to do the job properly and in a responsible way.

"We have always dealt with fleabane but feathertop Rhodes grass seems to be the new one giving farmers grief," he said.

"The two weeds seem to be causing more trouble than the others."

He noted that there was more to spraying than just filling up and going for a drive.

"A lot of it has got to do with technique, nozzle selection and spray drift," he said.

"On top of trying to do the job themselves they've also got to be quite aware of their neighbours."

There was plenty of spraying equipment on display at the Croplands site at FarmFest but it was the RoGator RG1300 that turned visitors' heads.

The self-propelled sprayer featured a 36 metre boom and clearance starting at 50 inches and Croplands can tailor the machines to suit the specific needs of each farmer.

Mr Rennick said 2012 was one of the busiest years they have seen for self propelled sprayers.

"We're definitely seeing a lot more 36m booms wanted, that's purely from guys wanting to be more efficient," he said.

"The one man operations are covering a lot of ground and want an all-in-one self-propelled unit.

"The majority of booms are 24m but there's definitely been a big shift to the 36m market."



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