Providing extensive precision agriculture services has proven to be a point of difference for Victorian contractor Arron Daniel.
Mr Daniel runs Arron Daniel Ag Contracting, servicing Gippsland farmers with baling, silage, sowing and spraying capabilities.
He is predominately based from Korumburra, 140km south-east of Melbourne, and uses a John Deere fleet fitted with industry-leading innovation, which has proven to be a smart business decision.
"I could see there was a gap in the market to provide precision agriculture capabilities," Mr Daniel said.
"The biggest factor comes down to cost. Using our GPS system running through our John Deere fleet I can move across the paddock at the cheapest possible rate because I am not doubling up on anything. We are also utilising the maximum working width, which cuts down on time spent in the paddock and increases efficiency overall.
"Through our GPS technology, I have saved one farmer six runs, which goes to show how many kilos per hectare you can save in seed."
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However, the most powerful reason driving Mr Daniel's uptake of technology is its ability to help ensure his farming clients achieve maximum yields.
"We want to make sure everything we do is working to increase productivity," he said.
"Not only can we achieve this with precision agriculture, we can also prove it by using the recorded data we are accumulating.
"Ultimately, I believe this recorded data is helping us build better relationships with our customers."
Mr Daniel grew up working alongside his family in the dairy industry, and although for several years his business focussed on the earthmoving sector, he always had a desire to return to agriculture.
Five years ago, he made this ambition a reality, and pivoted to focus solely on farming in 2016.
"Growing up on the farm I realised I enjoyed working machines a lot more than I enjoyed milking cows," he said.
"The switch from earthworks to agriculture is purely because I love working on farms."
Arron Daniel Ag Contracting's current equipment fleet encompasses a John Deere 6155R, an older 6830, 5090R, and V451R, and is complemented by a Silvan spray unit running a fully-integrated section and rate control sprayer digitally connected to Isobus.
"This covers all our basics, as we can collect data through the John Deere Operations Centre and, at the same time, covers our legal requirements for spray recording," he said.
Mr Daniel said learning the ropes of precision agriculture was streamlined for him by the training and swift back-up support offered by his local John Deere dealership, Cervus Equipment.
"I spent one hour with integrated solutions manager ANZ, Siobhan Lynch, a precision agriculture expert at Cervus, and after that I was well on my way," he said.
"From there, if I ever have a question, I can just call up and they can talk me through what to do.
"I think it's a little bit of a shame, in an industry like agriculture which is very progressive, that I do still see farmers driving tractors who are not using the equipment to its full potential."
As a contractor, Mr Daniel said it was vital for his fleet to be working at maximum capacity all season long.
"This is hands down why I think Cervus is a step above," he said.
"If, for whatever reason, something breaks down or goes wrong, they do all they can to get you up and going again straight away.
"If they can't fix the issue immediately, they bring out a loan tractor for me to use so I don't have any downtime.
"There is never a problem they can't fix."
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The story Precision ag investment pays off for Gippsland contractor first appeared on Farm Online.