Berry good idea to boost crop yields

Harvey-Waroona Reporter - - FRONT PAGE - Pic­ture: Jac­inta Can­ta­tore

A Har­vey weld­ing busi­ness has come up with a de­vice that could be a game-changer in the agri­cul­ture and hor­ti­cul­ture in­dus­tries. Af­ter more than two years of de­vel­op­ment, Dave and Chris Berry say their aer­a­tor can in­crease crop yield by 30 to 40 per cent.

A Har­vey-based busi­ness has come up with a de­vice that could be a gamechanger in the agri­cul­ture and hor­ti­cul­ture in­dus­tries.

Father-and-son team Dave and Chris Berry from Berry’s Weld­ing, have spent two years per­fect­ing their soil aer­a­tor af­ter be­ing ap­proached by a farmer who was ready to throw in the towel.

On pas­tures where the Berry Pin Roller was used, wa­ter-use was down by 60 per cent and crop yield had in­creased by about 40 per cent.

Har­vey lucerne farmer Jim Pace ap­proached the Ber­rys two years ago af­ter he pur­chased a farm in the area, but be­gan to re­gret the de­ci­sion due to poor yields.

“He came to us be­cause he had to try some­thing,” Dave Berry said.

The aer­a­tor is like a big steel roller with evenly-spaced pins de­signed to pierce the soil in a rolling mo­tion while be­ing towed be­hind a stan­dard four-wheel-drive.

Mr Berry said the cen­tral spin­dle was filled with wa­ter to add weight in or­der to pierce the im­per­vi­ous and com­pacted top layer of soil.

“When we fin­ished up and we drained that wa­ter out in a pas­ture we could see all the wa­ter run­ning down into the holes we’d just made, right down where it’s needed,” Mr Berry said.

“It’s go­ing to save up to 60 per cent of wa­ter.

“On this new aer­a­tor you can travel at a speed up to 30km/h with no dam­age to the pas­ture.”

Mr Berry rents out the de­vice to farm­ers in­ter­ested in see­ing how it works, but said he could build aer­a­tors from the pro­to­type in just two weeks.

“They used to use them back in the 1970s,” he said. “I don’t know why they stopped.” The Ber­rys hope to build a larger ver­sion of the Berry Pin Roller.

“We’re hop­ing to build a big­ger one to be used in the wheat­belt,” he said.

“We can’t keep us­ing wa­ter the way we are.

“This de­vice will mean less wa­ter, less ni­tro­gen in the soil, less fer­tiliser.

“There is no down­side.”

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