SPRAYS AND SPRAYING
FOR seven years, Stuart Hall flew in the wilds of Papua New Guinea.
Slinging machinery from his helicopter, Stuart was charged with getting largescale mining equipment in – and out – of remote locations.
Working with the police and military in PNG, flying in dangerous terrain became second nature to Stewart.
“I spent seven years flying overseas, but I wanted to come back to Australia to raise my family,” Stuart said.
“It was an amazing flying experience, but I didn’t want to be away from home any longer.”
Having been raised on a farm himself, Stuart settled his family out of Barna- wartha – and naturally decided to open his own aerial spraying business.
“I’ve always loved being in the air, always loved the challenge of flying,” Stuart said.
“Before heading overseas, I flew choppers in Queensland on stations, and also in ag services across the eastern states – and having been brought up on a farm, I knew the industry well – so it made sense that I would come home and open an aerial spraying business.”
SGE Helicopters is now a family run operation – the SGE represents the names of the Hall family and their children – and the entire team pride themselves on offering friendly, safe and reliable service, backed by years of flying experience.
“Given the ever-changing soil conditions you can find in paddocks, helicopters represent an easy and effective way to target farmland for fertiliser application and weed spraying,” Stuart said.
“I have an agriculture background, so understand that paddocks can be too wet to drive on, or that the nature of time-sensitive applications can be imperative to a crop’s yield and, therefore, the farmer’s livelihood.
“My aim is to effectively and efficiently cover more ground in less time with no damage to the fields, the surrounding farmland or any nearby crops.”
Interestingly, Stuart said application prices started from as low as $27 per hectare – which, considering the precision application, represented a cheap way to cover difficult terrain.
“It’s surprisingly cost effective, when you consider how much time is saved,” he said
“A helicopter will go where a plane can’t; and if a farmer tried to cover those same areas they would potentially have to do it with a backpack sprayer, or an ATV – which is not only slow, it exposes the farmer to the chemicals being used.”
Stuart’s ex-Canadian air force Bell OH-58 helicopter can carry up to 400 litres of spray/fertiliser – meaning he can spend more time in the air, and less time re-loading.
“It’s a great machine for the job – agile, but tough – and very reliable,” Stuart said.
“The Bell, like most helicopters, is able to fly low to the ground, which causes a downdraft of the rotor blades, pushing the chemicals onto and between crops, reducing the risk of drift and improving the success of the application.
“It’s another advantage of using a helicopter in an ag setting.”
Right now, SGE Helicopters are busy spraying for blackberries, burrs and St John’s Wort.
SGE Helicopters also offer aerial spraying services and animal control services.
AIRBORNE: Stuart Hall runs SGE Helicopters, specialists in aerial spraying.