Get­ting seed into the ground

The Weekly Advertiser Horsham - - Ag Life - BY CRAIG ALT­MANN

Over the past few weeks I’ve been to seeder demon­stra­tions hosted by or­gan­i­sa­tions Birchip Crop­ping Group and Best Wool Best Lamb.

It’s not of­ten you get to see such a range of ma­chines work­ing in the same pad­dock.

The ma­chines be­ing demon­strated in­cluded Dun­can, Tatu March­esan, Agrow­drill, Kub­ota, Flexi-coil, Horsch, Hor­wood Bagshaw, Morris and Spot On Ag.

It was a credit to the own­ers who vol­un­teered their land, time and ma­chines for the days, be­cause most of the seed­ers were pri­vately owned.

With price tags around $500,000 for some of the set-ups it was easy un­der­stand the sig­nif­i­cance of be­ing able to

see these ma­chines work­ing flesh’.

What a con­trast in con­di­tions! Down south at the Best Wool Best Lamb pas­ture-seed­ing demon­stra­tion, we went out into the pad­dock and quickly reached for ex­tra lay­ers and had to run for cover a cou­ple times as show­ers went through.

But at Birchip, the jumpers came off as the day went on and dodg­ing the dust was pri­or­ity as the dry soil burst open un­der the pres­sure of the points.

Com­bines, airseed­ers and planters, with discs, tynes and coul­ters were demon­strated in dif­fer­ent con­fig­u­ra­tions at both sites – dry and di­rect.

It in­volved full seed-bed dis­tur­bance right through to re­sults that you had to look closely to see whether ma­chines had been through.

The Spot On Ag planter was a real ‘in the eye opener with tech­nol­ogy, such as Delta Force and Smart Firmer.

It sows in seeds per hectare rather than kilo­gram per hectare.

The down force con­troller – Delta Force – re­places springs with hy­draulic cylin­ders.

The Smart Firmer be­ing demon­strated is a first for Aus­tralia, in it’s first year of com­mer­cial­i­sa­tion.

The Smart Firmer pro­vides con­stant row-by-row feed­back on clean fur­row, soil tem­per­a­ture, soil mois­ture, or­ganic mat­ter, and Ca­tion Ex­change Ca­pac­ity.

Both demon­stra­tions will com­pare the per­for­mance of a range of com­mer­cially avail­able seed­ers in terms of how they op­ti­mise things such as plant es­tab­lish­ment to max­imise yield and profit.

When it comes time to get seed in the ground, there’s a bit of hu­mour with say­ings like ‘it won’t grow in the bag’ and ‘put the seed in the right way up’.

This is a se­ri­ous time of year though and there’s a lot go­ing on in terms of de­ci­sion and strat­egy mak­ing, or­gan­is­ing peo­ple and inputs – all while do­ing long hours.

At the same time the rest of the farm doesn’t just stop for sow­ing.

With so many vari­ables and so much go­ing on it easy to un­der­stand the im­por­tance of hav­ing a some­thing that makes crop and pas­ture es­tab­lish­ment more re­li­able, eas­ier, prof­itable and so on.

This might through good-qual­ity seed and the right va­ri­ety, though to the ma­chin­ery for get­ting the seed in the ground.

• Craig Alt­mann is seed sales and mar­ket­ing agron­o­mist with Aus­tralian Grain and For­age Seeds.

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