Getting seed into the ground
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.