Sprayer saving valuable time on land
Broadacre farming and water skiing might seem like an odd combination, but for Wimmera grower Mark Gaulke they go together perfectly.
Mark crops about 2000 hectares of land east of Dimboola and leases another property west of Nhill.
He farms with his wife Anne-marie and their three sons, Jake, Zachary and Mitchell.
The family predominately grows wheat, barley, canola, lentils, vetch hay and beans – direct drilling the loamy-sand to loamy-clay soil, with some cultivation to help keep weeds and snails down.
The family took delivery of a new HARDI Rubicon 900 sprayer about three months ago, to help make spraying their land more efficient.
Mark did not seriously consider other sprayer brands, mainly because of the service and reliability he’d always had from HARDI and his dealer – Wimmera Mallee Ag in Horsham.
“We were looking at the Rubicon for its large tank capacity of 9000 litres and its 48.5-metre boom,” he said.
By combining its large tank capacity with high spraying speeds and a wide boom in front, the self-propelled machine lets Mark be more efficient with the timing of his spraying.
He said he also found it more comfortable
to operate, with excellent boom ride and no need to twist his back and neck thanks to a commanding view over the boom.
Even though he elected to install a familiar John Deere Green Star GPS on his Rubicon, Mark said he still had to master the move up from a trailed machine.
“One-on-one training days on my property enabled me to become confident with its operation very quickly,” he said.
Depending on the season and the variety of crop planted, the sprayer might go over the one paddock four to seven times.
This means Mark needs to cover about 12,500 hectares with the sprayer every year.
“There are only so many days you can spray,” he said.
“I’ve found the Rubicon is far more efficient and time-saving than my previous trailing boom.
“We operated our previous HARDI boom sprayer for about 600 hours a year and I’m predicting this machine will operate for about 350 hours a year.”
Mark also reported faster machine maintenance, due to a self-greasing system and easily-cleaned stainless steel tanks and lines.
All the time savings bring him a range of benefits – and not just on the farm.
Mark is a member of the Dimboola Boat and Water Ski Club and was president in 2017, when the club was approached by Barefoot Australia and the South Australian Barefoot Club to run a barefoot tournament in memory of Peter Taylor.
Peter had represented Australia in barefoot events all over the world, but had died from cancer earlier that year.
The club decided to run the Barefoot Water Ski Tournament and Night Jump Spectacular on the Wimmera River at Dimboola Recreational Reserve.
The event attracted skiers from across Australia and raised money for charity WACK, Wimmera Against Cancer in Kids.
It was such a success the club ran a second tournament last year, with proceeds going towards Wimmera Cancer Centre fund-raiser Rachel’s Wish.
Both events featured a night auction of goods and services and, in 2018, a hugely popular fireworks display.
The event enjoyed support from businesses, the surrounding community, other clubs, Hindmarsh Shire Council and Wimmera Catchment Management Authority.
To date the club has raised more than $9000 for district cancer charities and is planning its next event for March 2020.
Mark promised the event was ‘not to be missed’.
In the meantime, he has crops to protect – with the HARDI Rubicon helping him make more of his time on the land and on the water.
TIME SAVING: Wimmera grower Mark Gaulke took delivery of a new HARDI Rubicon 900 sprayer about three months ago, to help make spraying his land more efficient and give him and his family more time to pursue interests. Mark is a member of Dimboola Boat and Water Ski Club and is helping plan a third Barefoot Water Ski Tournament and Night Jump Spectacular on the Wimmera River at Dimboola Recreational Reserve in March, 2020.