Sprayer sav­ing valu­able time on land

The Weekly Advertiser Horsham - - Front Page -

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.

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