While Eastern Australia is in a crippling drought that has prevented much of New South Wales (NSW) and Queensland to plant winter crops, Australia’s largest farm show Agquip took place again last week in Gunnedah, NSW. The 46th annual event saw more than 3,000 exhibitors welcome visitors from all over Australia and some delegations from other countries as well.
With the lack of winter crops currently planted in the area, many growers have their hopes set on summer crops such as cotton and sorghum. While many areas on the east coast did receive around an inch of rain over the weekend, it was also the first decent fall in 6-9 months in most areas, so there is still a lot of rainfall needed before planters will be put into fields. As was evident at some displays at Agquip, exhibitors tried to tailor their offerings to these growers and what they might require for growing a summer crop.
NDF, a planter manufacturing company based in western NSW, showed off a 40-foot planter bar featuring single disc openers fitted with Precision Planting equipment. These units can plant up to 6.5 inches deep while retaining moisture, which is key when planting in fields that are getting irrigated during the growing season. By also having the planter fitted with trash whippers to create a nice even seedbed and airbag suspension to follow contour banks, the planting operation is given the best chance of success.
Amazone showcased a 2,650-gallon spreader, with a working width up to 175 feet and an operating speed of up to 30 kilometers an hour. The unit features a ProfisPr configuration, which includes an on-board weighing system to automatically regulate the application rate. This spreader is setup with a variable rate application capacity and part-width section control being an optional feature. For those growers that are able to plant summer crops this year, the ability to accurately apply in-crop nitrogen as the crop progresses, will be key in order to optimize the use of available moisture while minimizing costs where possible.
There is no substitute for rain of course and, with 100% of the state drought-declared, that is what is needed desperately. But new precision agriculture technologies can aid growers in reaping the benefits from whatever rain we might get in the months to come. And, while the sales numbers of Agquip are not published, it is clear that exhibitors have planted the “precision-seed” with growers once more at Agquip.