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Owners schools great sucess

category: 
General
Ausplow sales and marketing manager Chris Blight has a captive audience at a recent Boekeman Machinery owners’ school at Wongan Hills. DBS owners and their workers, new and prospective owners and Boekeman staff attended the day.

Ausplow sales and marketing manager Chris Blight has a captive audience at a recent Boekeman Machinery owners’ school at Wongan Hills. DBS owners and their workers, new and prospective owners and Boekeman staff attended the day.

The DBS and Multistream were displayed so farmers could check out new changes to the products. A discussion on parts also proved popular.

The DBS and Multistream were displayed so farmers could check out new changes to the products. A discussion on parts also proved popular.

Ausplow sales and marketing manager Chris Blight recently completed an Australia-wide owners’ school trip to update dealers and new, existing and potential owners on the latest changes that have been made to the DBS Version Four and Multistream Version Two.
His five-week trip saw him overseeing tillage schools involving dealers, owners and prospective owners throughout WA, SA, Victoria and NSW.
While farmers are used to header and spraying schools, the annual Ausplow tillage schools, which have been held for two decades, are a fairly rare event in the bush.
And Chris and his team will do it all over again during seeding, visiting new owners with dealers to ensure owners get as much assistance as possible to enhance productivity.
“We want owners to have a great experience with our support,” he said. “Seeding equipment is arguably the most important equipment on the farm and we understand what a huge investment it is.
“So we want to make sure new owners, particularly, step off on the right foot, so to speak, confident they’ve got the necessary information for crop establishment.
“I think it also is important that we build relationships with owners and dealers for better communication and to ensure we’re all on the same page.
“That’s what I mean when I say being involved with Ausplow should be a great experience not just a good experience.”
According to WA dealership Boekeman Machinery, the owners’ schools just keep getting better.
“We had 20 customers attend our day along with farm workers and potential clients,” company representative Ben Boekeman said.
“It was a really positive day with Chris Blight explaining how Ausplow is improving its products to meet customer expectations,” he said. “And he was available to everybody to answer questions and take feedback.
“The school is very valuable for us as a dealership because all our staff get involved, from parts, to sales through to service, so there’s a common understanding about the products.
“And Ausplow follow that up with visits to new owners to help us with the handover and then come back again to see how our owners are doing during seeding and helping with any issues.
“Their support to us is very strong and it has meant we have developed a very good relationship with them and we regularly communicate to each other.”
According to Ben, the standout at this year’s ‘school’ was were changes made to the Multistream.
“Since Ausplow displayed the new Version Two model at last year’s Dowerin field days, we got a lot of inquiry which has since translated into orders for the 2020 season,” he said.
“We are off to a good start for 2020 with the early order discount program and I expect orders will come in strongly once farmers get a good feel for the season.”

Growing vegies 'same as growing crops'

category: 
General
South Fremantle market gardener Lori Sumich is totally convinced deep tillage is a required management practice growing vegetables.

South Fremantle market gardener Lori Sumich is totally convinced deep tillage is a required management practice growing vegetables.

There’s not much difference between growing vegetables and broadacre food crops.
That’s the opinion of well-known market gardener Lori Sumich who has more than 50 years’ experience in the industry.
Arguably you’ve got more control of moisture in a vegetable bed than in moisture-limited areas of the Australia’s wheatbelt, but essentially, it’s a story of air, moisture and nutrients.
And that story is where you find the origin of the Deep Blade System (DBS).
Lori has known Ausplow managing director and DBS inventor John Ryan since the 1980s and John convinced Lori that deep ripping was the way to go, along with deep banding of fertiliser.
His relationship with Lori grew after a trip to Italy to attend an agricultural conference with the late Peter Mirco, a machinery dealer specialising in market gardening, who also was a good friend of John’s.
When John moved to WA after a successful career, including designing the popular Agrowplow - 4000 units were sold between 1977 and 1985.
According to Lori, he and John talked the whole way to Italy about plant establishment and on their return
A somewhat sceptical Lori had to see it with his own eyes – massive yield increases in his lettuce crops – to be convinced, and since then deep ripping has become a management practice.
“We made several prototype rippers to get it right so we could place the fertiliser about three or four inches (75-100mm) underneath the seed.” Lori said. “The deep ripper carried fertiliser and seed hoppers with fertiliser introduced behind the ripping tines.
“Growing onions at Manjimup and Pemberton, you had to drill the super right below the seed and it had to be precise because if the roots didn’t hit it you didn’t get good plant growth,” Lori said.
“In those heavier soils down south the P can be tied up, not like the sandy soils up here where it is more soluble.
“The sort of precision we chase is what is happening with broadacre growers.”
For the majority of the 25 years Lori has been deep ripping, he has used a three-point linkage Agrowplow.
“John made it for me to suit vegie growing,” he said. “It was a five-shank machine and it did the job.
“Now I’ve got a three-row Ausplow model which is three-point linkage with four shanks and leading coulters.
“It’s 1.93 metres wide which is the bed width and it is specifically used for ripping after planting and for renovating empty beds and to improve drainage on low-lying areas.
“We generally rip between 16 and 18 inches (400-450mm) with the leading coulters opening up the ground to make it easier for the shank and the shoe.”
(Ausplow engineering manager Carol Erasmus is overseeing research and development on Lori’s Mandogalup property looking to improve shank and blade wear and overall digging efficiency).
Lori no longer employs deep banding of fertilisers, having switched to fertigation to introduce N,P,K, calcium and other trace elements.
After a crop, seed bed preparation starts for the new crop, with rotary hoeing before seeding.
Then ripping starts, typically two weeks after lettuce plantings and three weeks after celery plantings.
“Ripping puts oxygen in the soil and allows better moisture penetration for roots to access,” Lori said. “It’s very evident that breaking up the soil is beneficial to plants because we can see healthy plants growing and giving us better yields.”
And importantly for Lori, his produce has to taste good.
“If it tastes good you know it has got the right salts from the N,P,K and magnesium,” he said. “If there’s no taste, the plant is hungry for nutrients.”
Using fertigation, Lori has specific ‘nutrient blends’ for different crops and again he says it is no different to broadacre nutrient applications.
“In broadacre you would set up your nutrient requirements based on what you think you’re crops will yield,” he said.
“We do the same, only where you might plan for a three-tonne wheat crop, we plan for between 50 and 100 tonnes a hectare for our cabbages, carrots, potatoes, etc.
“It’s just working out nutrient units per volume and according to soil type.
“For example, if we know our celery will go 80 tonnes, we might out on 400kg/ha of potash in the heavier soils and it will stay there.
“But in our lighter soils we wouldn’t do that because it’ll leach so we put it on as-required by monitoring the crops.”
According to Lori, if he became a broadacre farmer, his preference would be to grow crops with centre pivots to ensure moisture management.
And for crop establishment?
“DBS is the right way,” he said.

The slow 'ox' is gathering pace

category: 
General
South Fremantle market gardenerLori Sumich with Ausplow's Engineering Manager Carol Erasmus  discussing deep tillage.

South Fremantle market gardenerLori Sumich with Ausplow's Engineering Manager Carol Erasmus discussing deep tillage.

Healthy celery roots are evident int his high-yielding letrtuce bed which was deep tilled after the crop was sown.

Healthy celery roots are evident int his high-yielding letrtuce bed which was deep tilled after the crop was sown.

By JOHN RYAN AM
Chinese philosopher and teacher Confucius had it right in 400BC when he famously declared: “The ox is slow but the earth is patient”.
It’s a fairly accurate analogy of agriculture, which in broadacre terms in Australia, only came of age, so to speak, a little over 60 years ago.
The ox, in this case, is the universal farmer, who only knew what had been passed onto him or her from previous generations, hence the oft-quoted, “it’s the way I was taught”.
But there also were oxen, the early ‘tractors’ of agriculture, allowing a farmer to walk behind with a wooden plough and later a cast iron wheeled mouldboard plough invented by the Romans, horse-drawn versions of which persisted in Europe into the early 20th century.
Interestingly, the Chinese discovered that so-called mouldboarding turned over the upper layer of the soil, bringing fresh nutrients to the surface while burying weeds and the remains of previous crops and allowing them to break down.
Sound familiar?
The age of mechanics in the early 1930s accelerated this practice (of mouldboarding) and brought heartache to farmers experiencing droughts in the Midwest and southern Great Plains of the US (Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wyoming, Nebraska, Kansas, Colorado, Oklahoma, Texas, and New Mexico) and the Canadian Prairies (Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta).
Massive dust storms and severe drought saw the period from 1930 to 1940 to become known as the ‘Dust Bowl’ years in those States.
In Australia, our short history of broadacre and dryland farming is well documented in terms of soil degradation, caused by naturally poor soil structure, tillage and over-grazing.
And despite the evolution away from work-up and work-back, to direct drill and no-till, problems persist, including wind erosion, acidity, salinity and perhaps the biggest problem of them all, nutrient imbalance.
The point of this historical treatise is to remind DBS owners they are in possession of a tool to slowly assist our patient Mother Earth.
And it may surprise some owners to know that the genesis of the DBS was the result of my work in market gardens, working with Lori Sumich in the 1980s when I was involved with Agrowplow, a deep ripping machine I designed in the late 1970s.
In those days, deep ripping didn’t hold much sway with the then Agriculture Department and I remember a researcher telling me we didn’t need deep ripping in WA because it consisted of a 50 foot deep sandhill.
That wasn’t what I found in Lori’s vegetable beds. Tell-tale lateral root growth was very evident in the market garden beds, highlighting soil barriers – compaction from rotary hoeing, natural settling of the soil and rain (in broadacres areas you can add vehicle trafficking and aluminium toxicity).
But after a rip I found sand would collapse after a heavy rain and the barrier would reform.
That’s what got me thinking about using plants roots as scaffolds to hold soil together in a loose structure which provided pathways for air and moisture and root access.
I couldn’t eliminate rotary hoeing in the vegie beds because it was the main tool for killing weeds and re-shaping the beds after crops had been harvested.
So the compromise was to follow-up with ripping once the plants were established.
The rip didn’t affect the plants and we found the roots grew quicker and went deeper and our first trial, in fact, saw a doubling of celery bunch size.
We put this down to adequate moisture and fertigation, which combined with new root pathways from ripping - providing air and moisture pathways - stimulated biological activity in the soil.
The key here is that what I call the ‘scaffolding effect’ function of plants roots to create a more porous soil structure – much like you get when you buy a bag of potting mix.
Hence came the pot plant analogy for broadacre plant establishment and the three slot system of the DBS – create a rip (or poke your finger into the potting mix), place the seed precisely in the rip on loosened soil (using a parallelogram system integrating the seeding boot) and tamping it down with a press wheel (your fingers in the case of a pot plant).
Our first trials with a prototype DBS proved the three-slot system worked and from then on it was a matter of refining the system to deliver precise product placement of seed and fertiliser (either deep banded or a split application for starter fertiliser with the seed).
We did more work with Lori and found that where we retained old roots in the soil, the vegetables increased in size.
I remember seeing lettuce which grew like a round ball rather than the flourish of leaves which you discard when you pick your choice in the supermarket.
Lori was at first critical that the system wasn’t working properly but an inspection of the ‘firm, round ball’ lettuce showed it to be healthier than conventional plants.
It was readily apparent to me that the pot plant-type soil environment of the vegie beds could be replicated for broadacre crop establishment.
And this spurred on the research and development of the DBS as a tool to create a soil environment which enhanced the ‘scaffolding effect’.
The role of roots is complex but simply put, in the right environment of moisture and air, root hairs interact with the micro-organic ‘community’ in a symbiotic relationship which builds soil structure.
Many DBS owners have told me their soil is getting softer and more structured and the tell-tale sign in the soil’s ability to hold moisture.
The action of the DBS and the resultant hill-valley finish for water harvesting, is in fact encouraging rain to stay where it falls as moisture is held by organic matter or humus.
(How many DBS owners have trouble filling dams on their properties because they no longer get run-off and have had to build roaded catchments)?
The other benefit of the DBS three slot system is that it allows the leaching of salts beyond the root zone although in some soil types hardpans or re-forming hardpans will need to be addressed for this successful leaching.
If you’re tackling re-forming hardpans you probably only need to dig down to about 175 to 200mm and you can achieve that with the DBS.
Remember, with our new Pro-D system, you can put the DBS to work as a renovator, particularly where you want to stimulate tired pasture paddocks and re-generate strong plant growth.
We have DBS owners already doing that of renovation and then seeding deep-rooted tropical plants and grass varieties with fibrous roots.
The other aspect of the DBS is its ability to establish crops in a dry start.
It’s probably one of the main areas of feedback I get when I speak with owners who talk about the ability of going in dry and wetting up seed beds.
The cultivation below the seed can tap into subsoil moisture which rises under pressure to the surface – it has given a lot of owners more confidence in establishing crops, particularly canola, which is prone to wet-dry scenarios resulting in staggered germinations.
So we’re finding that with the DBS, the importance of developing a moisture-holding soil structure is so important to healthy microbiology.
Picture eating an apple and putting it on the table. Pretty soon the apple starts to go brown.
That’s because there’s oxygen and moisture present which is the perfect environment for bacteria to operate.
This is the same sort of action that occurs in the subsoil with bacteria ‘alive’ in the presence of air and moisture.
There’s an old analogy that says you can only hold your breath for so long before you need air to live. That’s a similar case for soil.
As seeding programs start to kick off, I want to wish everybody an enjoyable and positive season.
And I would also encourage you to assess the benefits of liquid fertilisers and soil ameliorants.
Do a few trials to start with to see what works in your paddocks. Liquids to me seem to be the way to go and it was a major reason why I designed the Multistream liquid delivery system to provide farmers with some flexibility at seeding.
With the improvement in mapping programs and software applications, adopting a more flexible approach to your cropping programs, which could include variable product rates, is a good pathway to increasing farm profit.
So I just encourage more experimentation based on the proven principles we have established with the DBS system.
The more you farm using DBS principles the better your soil will get and the more money you will make.
Perhaps Confucius then might produce a new saying like: The ox is getting it and the earth is happier.

Strong ordering surge for 2019

category: 
General
Our first two pasture regeneration DBS planters have left our factory bound for New South Wales. We expect growing interest in these planters in 2019.

Our first two pasture regeneration DBS planters have left our factory bound for New South Wales. We expect growing interest in these planters in 2019.

A strong late ordering surge has fully tested our new manufacturing facilities at Naval Base.
And according to Ausplow managing director John Ryan AM it marks another positive step in consolidating the company as Australia’s leading precision seeding manufacturer.
“We experienced forward orders early in 2018 for the 2019 season and after the field days we took of a lot more orders, including for our new Multistream,” he said.
“I think last year really showed the value of the DBS with the dry start, particularly for farmers with big programs to complete within the ideal sowing window.
“I have spoken with a lot of DBS owners who tell me they feel more confident starting earlier even in dry conditions.
“And if there is minimal subsoil moisture there’s the bonus of getting the crop away quickly, setting up potentially higher yields.
“It is pretty well established now that the action of the DBS can create a wick effect to wet up seed beds which also alleviates worry about encountering a wet/dry scenario in the seed bed.”
With Multistream orders, John says it reflects the need of farmers to have a no-fuss machine to handle granular and liquid product deliveries.
“We got a lot of interest in the new model at the field days,” he said. “We have added a new air kit to enhance product flow to the DBS and our hose kit includes Friction Flow tubing, which has been a winner with our nano-size technology liquid products.
“And we also re-designed our auger with industrial-grade plastic flighting encased in a stainless-steel tube.”
The other new product triggering positive feedback was the Pro-D tool system.
“We had a lot of retro-fits to existing DBS bars and the feedback reflected several reasons for farmers switching over,” John said.
“Some wanted the easier working depth change for different soil types while seeding because it saved a lot of time while others saw value in changing working depths for renovating pastures or maintenance rips on deep ripped country.
“I have to emphasise the Pro-D is not useful for deep ripping but it can handle ripping with the nine-inch blades in previously ripped country.
“I see the Pro-D as an excellent tool for renovating pastures, particularly in the spring to create a flush of summer feed for livestock.”

Re-building soil key to sustainability

category: 
General
Lush ryegrass biomass contrasts a love grass-dominated paddock (pictured below) on Greg and Sally Chappell’s Glen Innes, NSW property. The above paddock was renovated and reseeded with a DBS with ryegrass crowding out the love grass.

Lush ryegrass biomass contrasts a love grass-dominated paddock (pictured below) on Greg and Sally Chappell’s Glen Innes, NSW property. The above paddock was renovated and reseeded with a DBS with ryegrass crowding out the love grass.

Love grass-dominated [paddock.

Love grass-dominated [paddock.

*This is the second of a two-part series relating to Glen Innes, NSW farmers Greg and Sally Chappell. Part one was published here earlier this month.

GREG and Sally Chappell have created a living laboratory managing their Dulverton Angus stud, Shannon Vale, comprising 500 cows and 150 bulls.
It’s a template that can be assessed by all farmers and “re-jigged” to suit different rainfall regions and soil conditions.
Greg is not saying it’s the total answer for improving crop production and animal health but the evidence on his property is compelling.
True, his annual average rainfall is 875mm (35in), but in dry years he still manages good production, through his process of building up carbon levels to hold moisture.
Since 2008 he has been re-building soil through mulching weeds, manuring and using a liquid potassium (K) mix based on plant analysis.
It has been a slow process but having been involved in trials using a DBS and Multistream airseeder, he is now convinced of the system and believes the DBS is accelerating the process.
“I think by using the DBS and Multistream we’re on the right road because we didn’t factor in this type of deep tillage in the beginning,” he said.
“We’ve also introduced dung beetles to get those cow pads into the soil to bring up the carbon levels and we’re creating a worm environment.
“The dungies are our best friends. They bury the dung thereby breaking the worm cycle resulting in less harmful chemistry entering the soil destroying worms, microbes, etc.
“We’re getting less incidence of disease, less Buffalo fly and less drenching.
Dung pads also help break the Buffalo fly cycle and so are less harmful to ‘’low order life’’ chemistry entering our system.
“It’s our contention that if this chemistry “kills” lower order life, then it has to be having a negative effect on “Primates”.
Dung in the ground also means the nutrients are being positively re-cycled particularly potassium.
In January, Greg used the DBS planter to establish a forage sorghum and cow pea crop (for N in the silage), which is used as silage feed for the cattle.
“On our first cut we took off 14 tonnes a hectare which gave us 136 bales,” Greg said. “Last year we sowed with the aerator and only got one cut which gave us 129 bales.
“This year we got a second cut which gave us an extra 100 bales, which must be because the roots could get down into moisture from that deeper working with the DBS.
“Our usual method in planting the sorghum was to spin it (seed) out and roll it in with tyre rollers.
“With the DBS we’ve probably doubled our yield.”
According to Greg, the DBS has already proven itself by his three Rs analogy of renovate, rejuvenate and re-establish.
“Going forward the DBS will be a major component in our system”.
Greg has now ordered a 15-foot (4.5m) DBS on 10-inch (25cm) spacings with a mounted Multistream on the bar and liquid tanks on the drawbar to provide him with the capacity to switch between granular applications and liquids.
“It’s especially good for mixing up the K-brew, so we’re pretty happy with the machine,” he said.
“The liquids give us a chance to move forward with a balanced nutrition package being introduced into the soil, providing more benefit for high performance pasture growth.”
And a pleasing feature of the DBS, according to Greg, is that you don’t have to wait for moisture to start a sowing program.
“The DBS penetrates the subsoil and breaks up the hardpans and you can get moisture coming up to wet up the seed beds,” Greg said.
“It is our intention to use the DBS to establish and rejuvenate pastures that have been severely depleted as a result of erratic rainfall distribution, Corbie Grubs, etc.”
According to Greg, the benefits of the DBS include:
1. One pass function reducing operational costs.
2. The machine’s unique design enables it to break through existing plow pans thereby enhancing water and oxygen infiltration.
3. The machine can handle substantial trash levels enabling us to plant directly into existing, albeit, depleting pasture swards without using chemicals.
4. This enables the positive contribution from soil microbes.
“Let’s give biology a GO.” he said.
According to Ausplow managing director John Ryan AM, Greg is “bang on” with his system.
“I wouldn’t be put off by his story if you’re a more dryland grower,” he said. “Greg’s basic approach is true for all soils and all rain regions.
“We sometimes get fixated on how much rain we don’t get but the whole point of Greg’s system if you like, is to build soil structure so that moisture can be held in the root zone.
“It does take time, as Greg has shown, but it has to be remembered that if you build soil structure, it’s basically forever.
“And we know, moisture and air are the key factors in soil and plant health.
“If we get that operating, it triggers the increased presence of beneficial bacteria and microcrobes, creating the ripple effect of reducing plant root diseases and enhancing plant health."

Three Rs of farming: Renovate, Rejuvenate, Re-Establish.

category: 
General
Ausplow representative Keith Ryan (left) and NSW farmer Greg Chappell examine a flourishing forage sorghum crop. Greg now gets two cuts which he attributes to the DBS> "It gave us an extra 100 bales, which must be because the roots can now access subsoil moisture," he said.

Ausplow representative Keith Ryan (left) and NSW farmer Greg Chappell examine a flourishing forage sorghum crop. Greg now gets two cuts which he attributes to the DBS> "It gave us an extra 100 bales, which must be because the roots can now access subsoil moisture," he said.

Regardless of your business model as a farmer, soil remains the cornerstone to success.
It might sound like a trite comment, but how many farmers, apart from yourself, do you know who are involved in liming, claying, spreading gypsum, deep tillage, spading or mouldboard ploughing?
All of the above, plus a few others, are all strategies aimed at improving the soil, whether it’s attempting to elevate soil pH, mitigate non-wetting soils or building better structured soils for increased water-holding capacity.
And many of the practices have become annual programs, emphasising a well-known fact in farming: There are no magic bullets.
It’s a phrase Glen Innes (New South Wales) farmers Greg and Sally Chappell know only too well, managing their Dulverton Angus stud on their home property ‘Shannon Vale’, comprising 500 cows and 150 bulls, with a further 400 cows on a neighbouring lease block.
The Shannon Vale property totals 3600 acres (1450ha) and when the Chappells bought property in 2001, following a ‘çareer’ in cropping at Moree, it was immediately apparent a strategy was needed to overcome a long history of eroded and compacted soils.
With an annual rainfall of 875mm (35in), it was imperative to take advantage of the available moisture and so began a program to improve the soil’s water-holding capacity by building up carbon levels.
The Chappell’s research showed that for every one percent lift in stored carbon, water-holding capacity was improved by 144,000 litres a hectare every year.
Initial attempts included district practice of superphosphate and nitrogenous fertilisers, chemicals, tillage and set stock grazing management.
But high input costs to maintain pasture production finally forced Greg and Sally to re-evaluate their enterprise and engage in a long-term strategy to get the soil back to a healthier and more productive state.
Weeds were the main problem, particularly African lovegrass, which had negligible nutritional value yet dominated over more palatable pasture species.
So 11 monitoring sites were established to measure soil carbon and soil pH.
The focus was on planned rotational grazing, use of organic fertilisers (composted feedlot waste) and no soil disturbance.
“Since about 2008, we have been re-building the soil by increasing organic and carbon content, through things like mulching weeds, manuring and using a liquid potassium mix, based on plant analysis,” Greg said.
Mulching weeds is initially started by slashing them a few days before removing stock. Little chemical is used, except for spot competition sites.
The herd becomes the mechanised process of smashing up weed ‘stubble’, including lovegrass, bringing it in contact with the soil where biological processes start material decomposition.
“It’s a long-term process but we’re seeing encouraging signs from our measuring sites,” Greg said.
“When we started we were below one for organic carbon and now it’s around 3.5.
“With soil pH it’s gone between 4.4 and 5.7 to 5.9 and 7.1.
“And now, none of the sites are measuring below 5.7.”
His explanation for the change, after a period of only four years, was simple: “We stopped single super (too much acid) and started manuring.
“Before we came, this country has truck loads of single super.”
Of course, there is more to it than that those remarks, but it does make a point about not locking into traditional ways and pushing barriers to discover better pathways of farm management practices.
What the Chappells have achieved in about 10 years has been substantial and has tipped the scale back into profitability. But in farming, you don’t rest on your laurels.
More recently Greg and Sally have been using a DBS/Multistream trial planter after becoming dissatisfied with an aerator seeding machine, which according to Greg, was “okay, but was adding to a compaction problem”.
Last year he established 84 acres (34ha) of pasture with the trial planter, using a balanced granular formula to plant ryegrass and Lucerne.
Greg was impressed with the result, particularly, the under seed cultivation and shattering of the subsoil, breaking up soil hardpans and encouraging water infiltration.
“We also sowed cow pea and we got some tremendous establishments, even when sowing into couch grass patches.
“We’ve created three Rs, with the planter,” Greg said. “We’re renovating and rejuvenating the soil, to re-establish pastures to improve soil health.
“And a healthy soil will produce healthy feed for improved animal health and growth.
“The energy off forage sorghum is about 10.6 per cent while the protein is about 15.8 per cent, so it’s a good outcome.
“And we get good weight gains around 1.4kg a day.
“We’ve got to get a two-year-old up to terminal weight and it costs,” he said. “But I think by using the DBS and Multistream we’re accelerating the process we started because we didn’t factor in this type of deep tillage in the beginning.
“And we’ve introduced dung beetles to get those cow pads into the soil to bring up the carbon levels and we’re creating a worm environment.
“The dungies are our best friends. They bury the dung thereby breaking the worm cycle resulting in less harmful chemistry entering the soil destroying worms, microbes, etc.
“We’re getting less incidence of disease, less Buffalo fly and less drenching.
Dung pads also help break the Buffalo fly cycle and so are less harmful to ‘’low order life’’ chemistry entering our system.
It’s our contention that if this chemistry “kills” lower order life, then it has to be having a negative effect on “Primates”.
Dung in the ground also means the nutrients are being positively re-cycled particularly potassium.
In January, Greg used the DBS planter to establish a forage sorghum and cow pea crop (for N in the silage), which is used as silage feed for the cattle.
“On our first cut we took off 14 tonnes a hectare which gave us 136 bales,” Greg said. “Last year we sowed with the aerator and only got one cut which gave us 129 bales.
“This year we got a second cut which gave us an extra 100 bales, which must be because the roots could get down into moisture from that deeper working with the DBS.
“Our usual method in planting the sorghum was to spin it (seed) out and roll it in with tyre rollers.
“With the DBS we’ve probably doubled our yield.”
According to Greg, the DBS has already proven itself by his three Rs analogy and, “going forward it will be a major component in our system”.
Greg has now ordered a 15-foot (4.5m) DBS on 10-inch (25cm) spacings with a mounted Multistream on the bar and liquid tanks on the drawbar to provide him with the capacity to switch between granular applications and liquids.
“It’s especially good for mixing up the K-brew, so we’re pretty happy with the machine,” he said.
“The liquids give us a chance to move forward with a balanced nutrition package being introduced into the soil, providing more benefit for high performance pasture growth.”
And a pleasing feature of the DBS, according to Greg, is that you don’t have to wait for moisture to start a sowing program.
“The DBS penetrates the subsoil and breaks up the hardpans and you can get moisture coming up to wet up the seed beds,” Greg said.
“It is our intention to use the DBS to establish and rejuvenate pastures that have been severely depleted as a result of erratic rainfall distribution, Corbie Grubs, etc.
The benefits of the machine include:
1. One pass function reducing operational costs.
2. The machine’s unique design enables it to break through existing plow pans thereby enhancing water and oxygen infiltration.
3. The machine can handle substantial trash levels enabling us to plant directly into existing, albeit, depleting pasture swards without using chemicals.
4. This enables the positive contribution from soil microbes.
“Let’s give biology a GO.”

Ausplow sets out exciting plans for 2019

category: 
General
Ausplow managing director John Ryan AM and his partner Bernadette Turner welcomed guests at last Saturday’s annual Ausplow Christmas wind-up at the Fremantle Sailing Club.

Ausplow managing director John Ryan AM and his partner Bernadette Turner welcomed guests at last Saturday’s annual Ausplow Christmas wind-up at the Fremantle Sailing Club.

Former CSIRO soil scientist Dr Margaret Roper caught up with Ausplow managing director John Ryan AM. Pictured with Margaret is her husband John Hanratty.

Former CSIRO soil scientist Dr Margaret Roper caught up with Ausplow managing director John Ryan AM. Pictured with Margaret is her husband John Hanratty.

Ausplow general manager Chris Farmer (left) and marketing and sales manager Chris Blight flank Chris Blight’s partner Josianne ‘Josie’ Sabouriaut.

Ausplow general manager Chris Farmer (left) and marketing and sales manager Chris Blight flank Chris Blight’s partner Josianne ‘Josie’ Sabouriaut.

Ausplow service technician Dave Finlay (left) with assemblers Tony Kennedy and Neil Langford. (Ausplow marketing and sales manager Chris Blight is obscured on the left).

Ausplow service technician Dave Finlay (left) with assemblers Tony Kennedy and Neil Langford. (Ausplow marketing and sales manager Chris Blight is obscured on the left).

Ausplow engineering manager Carol Erasmus (left) and her mother Melody were kept busy with Carol’s daughters Aria (left) and Carley, who didn’t want their photograph taken.

Ausplow engineering manager Carol Erasmus (left) and her mother Melody were kept busy with Carol’s daughters Aria (left) and Carley, who didn’t want their photograph taken.

Enjoying the pleasant surrounds of the Fremantle Sailing Club were Ausplow procurement manager Glenn Hubbard with his wife Ann.

Enjoying the pleasant surrounds of the Fremantle Sailing Club were Ausplow procurement manager Glenn Hubbard with his wife Ann.

It’s onward and upwards for Ausplow Farming Systems, according to its owner and managing director John Ryan AM.
Foremost in John’s mind was the outstanding finish by most DBS owners who reported surprisingly higher-yielding crops than forecast.
“The dry start to this year again showed the value of the DBS in achieving good plant establishment even in dry conditions,” John said. “Deeper cultivation below the seed is paramount to ensure roots have easier access to subsoil moisture and this was the case this year with owners reporting crops hanging on and obviously accessing summer moisture that fell in January and February.”
John already is in planning mode for next year with several exciting trials already on the drawing board along with a ‘proof of concept’ trial which John says could be a game-changer for broadacre crop-establishment.
“I’m looking forward to another interesting year as we continue our journey with DBS owners to improve all aspects of crop establishment,” he said.
“We move towards 2019 with a very healthy order book which reinforces our leading position in the market.
“And our aim is to stay on top, driven by our growing relationships with our owners and our desire to improve our technology.
“I would like to wish my staff, the farming community, our suppliers and friends a very special Happy Christmas.
“It’s a special family I’m very proud of and I hope everybody enjoys a good break and re-boots for 2019.”

Ausplow moves ahead of steel price rises

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General
Ausplow general manager Chris Farmer checks over the latest delivery of steel at the company’s Naval Base factory this week. An astute ordering move means there will be no price increases related to imminent price rises in steel.

Ausplow general manager Chris Farmer checks over the latest delivery of steel at the company’s Naval Base factory this week. An astute ordering move means there will be no price increases related to imminent price rises in steel.

With recent news of an imminent price rise in steel, said to be around nine per cent, Ausplow has purchased six months usage of steel at old prices in order to beat the steel price rises and hence hold off price increases as long as we can.
We also have some availability for February, March and April deliveries of Auseeder DBS bars.
Unfortunately orders for our Multistream is basically closed for the 2018/2019 season.
“We have had very strong demand for both bars and bins this season and with harvest underway and seemingly going well we are expecting our order books to close out over the coming months,” Ausplow general manager Chris Farmer said. “We have hired additional production labour to keep up with the strong sales demand for next season.”

DBS and ProTrakker prove right combination

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General
Cranrook farmer Theo Cunningham (left) and Burando Hill salesman Michael Kowald in front of a healthy GD53 canola crop which was established in April . “We can achieve these sort of crops more consistently now we have a ProTrakker linked to a DBS and liquid injection,” Theo said.

Cranrook farmer Theo Cunningham (left) and Burando Hill salesman Michael Kowald in front of a healthy GD53 canola crop which was established in April . “We can achieve these sort of crops more consistently now we have a ProTrakker linked to a DBS and liquid injection,” Theo said.

Cranbrook farmer Theo Cunningham (left) and Burando Hill salesman Michael Kowald discuss the hydraulic set-up on the ProTrakker guidance system, which is connected to the Cunningham's DBS precision seeder. It's a system growing in popularity to establish crops in the previous year's rows without disturbing stubble.

Cranbrook farmer Theo Cunningham (left) and Burando Hill salesman Michael Kowald discuss the hydraulic set-up on the ProTrakker guidance system, which is connected to the Cunningham's DBS precision seeder. It's a system growing in popularity to establish crops in the previous year's rows without disturbing stubble.

By KEN WILSON
CRANBROOK farmer Theo Cunningham calls the ProTrakker guidance hitch, a game-changer.
It’s a big call but results on the family farm are impressive and Theo, along with his parents Twynam and Elizabeth are convinced it’s a new tool which can provide more consistent crop yields.
Their appraisal of the hydraulically-controlled ProTrakker was measured against a background of issues on the family farm which has moved to 70 per cent cropping (3000ha) mixed with carrying 10,000 sheep, including 6000 Billandri-blood breeding Merino ewes.

With a district average annual rainfall of 500mm, Cranbrook is a safe district, but there still remains non-wetting issues.
The Cunninghams immediately saw the advantage of the ProTrakker - in combination with their Ausplow DBS precision seeder - providing the ability to sow into the previous year’s crop rows without disturbing stubbles (so-called edge-row sowing) and thus overcoming non-wetting problems with the bonus of accessing moisture and residual nutrients.
“Non-wetting was a big reason why we bought the ProTrakker,” Twynam said. “And it also has given us the ability to sow to a date, whether it has rained or not.
“And that’s very important in this environment where getting crops growing and active before winter is difficult if you have too much moisture and low soil temperatures.
“But if you can get the plants away early, they will power away through winter.”
And that will go a long way to raising the bar on their crop yields.

The ProTrakker was bought in 2015 from WA distributor Burando Hill and after three seasons of use, Theo says the theory of the benefits of edge-row sowing is now solid fact.
“It has given us the ability to establish crops every year during the optimum growing window while minimising the risk of establishment,” he said. “That gives plants the chance to achieve their yield potential.

“Our average crops yields are slowly creeping up but the best thing is that we are now more confident in our expectations of reliably achieving 1.8 tonnes (a hectare) with canola, three tonnes with wheat and 3.5t/ha with barley.
“These have become realistic figures for our annual budgets.”
This year provided compelling reasons for the Cunninghams to use the ProTrakker.
Theo said their canola “went in on rain” on April 15 and germinated a week later.
“We didn’t get any more rain until late May but we put our DBS in at seven inches (175 millimetres) and we got a wick-effect by tapping into subsoil moisture.
“We got really even germination which was better than with the spring tine bar we used previously.
“I think the canola that went in on April 15 will be our best crop.”

Theo credits the combination of the Pro Trakker, DBS and use of liquid nutrient injection for the above average crops he will take off in coming weeks.
“I think the ProTrakker paid for itself last year and next year we’re thinking we’ll have the whole game together, using the ProTrakker, DBS, dual shoot and liquid injection” he said. “For us, that’s the meaning of precision farming.”

According to Theo operating the ProTrakker is an easy exercise.
“It’s a simple kit and it took us about 10 minutes to undo the normal hitch and replace it with the ProTrakker hitch,” he said.
Operating on RTK guidance, the hydraulically-operated ProTrakker ensures almost zero bar drift, meaning a sowing tine can be placed millimetres (sub-inch) away from the previous year’s cropping row.

Theo said it was noticeable the “easier going” operating next to old cropping rows rather than the harder inter-row of sandy gravel-over-clay.
“When the ProTrakker is not engaged, you can notice bar drift, particularly on hilly slopes, but when it’s turned on, you can look out the back and see the hitch constantly making slight adjustments to keep the bar straight.”

According to Theo, the ProTrakker will bring with it added flexibility, especially easily adapting to thicker straw in good years.
“We know we will always be able to sow alongside the stubble and dictate exactly where we want our seed to be placed,” he said.
“The trash control is another big feature because we want as much standing as possible to mitigate wind damage and enhance moisture capture.
“There will be a little creep each year but we will still be near the previous year’s furrow.
“In some runs when stubble is a bit thick and not running straight, we can adjust the ProTrakker to sow between rows to keep trash flow going.
‘It’s not a big deal but it means we’re not creating any bulldozing of stubble and I’d rather avoid that and wait until later to work out what we do with the line in that paddock for next year.
“Generally we just go back to the default setting of the previous year.”
(Courtesy Farm Weekly).

Ausplow factory note: A ProTrakker hitch with electrics supplied by Burando Hill is an option on Ausplow’s 2019 Series II Multistream.
In tow-between configuration, the hitch attaches to the DBS for RTK guidance side-furrow sowing.

Standout improvements on the Series II include a stainless-steel auger with poly flighting, which was a purpose design to greatly reduce or eliminate grain damage along with quiet running.
Enhancements also have been made to the safety ladder, step-over and walkway with the option for a range of light kits.
The pump station has been enclosed and is ergonomically positioned for ease of access and servicing.

It can be retro-fitted to existing Multistream models to convert to liquid or a granular-liquid mix.
And all hydraulic lines are laid out on ‘cable trays’ running the length of the Multistream.
All poly tanks easily convert from granular to liquid and there’s a lot of flexibility in product splits.
The Multistream is available with capacities from 6000 litres to 28,000L.

DBS shines showing benefits in dry sowing

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General
Boekeman Machinery Dalwallinu branch manager James Mitchell (left) and Buntine farmer Mike Dodd, discuss the Pro-D blades and leading coulters on Mike’s DBS precision seeder.

Boekeman Machinery Dalwallinu branch manager James Mitchell (left) and Buntine farmer Mike Dodd, discuss the Pro-D blades and leading coulters on Mike’s DBS precision seeder.

By KEN WILSON
HINDSIGHT always provides lessons.
And one that Buntine farmer Mike Dodd recalled recently was his decision to buy a seeding rig in 2008.
The context was that he was coming off a drought and money was tight. And throw in the Global Financial Crisis.
“I was in the market for a seeding rig and I was deciding between a 60 foot (18.2 metres) DBS and a spring tine 60 foot overseas model,” he said. “I went for the overseas model, with the bar, bin and liquid cart leaving $35,000 in my pocket.
“But I should have paid the $35,000 and got a DBS.”
The reason for that comment was that he bought a DBS in 2017 and it has taken only two seasons to see the benefits in terms of even crop germination and higher yields.
In 2016, he bought a liquid-compatible Ausplow Multistream air seeder to replace a tow-behind liquid cart and a tow-Between airseeder cart so it felt like a natural progression to add the DBS to the Multistream the following year.
“We generally dry sow at the start to get our program in during the optimum sowing window,” Mike said. “And in the first year the crop was very even and I’d never seen it like that.
“It was very obvious the difference between having hydraulic tines on the DBS as against the spring tines which tended to chatter in dry working.
“When it rained you’d see more staggered germinations which showed the variations in seed depth because of the spring tine and sowing boots.
“With the DBS, the parallelogram module gives you more scope in tight country where the press wheel and parallelogram can operate at a different angle but it doesn’t affect the set seeding depth.
“And having the ability to dig deeper without affecting seed depth is huge.”
Interestingly, Mike said there were no problems seeding with the DBS on deep ripped sandplain, even though it was fitted with leading coulters to cut trash and create a better stubble flow.
Tines spacings were 300 millimetres (12 inches) and the upgrade to the wider flotation tyres on the bar really helped.
“This did change, however, post-rainfall but an hour fine-tuning the bar level soon sent us on our way,” Mike said.
Coil packers were employed behind the Ausplow deep ripper so there was a measure of firmness in the topsoil.
“We’ve got the Pro-D blades so we can adjust them to work between seven and nine inches (175 millimetres and 225mm) and that’s easily achieved without compromising seed depth,” Mike said.
“We started dry sowing on April 19 this year working at eight inches (200mm) but I think in a few years we’ll be down to nine inches (225mm) because I think the deeper you can go the better.”
Having said that Mike admitted the deeper working caused canola seed to go in deeper.
“We should have used the canola boot,” he said. “We wanted 5-10mm but we ended up seeding at 15-20mm.
“It was slow away but when it rained it all came up and the germination was pretty even, though the deeper-sown stuff was probably a week behind the neighbour’s canola.”
With an opening rain on May 25, Mike said the dry sowing paid off with the crop now set up.
“We just need a good finishing rain,” he said.
Mike also is happy using the 19,500 litre capacity Multistream, with five tanks.
This year he used 50 litres a hectare of Flexi-N and considered the Friction Flow tubing kit supplied by Furrow Management Systems as “brilliant”.
“We didn’t get any blockages, which takes one less hassle out of the equation,” he said. (With kind permission FARM WEEKLY).

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