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Ausplow trailblazers with liquids

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General
Ausplow general manager Chris Farmer (left), former CSIRO microbiologist Dr Margaret Roper and former Nutrian director Dave Seagreen, who is now working as a consultant for Landmark pictured at the Quairading trial site.

Ausplow general manager Chris Farmer (left), former CSIRO microbiologist Dr Margaret Roper and former Nutrian director Dave Seagreen, who is now working as a consultant for Landmark pictured at the Quairading trial site.

Ausplow has embarked on its most ambitious project in the company’s history.</p>
In May, at its 190ha research and development site (143 acres arable) at Quairading, 40 innovative trials were established to compare granular and liquid fertilisers.
Particular focus is on ‘new age’ liquid nutrients developed in conjunction with former Nutrian director Dave Seagreen, who is now working as a consultant for Landmark.
The trials, with controls, were planned and will be overseen by former CSIRO scientist Dr Margaret Roper, is working as a researcher for Ausplow.
“Essentially we’re evaluating Ausplow’s current system of granular and liquid delivery with a range of new liquid fertilisers, nutrients and trace elements,” Dr Roper said.
“The 10 treatments have been replicated four times in four randomised blocks.”
According to Ausplow general manager Chris Farmer, the trials mark the start of an on-going R&amp;D project by Ausplow to not only evaluate products but also assess efficient product delivery and machinery design.
"We’re taking a holistic approach to crop establishment which has always been a feature of Ausplow as a manufacturer, to adapt technology to make agriculture more sustainable.
“We have consistently said that using the DBS precision seeder enables farmers to improve their soil while making money at the same time.
“And this new project at Quairading aims to re-enforce that philosophy.”
Establishment of the trials involved Ausplow’s plot seeder, configured with three separate liquid delivery tanks and two tanks for seed and compound fertiliser.
The liquid products were delivered through Friction Flow tubing with the ability to experiment with three separate placements to gauge effectiveness in assisting germinating seed.
The plot seeder was towed by a John Deere 9570RT tracked tractor supplied by Ag Implements, Quairading, with liquid and compound products supplied by Primaries, who also have established their own trials on the Ausplow-owned property, north of Quairading.
Ausplow managing director John Ryan AM said the establishment of the trials was a culmination of more than five years of planning.
“As with the development of the DBS and our liquid-delivery Multistream air seeder, this marks another phase of our growth in focusing on what is the optimum way to profitably grow crops and maintain sustainable rotations,” he said.
“We have some very capable and enthusiastic people working on this project and I am excited at where we are heading because it is truly ground-breaking and of significance to farmers throughout the world.
“I have always believed we had an unfinished jigsaw puzzle relating to crop establishment and that really was a motivation for me to develop the DBS and Multistream.
“Now we’re finding more pieces of the puzzle and I think we’re closer to discovering where they fit into the whole picture.”

Using a DBS for 20 years

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General
Boekeman Machinery Wongan Hills salesmen Ben Boekeman (left) and Ewan McLintock, Nathan Davey, Konnongorring and tractor driver Kane Corsini check out Mr Davey’s new DBS precision seeder, replacing his original DBS which he had for 20 years.

Boekeman Machinery Wongan Hills salesmen Ben Boekeman (left) and Ewan McLintock, Nathan Davey, Konnongorring and tractor driver Kane Corsini check out Mr Davey’s new DBS precision seeder, replacing his original DBS which he had for 20 years.

Kondut farmer Tyler Latham (right) and tractor driver Gil Phillips, Ballidu, take a break during a recent canola program employing a new Ausplow seeding rig and a new Case IH Steiger Quadtrac 550, bought from Boekeman Machinery, Wongan Hills.

Kondut farmer Tyler Latham (right) and tractor driver Gil Phillips, Ballidu, take a break during a recent canola program employing a new Ausplow seeding rig and a new Case IH Steiger Quadtrac 550, bought from Boekeman Machinery, Wongan Hills.

Filling the 1500 litre small seeds box with canola. The new Ausplow Multistream air seeder

Filling the 1500 litre small seeds box with canola. The new Ausplow Multistream air seeder

By KEN WILSON
TWENTY years is a fair test for any seeding bar.
Basically, you’re looking for its ability to sow at the right depth with a high degree of repeatability over a range of soil types and soil conditions.
And in the case of Konnongorring farmer Nathan Davey, a bar than can provide a substantial amount of underseed cultivation, especially in drier years.
For Mr Davey, his 12.2 metre DBS precision seeder ticks those boxes and he believes he wouldn’t be farming but for the DBS.
The claim is made against a backdrop of dry starts, which always can be problematic in achieving good crop germinations.
“It’s the way it just digs in,” Mr Davey said. “You can start a program whenever you want to start and you know you’ll always get accurate seed placement.
“Last year was a good example of a dry start with subsoil moisture present.
“We were able to dig a little deeper and get a strike to wet up the seed bed to germinate the crop.
“This year I regard it as perfect dry conditions with no subsoil moisture so when it rains it’ll all come up at once giving us an even germination.
“It’s a very strong bar and over the past 20 years we’ve ripped out a few big rocks but it hasn’t affected the integrity of the seeding modules.”
When Mr Davey bought his first DBS - number 224 - it was the first in the district and this year he has stepped up to the proverbial plate with a new 1260-48E 12.2metre model on 25cm spacings.
“I got my money back on the trade with Boekeman Machinery in Wongan Hills, so that was a bonus and I’m impressed with the back-up service from Boekeman and Ausplow representatives,” he said.
“The fact the DBS is made by an Australian manufacturer counted a lot in my decision to buy it and they’re only a phone call away if you have any queries.”
The other bonus for Nathan is that the action of the DBS has softened the soil.
“There’s more structure in the soil now and rain is staying where it falls,” he said. “It’s hard to fill the dams these days because of the lack of run-off.
“It has led me to lay out poly pipes and invest in tanks and pumps to get bore water for the stock.”
With his new rig, Mr Davey ordered the Ausplow Pro-D tool system with a liquid kit.
“We’ll deep band the Flexi N for all our program including 600ha of Margarita clover we’re planting for sheep feed,” he said.
Also employing a liquid kit for the first time are Kondut farmers Peter and Michelle Latham and their son Tyler.
They bought a D300-61 DBS (18.3m working width) on 30cm spacings linked to a liquid-compatible Ausplow Multistream tow-between 24,000 litre six bin air seeder, which, according to Boekeman Machinery salesman Tim Boekeman is growing in popularity.
The Lathams also bought a Case IH 550 Steiger Quadtrac with Case autosteer RTK guidance and AccuTurn – the latter is a push-button facility that automatically turns the tractors at end-of-row while lifting the seeding bar from working position before returning it to its original position once the turn has been completed.
According to Mr Latham, he opted for a DBS after his brother bought a model and “I tried it out”.
“I put in half my program with my brother’s DBS and compared it to the other half I established with my Flexi-Coil,” he said.
“The DBS crop had more even germination which told me there was more evenness of sowing depth.
“The DBS also had the ability to dig in deeper in our harder soils creating a good shattering effect to get moisture in.”
The Multistream also was the right fit for the farm program.
“I liked the combination of multiple bins to mix products and the simplicity of it,” he said. “And we had a rig that was one brand and built locally.”
The Multistream, also is variable rate-ready, which the Lathams “will look at down the track”.
According to Mr Latham, the Multistream is easy to use with a single fan splitting air for seed and fertiliser through 125mm-wide hoses to secondary hoses.
“There’s heaps of air and there’s an easy setting to vary the amount of air you want for sed and fertiliser,” he said.
“Calibration is a one-man job and it’s easy and accurate.
“I also like the new auger which has poly flighting in a stainless steel barrel and it runs quiet and is easy to manoeuvre with remote control.”
The Multistream also is fitted with 10 cameras wired to in-cab screens allowing the driver ‘live’ status of the metering rollers, bin levels and the trailing DBS.
“It’s a good rig and we get plenty of support from Boekeman Machinery and Ausplow,” Peter said.
According to Tim Boekeman, interest in the Multistream comes on the back of major improvements, including the stainless-steel auger, which is 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 also can be retro-fitted to existing Multistream models to convert to liquid or a granular-liquid mix.
Another interesting option is a ProTrakker hitch with electrics supplied by Burando Hill.
In tow-between configuration, the hitch attaches to the DBS for RTK guidance near-row sowing.
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 reflecting the flexibility of product splits.
The Multistream is available with capacities from 6000 litres to 28,000L.
Interestingly, when it was first released in 2001, it was the world’s first air seeder with liquid capacity. (Courtesy FARM WEEKLY).

Owners schools great sucess

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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'

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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

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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

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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

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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.”

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