General news category

Ausplow showcases staff at Dowerin

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General
Ausplow was represented by a majority of its staff at Dowerin to handle customer queries and inquiries. The team included managing director John Ryan AM (fourth from the right),

Ausplow was represented by a majority of its staff at Dowerin to handle customer queries and inquiries. The team included managing director John Ryan AM (fourth from the right),

Ausplow sales and marketing manager Chris Blight (left) caught up with Farm Machinery & Industry Association executive director John Henchy at the Ausplow display.

Ausplow sales and marketing manager Chris Blight (left) caught up with Farm Machinery & Industry Association executive director John Henchy at the Ausplow display.

Retired New Norcia farmer and DBS owner Ian Wright made a bee-line for Ausplow’s display after a one hour wait at the entrance gate as crowds flocked in to the event. He’s pictured here with Ausplow’s Bernadette Turner.

Retired New Norcia farmer and DBS owner Ian Wright made a bee-line for Ausplow’s display after a one hour wait at the entrance gate as crowds flocked in to the event. He’s pictured here with Ausplow’s Bernadette Turner.

Ausplow sales and marketing manager Chris Blight (right) with Wongan Hills farmers Kristian Perry (left) and Terry Clune, explaining the DBS Pro-D system.

Ausplow sales and marketing manager Chris Blight (right) with Wongan Hills farmers Kristian Perry (left) and Terry Clune, explaining the DBS Pro-D system.

Ausplow’s display at this year’s Dowerin field days showcased its popular DBS precision seeder and Series II Multistream air seeder. As usual, the company’s specialist staff were on hand to assist with inquiries.

Ausplow’s display at this year’s Dowerin field days showcased its popular DBS precision seeder and Series II Multistream air seeder. As usual, the company’s specialist staff were on hand to assist with inquiries.

It’s rare for a company to have ‘all hands-on deck’ at a machinery field day.
But at this year’s Dowerin field days Ausplow fielded its specialist staff from designers, to technicians, sales, technical support, operations manager, general manager and, of course, managing director John Ryan AM.
According to company sales and marketing manager Chris Blight the focus this year was on the company with the opportunity for DBS owners and the general public to speak with company staff.
“We regard ourselves as family with our clients and I think we have a fairly unique relationship from which many of our improvements have been generated from this relationship,” Chris said.
“As a company we are constantly evolving our products to ensure they are of the highest standard to meet Australian conditions.
“And we aim to ensure the finish of our products is second to none.”
It is widely known throughout the industry that Ausplow products hold their value and this is reflected in high market demand for used DBS precision seeders and Multistream air seeders.
“Many DBS owners have told me they have actually got more for their bar than what they paid for it,” Chris said.
With the DBS concept of precision seeding well proven after more than 25 years in the market place, Chris said the Multistream had also proven its value.
“We are getting increased sales for bar and bin now because of the flexibility and versatility we can offer, whether it be granular or liquid nutrients,” Chris said.
“It’s a conversation we have with all our clients to determine which is the best configuration that suits their enterprise for seed and fertiliser placement because there are a variety of ways of achieving precision placement.
“And whichever way you choose, you also are still achieving the best environment in which plants can grow with a healthy root system.
“In that regard nothing much has changed over those more than 25 years, with the DBS providing a precision system that achieves as optimum a soil environment as possible through the growing season for plants to thrive.
“That has always been the company’s focus in developing and designing our products.”
Another hallmark of Ausplow’s reputation is its after-sales service support.
“We always make a point of going out to farms to check on DBS owners to see if everything is going okay and to get feedback on equipment performance,” Chris said.
“This has helped us enormously in evaluating and in many cases implementing good ideas that come from owners.
“Everybody is unique and so we understand that it can take different adjustments for different conditions to achieve optimum performance from our products.
“And that’s what we want for all our clients.”

Ausplow technology on show

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Ausplow’s M24000 tow-between granular and liquid-ready Multistream air seeder. It’s one of an eight model range with several models to be showcased at machinery field days throughout Australia during the next two months.

Ausplow’s M24000 tow-between granular and liquid-ready Multistream air seeder. It’s one of an eight model range with several models to be showcased at machinery field days throughout Australia during the next two months.

Feedback from Ausplow DBS owners has confirmed a growing desire to move to liquid nutrients at seeding.
And this is reflected in an increase in sales of Ausplow’s granular and liquid-ready Multistream air seeder, which is designed with electric over hydraulic variable rate technology and liquid section control.
“We’re now consistently getting more orders for the complete Ausplow rig of the DBS and Multistream,” company sales and marketing manager Chris Blight said.
“And we’ll have the rig on display at most of the field days we’ll be attending over the next two months.”
Ausplow released its eight model Series II Multistream range last year with the new models ranging in capacity from 14,000 litres to 28,000L and according to Chris, there’s a host of changes which represent “big value for money”.
“I think more importantly, though, is the fact we are evolving the Multistream with the DBS precision seeder to position both products at the cutting edge of new farming technologies,” he said.
“Farmers definitely want value for money but they also want products that are flexible to suit their individual needs and we’re providing that, along with equipment that is strongly-built and made in WA.”
The main new features include:
• A stainless-steel air system, implement guidance systems-ready, updated hydraulic control valve which is ISOBUS-compatible to suit the most popular controllers in the market;
• A fully hydraulic 10-inch diameter auger with remote control as standard (stainless steel barrel and smooth poly-cupped flytes, delivering gentle and quiet action to reduce seed and fertiliser damage);
• Hydraulic metering to suit variable rate applications from prescription maps;
• A dual fan option to cater for higher rates and wider bars;
• A stainless steel Hypro pump with ‘dial-up’ agitation;
• Push-button LED light package mounted on the chassis for implements, service, walkway, auger and safety;
• Diversion of heated air from the heat exchanger into delivery hoses; separate looms for lights, cameras and controller;
• Marine-grade stainless steel metering units;
• Optional cameras are fitted onto the granular metering unit;
• Choice of tyres or tracks and a re-designed safety platform (tow-behind models).
• Collapsible walkway.
All models come in tow-between configurations with specific tow-behind models being the M14000, M15000, M18000 and M19500. And there’s a specialist polyethylene small tank (1500L) for small seeds, dry inoculants and other granular-type products.
Models come with single or dual wheels, and for CTF systems options for three-metre centres.
“We’ve also done a lot of work to make the Multistream more functional and easier to use and service,” Chris said.
“An example is the positioning of a small accumulator as oil enters the heat exchanger radiator to eliminate oil surges.
“Such events cause high pressure and can crack the radiator.
“There’s also the ability to bridge tanks to suit product configurations.
“We have capacities from 1500 litres to 4700L which can be bridged, for example, a 4700L and a 4400L to give you 9100L of the same product.
“Another example is a separate fill station with a 75mm connection for faster fill, which comes as standard on all models.
“And the stainless cabinet which houses the liquid work station is easily accessed for service and has an added feature where you can flush the bar circuit, apart from tank rinse and purging controls.
“We’ve also designed a stand-alone hungry board to attach to the auger hopper to increase in-fill capacity.
“This can then be easily and quickly removed when the auger is used for back-fill.”
Ausplow’s specialist staff will be attending most major machinery field days throughout Australia.

Assessing new crop establishment system

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General
This example of near-row sowing is where Kweda farmer Jeff Edwards is heading with trials this year leading towards establishing the BioFurrow™ system in the near future.

This example of near-row sowing is where Kweda farmer Jeff Edwards is heading with trials this year leading towards establishing the BioFurrow™ system in the near future.

Kweda and DBS owner Jeff Edwards believes a holistic approach is his best pathway to a sustainable and profitable farming enterprise.
The family crops 5000 hectares and manages 3000ha of pasture, running 6500 Merino breeding ewes, ‘maxxing’ out the flock at 14,000 head.
Soils comprise mainly duplex sandplain with some heavy country.
The holistic approach comes from Jeff’s desire to improve soil health.
He is a big fan of digging soil pits which have revealed weaknesses in the sandplain soils.
“I have always been concerned about the impact of current farming systems on soils, particularly from chemicals, compaction and other practices,” he said.
"If we want to keep producing more from less rainfall, we really need to look at our soil health and what is happening down at depth, not just on the surface.
“That’s why I believe the Ausplow hypothesis of the BioFurrow ™ is credible. (The BioFurrow™ is, in, effect, near-row sowing but is essentially a ‘furrow for life’ as opposed to ‘nudging’ the furrow across the landscape in each cropping year).
“To me it’s a logical way to increase soil health, which is my main goal.
“And if I can achieve that I will be evening out the highs and lows of seasons with improved water-use efficiency during the growing season.”
While Jeff is a strong advocate of the DBS he also believes that there is a “first step” before setting up the BioFurrow™, which is basically near-row sowing but using the same “pot plant” created by the DBS each year.
“Digging the soil pits showed me our subsoils were basically dead and that’s why I started incorporating lime and gypsum,” he said.
“Last year I used a Bednar Terraland to mix the gypsum and lime on a 500ha test paddock at a depth of 450 mills and then sowed with the DBS.
“The result was very encouraging and the return on investment was definitely there with a one tonne a hectare average above yields we got in the paddocks we didn’t work.
“And we have seen faster elevation of soil pH in the 500ha paddock moving to around 5.5pH.
“This year we will rip lime in at 250mm as we expand our trial to 1000ha.
“The 60-foot DBS on 10 inch spacings easily handled the softer area we Terralanded; we just fitted the bigger 90mm press wheels and reset the chocks so there was no room for error.
“Next year we may have a crack at setting up for near-row sowing employing the BioFurrow™ hypothesis.
“My thoughts are that if we do set up for the BioFurrow™ we will bring country into that regime after we have set it up with lime and gypsum applications.
“This year we’ll trial cross-tracking (sowing at an angle over last year’s plants) and assess. (Jeff doesn’t see stubble issues because crops are harvested at beer can height and stubbles grazed).
“It makes sense to me to get the soil in a better state before we start on the BioFurrow™.
“And I think there should be more focus on the plant availability of nutrients which logically involves having healthy populations of micro biota in the soil.
“Soil health is our main goal because it will lead to increased profits with more stable production in moisture-limiting years.
“Importantly financiers will be on board because of that and the resultant increase in land values.”

Ausplow R@D trials continue

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Good moisture levels have ensured a great start to Ausplow's R @ D trials program at its Quairading Research Centre this year.

Good moisture levels have ensured a great start to Ausplow's R @ D trials program at its Quairading Research Centre this year.

Trialling the hypothesis of near-row sowing is pivotal to Ausplow's BioFurrow crop establishment system.

Trialling the hypothesis of near-row sowing is pivotal to Ausplow's BioFurrow crop establishment system.

Ausplow is continuing its research and development trials at its Quairading research centre to validate its BioFurrow™ hypothesis.
A number of replicated trials established by near-row sowing aims to identify the best nutrient management for crop production aligned with the creation of the BioFurrow™ by the DBS.
Previous research trials have shown the BioFurrow™ is the ideal ‘pot plant’ to provide plants an optimum environment through the growing season.
Key to this environment is moisture and air which allows beneficial bacteria in the top soil to successfully interact with nutrients for the benefit of plants and the benefit of the soil, ie, building carbon to increase water-holding capacity.
While it won’t happen overnight, former CSIRO scientist and microbiologist Dr Margaret Roper, who is overseeing Ausplow’s R @ D trial program at Quairading, said the BioFurrow™ provided significant benefits for developing a seedling.
She makes the point that there between one and two tonnes a hectare of microbes in the top 10 centimetres, equating to more than 10 billion microbes in a kilogram of soil, with literally kilometres of fungal hyphae.
Fungal hyphae spread like a network to capture nutrients and in a highly complex symbiotic relationship, bacteria and fungi provide nutrients to plant roots while accessing food in the form of exudates from the roots.
This ‘food’ represents the building blocks of soil humus leading to an increase in organic carbon.
A classic visual of this process is the ‘dreadlock’ roots you find on healthy plants, with soil and microbes adhering to plant roots.
The concept of the BioFurrow™ is not new and is often referred to as near-row sowing, with implement steering guidance.
The difference with the BioFurrow™ is that the same row is used to seed crops every year rather than ‘nudging’ across the paddock to establish the next season’s rows.
Interestingly Dr Roper has been at the forefront of research into near-row sowing.
It started 25 years ago and she is confident the hypothesis of the BioFurrow™ is now at a stage to trial over a range of moisture and soil conditions, with DBS owners encouraged to do their own trials.
Dr Roper said the DBS sowing system, particularly, provided significant benefits for a developing seedling.
“Firstly, the provision of liquid nutrients directly below the seed provides a source of water vapour for seed germination,” Dr Roper said.
“The ‘precision seed bed’, created by the DBS closing tool to provide a firm and aerated base for the seed, contains fine capillaries through which water vapour (from the liquid nutrients) can rise to the seed and promote germination.
“Scientific research also has presented evidence that water vapour is the primary source of water for seed germination in unsaturated soils.
“This surprising result stems from the fact that although hydraulic conductivity decreases by several orders of magnitude as soil water content decreases, relative humidity within the soil remains near 100 per cent, as long as the soil water content is above wilting point.”
(Wilting point is the minimal point of soil moisture the plant requires not to wilt).
Dr Roper also said the provision of liquid nutrients directly below the seed provided an immediate source of nutrients in available forms in close proximity to newly emerged roots.
“And the soft-closing press wheel of the DBS covers the seed, creating a firm but not compacted indented surface which collects water and enables air exchange around the germinating seed,” Dr Roper said.

Make money and build the soil

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Organic matter is the building block of sustainable and profitable crop production.

Organic matter is the building block of sustainable and profitable crop production.

By JOHN RYAN AM
It is clearly evident the Federal Government wants soil carbon back on its agenda.
Recent comments by Prime Minister Scott Morrison that he wants to initiate a soil carbon capture scheme involving the agricultural industry are encouraging.
And it follows on from Ausplow’s efforts, relating to our BioFurrow™ hypothesis.
Farmers are becoming increasingly aware of the importance of soil organic matter – otherwise known as soil carbon, which is essential for crop production.
And the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) has also weighed in, citing that the world’s soils have become degraded, particularly as a result of chemical-heavy farming techniques, deforestation, etc.
So it is up to us to develop farming systems that nurture the soil and its components, including organic matter and microbial communities that drive soil health and function, and plant growth.
Ausplow’s R&D work is exploring how the BioFurrow™ (which is aligned with the DBS system of crop establishment) can be used to sequester carbon.
I can only assume many scientists are unaware of what agriculture has achieved over the past 25 years as witnessed by the stories of DBS owners, two of which are partly re-printed in this edition.
If scientists want ways to improve carbon sequestration, come and have a look at what DBS owners are achieving in Australia.
It was always my intention in designing the DBS to enable accurate seed placement while building the right soil environment for seedling growth and beneficial soil biota.
Soil biota is broadly defined as a group of microscopic life forms that include bacteria, viruses, fungi and other microscopic creatures which are critical for plant health.
And I have always maintained that using the DBS provides you with a tool to make money while building the soil.
That has been the experience with DBS owners.
First adoptees used to comment on the fact that they couldn’t fill dams because rain stayed where it fell, similar to Keyline Farming, invented by my uncle PA Yeomans in New South Wales.
Within five years owners were telling us the ground was softer and more friable and easier to work. This is what happens when organic matter levels build up in soil.
And it didn’t take long for owners to discover that the DBS was perfect for dry sowing and breaking hardpans to allow subsoil moisture to rise to the seedbed.
All of this remains true today but the evolution of the DBS has seen it as the perfect vehicle for BioFurrow™ farming, turning my ‘pot plant’ description into a ‘furrow for life’.
As DBS owners recognise - and hopefully scientists will start to understand - such a system will stop soil degradation and start soil recovery.
As this slowly occurs side benefits become readily apparent as some DBS owners already have experienced - elevated organic carbon levels, more normal soil pH, increased organic carbon and nitrogen levels, and healthier crops, pastures and livestock.
I am sure this would be music to the ears of scientists pleading for the adoption of “new approaches” to build and conserve our soils. I would encourage them to visit DBS owners and see what is already being accomplished.
For DBS owners I see the BioFurrow™ as the pathway to greater profits while maintaining soils that can sequester carbon.
DBS owners and NSW farmer Greg Chappell summed it up best: “Wouldn’t it be great if every farmer in Australia had a goal to lift organic carbon levels on their farms by one percent.”

SA farmers back BioFurrow™ sowing

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South Australian Ausplow dealer Ramsey Bros director Hamish Ward (left), Cummins, SA and Eyre Peninsula farmer Steve Glover.

South Australian Ausplow dealer Ramsey Bros director Hamish Ward (left), Cummins, SA and Eyre Peninsula farmer Steve Glover.

Eyre Peninsula farmers Peter and Steve Glover are keen supprters of Ausplow’s BioFurow™ hypothesis.
In fact, for the past 20 years the brothers have unwittingly been using two 60-foot (18.2 metre) DBS precision seeders in what might be called defacto BioFurrow™ crop establishment.
Having bought their first DBS in 2000, the brothers, soon noticed better germinations sowing across the previous year’s furrows.
“We’ve got a significant percentage of our program (9000 hectares) that is non-wetting,” Steve Glover said. “And it was evident that where we sowed close to the old rows, we got a strike, whereas we got nothing in the dry soil between the rows.
“It ended up like a checkerboard pattern in the non-wetting paddocks and while germinations were staggered we got about 60 per cent of the plants up, which was a better result than previous attempts which might have germinated between 10 and 20pc.
“It was very obvious there was residual moisture in the old root pathways that was available to the seeds supporting information that I had heard about sowing in-furrrow.
“We wanted to retain our stubbles which is why we went for 12 inch spacings and on our worst non-wetting paddocks, crop is now established on an angle from the previous year’s rows.
“These paddocks tend to have less stubble residue, and so physically getting through the stubbles is less of an issue.
“It was no surprise to me that there would be a moisture band that seeds could capitalise on if they were closer to those old rows.”
Steve said sowing straight either inter-row, in-row or between 20-30 millimetres from the row would be a way to repeat every year.
“But we’ve two 60-footers and you can get it wrong, even with RTK guidance, if you say sow 100mm off from the row because nothing will come up (in the non-wetting soil).”
(The reason for this is that some spacings are not exactly 12 inches and some rows, because of the tine layout for stubble handling, mean spacings can be 11 inches or 13 inches).
“So sowing across the rows is all about accessing moisture and in the non-wetting soils it is a compromise but it gets a better result than sowing up and back,” Steve said.
“And with the two bars we’re not necessarily going in the same direction every year like you would if you just had one bar.”
After 20 years of “angle sowing” there remains a lot of old root pathways but interestingly Steve says the majority of moisture tends to congregate in the previous year’s rows.
The other observation is that the sandy loams, red loams and limestone soils have become softer.
“There’s no argument that the one-pass and knife blade technology of the DBS had helped considerably in making the soils softer,” he said.
“The key is moisture and air and the action of the DBS creates some deep ripping to allow moisture to get down with nutrients so there’s also some amelioration going on too.
“And we know where you’ve got moisture you got biological activity which is probably another name for Mother Nature.
“The DBS had been a great machine for us and its technology is helping us to achieve more consistent yields every year particularly in those low moisture seasons where it would have been hard to achieve meaningful yields if you didn’t have that DBS technology.
“And it really shines in the non-wetting soils.”

DBS, Multistreams ready for action

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Farmers check out an Ausplow deep ripper during the recent Boekeman Machinery Ride and Drive Day at Wongan Hills.

Farmers check out an Ausplow deep ripper during the recent Boekeman Machinery Ride and Drive Day at Wongan Hills.

With a positive tone in the air before the start of the 2021 season, one of Ausplow’s top machinery dealers, Boekeman Machinery, reports all DBS owners are ready to go.
“We had an upsurge in sales for this year and all new machines and upgrades have been delivered well ahead of time,” Boekeman Machinery salesman Ben Boekeman said.
“Such is the appeal of the DBS we’ve also taken orders for 2022 with a big uptake for July-build DBS machines, along with a few Multistream air seeders.
“We have got a 100 per cent positive response from owners about the performance of the machines with the DBS, in particular, favoured for its precision seeding and ability to sow in dry conditions.”
Boekeman Machinery recently held a Ride and Drive Day at Wongan Hills where it displayed an Ausplow deep ripper – there was no DBS bar available to display.
“Deep ripping is very much in vogue and with recent rains machines have been in action as farmers take the opportunity to work on ear-marked paddocks,” Ben said.
Ben confirmed the dealership was again planning a 2021 factory tour to Ausplow’s Naval Base and Cockburn Central factories.
“We do it every year and it’s a popular event for DBS owners and prospective owners,” he said.
“It’s pretty unique having the ability to see how your machine is built.”

Moisture, air, key to BioFurrow

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General
This photograph clearly shows the importance of building soil structure to allow access to moisture and air. On the left is a typical ‘brick’ of compacted soil compared to a clod on the right showing roots moving at depth through aerated and structured soil. The latter is the type of result created by the DBS and clearly demonstrates the ‘pot plant’ analysis of how the DBS establishes the right environment for plant root growth.

This photograph clearly shows the importance of building soil structure to allow access to moisture and air. On the left is a typical ‘brick’ of compacted soil compared to a clod on the right showing roots moving at depth through aerated and structured soil. The latter is the type of result created by the DBS and clearly demonstrates the ‘pot plant’ analysis of how the DBS establishes the right environment for plant root growth.

Soil microbiology - in the presence of moisture and air - is the key to the BioFurrow™. That’s the opinion of former CSIRO scientist and microbiologist, Dr Margaret Roper. Dr Roper makes the point that there are between one and two tonnes a hectare of microbes in the top soil with around 70 per cent in the top 10 centimetres, equating to more than 10 billion microbes in a kilogram of soil with literally kilometres of fungal hyphae. Fungal hyphae spread like a network to capture nutrients and in a highly complex symbiotic relationship, bacteria and fungi provide nutrients to plant roots while accessing food in the form of exudates from the roots. A classic visual of this process is the ‘dreadlock’ roots you find on healthy plants, with soil and microbes adhering to roots. But conventional practices such as deep tillage, mouldboarding and spading, while deemed necessary for soil amelioration, can have a detrimental effect on drying out soils and thereby destroying microbial populations which thrive in moist conditions.

 

According to Dr Roper, what science is now showing, through trial research, is a better way to grow crops – by utilizing microbial communities and root systems in the soil. And that is the pith of explaining why the BioFurrow™ - we call the furrow for life – works to enhance this microbial activity for the benefit of plant roots and to aid in building organic carbon levels. The concept of the BioFurrow™ is not new and is often referred to as near-row sowing, with implement steering guidance. The difference with the BioFurrow™ is that the same row is used to seed crops every year rather than ‘nudging’ across the paddock to establish the next season’s rows. Interestingly Dr Roper’s research started 25 years ago and she is confident the hypothesis of the BioFurrow™ is now at a stage to trial over a range of moisture and soil conditions.

 

Dr Roper said the DBS sowing system, particularly, provided significant benefits for a developing seedling. “Firstly, the provision of liquid nutrients directly below the seed provides a source of water vapour for seed germination,” Dr Roper said. “The ‘precision seed bed’, created by the DBS closing tool to provide a firm and aerated base for the seed, contains fine capillaries through which water vapour (from the liquid nutrients) can rise to the seed and promote germination. “Scientific research also has presented evidence that water vapour is the primary source of water for seed germination in unsaturated soils. “This surprising result stems from the fact that although hydraulic conductivity decreases by several orders of magnitude as soil water content decreases, relative humidity within the soil remains near 100 per cent, as long as the soil water content is above wilting point.” Dr Roper also said the provision of liquid nutrients directly below the seed provided an immediate source of nutrients in available forms in close proximity to newly emerged roots. “And the soft-closing press wheel of the DBS covers the seed, creating a firm but not compacted indented surface which collects water and enables air exchange around the germinating seed,” Dr Roper said.

Let's start a conversation

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General
Bencubbin farmer and Nuffield Scholar Nick Gillett said the BioFurrow™ “makes fundamental sense to build our soils and enhance water-holding capacity”.

Bencubbin farmer and Nuffield Scholar Nick Gillett said the BioFurrow™ “makes fundamental sense to build our soils and enhance water-holding capacity”.

By JOHN RYAN AM

 

Since announcing our BioFurrow™ story last year I have received a lot of positive feedback from DBS owners. And the most striking comment came from New South Wales farmer Greg Chappell, Glen Innes. “Wouldn’t it be great if every farmer in Australia had a goal to lift the organic carbon levels on their farms by one per cent,” Greg said. “Imagine the enormous impact that would have on the nation’s effort to sequester carbon and the increased respect it would have for agriculture.” I think Greg has hit the nail on the head and it is the reason, I think, we should start a conversation on the BioFurrow™.

 

Central to everything we have written thus far on the benefits of the BioFurrow™, is the ability to sequester carbon while improving our soils and farm profits. We are already planning our 2021 trial program at our Quairading Research and Development Centre and we also are excited about several DBS owners who are keen to be involved in trials on their own properties. As part of the conversation on the BioFurrow™ we also present the following comments from DBS owners:

 

Theo Cunningham, Cranbrook: We’ve been doing implement-steer near-row sowing for five years and this year we started trialling the BioFurrow™. Previously we had been nudging across the paddock and I thought why not stick to the same row so we did a trial paddock where we nudged left about two centimetres and didn’t disturb the stubble. There were no negatives and it made it easier for the air seeder driver using the shift on our guidance. We’ve kept a record of what we’ve done and for 2021 we’ll nudge right near the same row and I expect that from now on we’ll do it for our entire program. It just makes sense and I’m excited by the innovation which can employ the latest technologies. I think we’ll also see some cost efficiencies because we will be using less diesel and perhaps we won’t have to deep rip if we can maintain furrows for life. (Theo’s trial work this year was the inspiration for the Bio Furrow™).

Greg Chappell, Glenn Innes, NSW: I’ve always said it’s important to get the biology working and the BioFurrow™ will do just that. It makes a lot of sense, particularly providing a stable environment where we can have a crack at building our organic carbon levels. That’s the crux to improve our water-holding capacity for growing crops in our variable climates. Wouldn’t it be great if every farmer in Australia had a goal to lift the organic carbon levels on their farms by one per cent. Imagine the enormous impact that would have on the nation’s effort to sequester carbon and the increased respect it would have for agriculture.

Brendan Smart, Keith, SA: The BioFurrow™ makes irrefutable sense. Although we don’t have the guidance technology of implement steering to do it yet, I knew something was going on in the late 1990s when we were establishing crops with the DBS on the inter-row with no guidance. We were on 10 inch spacings and you could see every time we got closer to last year’s row, the crops were better. We still see that today and we have put it down to roots accessing more nutrients near the old row. But I 100 per cent agree with the BioFurrow™ concept.

Nick Gillett, Bencubbin, WA: I definitely agree we should start a conversation about this concept because it makes fundamental sense to build our soils and enhance water-holding capacity for our broadacre cropping systems. We have been inter-row sowing since 2003 with a sidearm marker but it was generally seeding freehand and we definitely noticed a positive to crop growth with plants closer the last year’s rows. Since 2005 we have been on RTK guidance and in years when conditions are right we will sow into the old rows chasing moisture where’s there’s not a great stubble load. In principle I support the work being done by Ausplow and I’m keen to do some trials.

Peter Alexander, Glenn Innes, NSW: I think the BioFurrow™ is just comment sense and it’s certainly the way to go for broadacre cropping. At the moment we’re trying to combat new country with the DBS and it’s not the sort of country that lends itself to precision guidance. But with our experience with the DBS and what it is achieving for us it is easy to understand why establishing a furrow for life would have a lot of benefits.

Jeff Edwards, Kweda, WA: We’ll definitely give it a go because it makes sense to us. It will cost us about $8000 to upgrade to RTK guidance and there’s a tower next to the farm so that will get us started. I’m excited that we’re now getting opportunities to build organic carbon with a lot more tools in the toolbox. It’s a big challenge but we’re up for a goal of lifting our organic carbon by one per cent. At the moment it ranges from 0.5 to two in the long term pasture paddocks.

 

One subject that came up with many DBS owners we spoke with related to stubble, particularly if it’s a wet season. Implement steering to a large extent should mitigate problems with stubble wrapping around tines but leading disc coulters will greatly assist by cutting old lateral plant roots to prevent bulldozing which can also lead to dragging in stubble into the tines. Those involved in near-row sowing know that while we’ve had several years of dry starts it’s only a matter of time before a decent wet start is experienced again.

In any event, please let me know of your experiences or ideas to continue our conversation. You can contact me at john@ausplow.com.au

Science shows a way for pathway for BioFurrow

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General
Ausplow general manager Chris Farmer (left), Ausplow R & D Coordinator Dr Margaret Roper and Ausplow trial consultant Dave Seagreen pictured during trial establishment at Ausplow’s Research and Development Centre, Quairading, the site of on-going trials involving the BioFurrow crop establishment system.

Ausplow general manager Chris Farmer (left), Ausplow R & D Coordinator Dr Margaret Roper and Ausplow trial consultant Dave Seagreen pictured during trial establishment at Ausplow’s Research and Development Centre, Quairading, the site of on-going trials involving the BioFurrow crop establishment system.

Classic root 'dreadlocks' are a sign of a healthy plant in healthy soil.

Classic root 'dreadlocks' are a sign of a healthy plant in healthy soil.

Ausplow R & D Coordinator Dr Margaret Roper is a keen supporter of Ausplow’s BioFurrow.
According to Dr Roper, who is a former CSIRO scientist and microbiologist, the key to the BioFurrow™ is soil microbiology - in the presence of moisture – and air.
Dr Roper makes the point that there are between one and two tonnes a hectare of microbes in the top soil with around 70 per cent in the top 10 centimetres, equating to more than 10 billion microbes in a kilogram of soil with literally kilometres of fungal hyphae.
Fungal hyphae spread like a network to capture nutrients and in a highly complex symbiotic relationship, bacteria and fungi provide nutrients to plant roots while accessing food in the form of exudates from the roots.
A classic visual of this process is the ‘dreadlock’ roots you find on healthy plants, the layer of soil plus microbes adhering to roots, known as the rhizosphere.
According to Dr Roper, what science is now showing, through trial research, is a better way to grow crops – by utilizing microbial communities and root systems in the soil.
Plant roots, preserved by no-till, behave as pathways for water infiltration, particularly in water repellent soils, and support large and diverse microbial communities that supply nutrients to plants and contribute to soil health.
Dr Roper said the DBS sowing system also provided significant benefits for a developing seedling.
“Firstly, the provision of liquid nutrients directly below the seed provides a source of water vapour for seed germination,” Dr Roper said.
“The ‘precision seed bed’, created by the DBS closing tool to provide a firm and aerated base for the seed, contains fine capillaries through which water vapour (from the liquid nutrients) can rise to the seed and promote germination.
“Scientific research also has presented evidence that water vapour is the primary source of water for seed germination in unsaturated soils.
“This surprising result stems from the fact that although hydraulic conductivity decreases by several orders of magnitude as soil water content decreases, relative humidity within the soil remains near 100 per cent, as long as the soil water content is above wilting point.”
Dr Roper also said the provision of liquid nutrients directly below the seed provided an immediate source of nutrients in available forms in close proximity to newly emerged roots.
“And the soft-closing press wheel of the DBS covers the seed, creating a firm but not compacted indented surface which collects water and enables air exchange around the germinating seed,” Dr Roper said.

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