A ripper time for all at big field day
A Horsch 12m Joker and Horsch Tiger 6m cultivators formed the centrepieces of AFGRI Equipment’s biggest Ride & Drive event in history, but there was plenty on show for John Deere lovers and those wanting to try something new.
Dust swirled as farmers from WA’s northern grain belt took to the 100ha paddock at WA College of Agriculture — Morawa for two days last month, to test drive dozens of pieces of gear.
From boom sprays, cultivators and airseeders, to headers, tractors and utility vehicles, there was something for everyone and plenty of action in the paddock.
Not only were growers able to see and feel the machinery, they were also able to jump in the cab and give it a whirl — ripping up, spraying water and pretend-seeding to their hearts’ content.
The 100ha set up included six main areas, the first of which was a main tent with detail on farm and data management for farmers, who listened to sessions with AFGRI staff at the start of each day.
Five outdoor stations featured various machines designed for soil preparation, seeding, nurturing and protecting, and harvest.
WA College of Agriculture — Morawa Year 11 student Harrison Reay, 16, was one of many students who wandered down to the paddock to check out the machinery.
While he wasn’t allowed to drive, he enjoyed the chance to see the tillage machines in action, and said he hoped to gain an apprenticeship in heavy diesel mechanics after finishing high school.
“There was a good variety of tyne and disc seeders ... the school doesn’t have a deep ripper, and sometimes there is a big strain on the seeder bar because the ground is a bit rough,” he said.
Muddy River Agricultural WA territory manager Mark Bratten said a big drawcard of the event had been the Horsch Tiger 6m, which was pulled by the JD 9570RX tractor.
“It is a one-pass system, used mainly for ameliorating soils ... so you can dig about 400mm, and bring clay up,” he said.
“In non-wetting soil you are transferring non-wetting soils to lower in the profile.
“Discs are working at about 220m, which will mix in lime and gypsum. Then it comes behind and levels it out.”
Mr Bratten said the Tiger varied from other machines because it was a “one pass”, with about 12 of the beasts in action across WA.
“There are discs bringing the first initial cut, then tynes going to a deeper cut, bringing up good clay and good yellow sands,” he said.
“Then you get a mix in the profile of about 350mm to 400mm ... then you are packing and consolidating that soil, waiting for the airseeder.
“A deep ripper doesn’t quite finish it, ready for seeding, whereas this will.
“You have a seed bed ready, instead of needing to add another process on.”
Young Goomalling farmers Mitchell Lord and Kaleb Siegert made the 280km trip from home on a bus organised by their local AFGRI Equipment dealership, taking a break from spreading urea and spraying at their 10,000ha and 4000ha respective farms.
For Mr Lord, it was the chance to check out the John Deere 9570RX and Horsch Tiger 6M that drew him, to view the pairs’ pulling power and fuel efficiency.
He also wanted to compare two tractors, the John Deere 8570RX and 9520R.
“We have a Horsch drover, and we are happy with it,” Mr Lord said.
East Pithara farmer Jody Fry travelled to Morawa with his brother Shannon, to check out the Horsch 12m Joker — a welcome break from the rock picking he was doing at his 6500ha farm this week.
The Frys run a mixed fleet of gear, including four John Deere tractors and guidance gear.
“We have a precision seeder and are probably looking to upgrade in three years’ time, so we are looking at what is available ... possibly with a bit of extra break out,” he said.
“Seeing seeding gear on the move rather than stationary is always good.”
Chris Nicolaou took a break from spraying fungicide and applying Flexi-N at his East Maya farm and headed north for the Ride & Drive event, leaving his father to finish the last of the spraying at their 1700ha at Maya and 1000ha at Watheroo.
He was keen to check out the John Deere R4060 and John Deere R4045 self-propelled sprayers, both with exact apply and the latter with a carbon-fibre boom.
“We have a tail-long sprayer, so I am interested in a self-propelled,” Mr Nicolaou said.
“We have a 9520T John Deere tractor and an old John Deere 9100 header which has just ticked over 100,000 hours.”
Dozens of AFGRI sales staff from across the northern grain belt attended the event and were on-hand to answer questions.
AFGRI has 14 branches in WA, at Geraldton, Carnamah, Moora, Dalwallinu, Wongan Hills, Perth, Pingelly, Wagin, Lake Grace, Gnowangerup, Boyup Brook, Witchcliffe, Albany and Esperance.
It is finalising its plans to hold a similar, two-day event at Lake Grace in September, with the aim of attracting customers from its southern branches, including Pingelly, Wagin, Boyup Brook, Esperance, Albany and Gnowangerup.
To find out more, contact your local AFGRI dealership.
Get the latest news from thewest.com.au in your inbox.
Sign up for our emails