Brothers Treasure integrated system
The Treasure farming family at Moonyoonooka near Geraldton were early adopters of harvester-integrated weed seed control and now believe they have the ideal system to help keep weed numbers down.
Brothers Warren and Daniel, together with their father, Quentin, crop most of the family’s 2400ha Appa Springs property to wheat, barley, canola, lupins and some hay.
The main rotation includes two years of cereal followed by an oilseed or pulse break crop.
Last year, they upgraded to the new vertical, mechanical Integrated Harrington Seed Destructor — also called the iHSD —installed on a New Holland CR10.90 harvester they have had for the past three seasons.
Warren said after four years using the horizontal mill system, the switch to the vertical design brought significant benefits.
“It eliminated the bridging issue that occurred once conditions became damp in the evening,” he said.
“It would block up over the openings into the mills and so we were having to stop every evening.
“With the vertical system, we had no bridging issues at all, so we would stop when we were ready to stop.’’
Reduced horsepower draw also meant the Treasures enjoyed improved harvester capacity running at just over 3000rpm.
This allowed more tonnes per hour through the header and reduced fuel usage.
“With the horizontal unit, if we had a long day, starting at 8.30am in the morning, we had to refuel at dinner time to ensure we would go through the evening,” Warren said.
“We didn’t once have to refuel at dinner time with the vertical mill and we were doing bigger crops his year as well.”
The wheat yield average was a tick above 3t/ha, barley just under 4t/ha and canola at 1.7t/ha, with crops benefiting from a cool finish despite below-average rainfall.
Reduced maintenance was another plus with the new vertical Seed Destructor.
It would block up over the openings into the mills and so we were having to stop every evening.
“We were not having to stop every couple of hours and clean a radiator,” Warren said.
“With the hydraulic version, in the morning we had to warm the oil up, engage and slowly get up to full speed.
“You don’t have to do that with the vertical system — you just use the header as normal. You engage, go straight in and away you go. There’s much less stress on the driver.
“It’s so much simpler and the parts are cheaper.’’
Warren said the stone trap and ability to check grain losses and undertake a kill stall procedure all provided peace of mind.
The Treasures also windrowed barley straw at harvest for baling, with the chaff passing through the Seed Destructor, while canola was both swathed and direct headed.
“The horizontal mills didn’t like green canola, but with the vertical system, tested with swathed canola and free standing, we had no issues at all,” Warren said.
“We didn’t even desiccate the canola and it handled it with no worries — we were impressed.”
Warren said he was also pleased about the reduced and more even wear of the vertical blades of the new Seed Destructor after its first harvest.
Independent testing has shown the Destructor can kill up to 99 per cent of weed seeds, which Warren said worked when they got low “beer can height” to the ground.
“We are confident, but you still have to get the weed seeds into the mills,” he said.
“Being close to the coast and with thick bulky crops, we have to get to that low (beer can) height to get the weed seeds.’’
After four years of harvester-integrated weed seed control, the Treasures are realising the weed control benefits.
“We are still seeing fewer volunteers, radish seems to be dropping off a bit and ryegrass hasn’t got worse. Once ryegrass dries, it falls on the ground, so if we come to some thick ryegrass, we put the front on the ground and slow down,’’ Warren said.
“We haven’t done a general knockdown over the whole program for four years with the lack of early rain, so it’s got to be having an effect in keeping the weed numbers down.
“In-season, we haven’t had any more weeds to deal with. We go with Sakura for the ryegrass and Velocity for the radish, and have had no post-em (emergent) grass control – it’s really good. The crops have been fairly clean.’’
He said continued support from McIntosh & Son Geraldton for the family’s Seed Destructors also had been excellent.
Invented by WA grower Ray Harrington, the destructor is designed and manufactured by de Bruin Engineering and is distributed nationally by McIntosh Distribution.
The core mill technology was developed by UniSA with funding and support from Grains Research Development Corporation.
The vertical, mechanical system can be fitted to later model John Deere, Case IH, New Holland and Claas harvesters, with no permanent modifications required.
Growers can now take advantage of a recently announced early order program on the Harrington Seed Destructors to upgrade their harvesters with the machines.
Producers also can take advantage of the Federal Government’s extended instant asset write-off.
To find out more, contact your local dealer or call 0429 904 870.
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