Self-propelled sprayer proves itself
A new Hardi Presidio self-propelled sprayer has enabled a sophisticated South Australian lucerne seed producer to take a step up in efficiency.
Kinyerrie Partnership is a diverse farming operation based near Keith, SA.
More than 80 per cent of the certified lucerne seed produced in Australia for domestic and international markets comes from the district around Keith, Naracoorte and Bordertown, SA.
Kinyerrie Partnership manager Joe Sandford said producing lucerne seed required attention to detail and six to eight spray applications a year.
These included herbicides, insecticides, foliar fertiliser and defoliant. "After the lucerne is grazed in early winter, we close the fields for three to five months," Mr Sandford said.
"During that time we cut it for hay, so it has to be completely clean from weeds.
"After grazing in May and June, we spray with herbicide to remove the weed population.
"Once we have taken two cuts of hay off it, we close the field for seed production.
"During the year we spray the lucerne twice with foliar fertiliser and trace elements, and four or five times with insecticide, depending on the insect population.
"Before we harvest the seed in March and April, we spray it again with a desiccant to dry the foliage."
Until last year, a contractor did all the spraying for Kinyerrie Partnership.
While the contractor provided a professional service, purchasing its own Hardi Presidio sprayer has given the business better control of all facets of the spraying and reduced costs by 30 to 40 per cent.
Hardi's Presidio self-propelled sprayer has a 2700-litre main tank and 260-litre flush tank integrated into the chassis. It is designed to provide a low centre of gravity and balanced weight distribution.
Kinyerrie Partnership's version is equipped with a 24-metre Pommier aluminium boom.
"The Presidio is brilliant," Mr Sandford said.
"It is so easy to use. We have the Pommier boom set up with triple nozzles, so we can just spin them to the one we need for a particular operation. "It is quick and easy. The lightness of the aluminium boom combined with the 175-horespower engine is a great combination.
"There is no lack of power in any of our applications."
Mr Sandford said Hardi has only recently introduced the French-made Pommier boom to Australia, and a team of Pommier engineers helped set up his machine.
The boom has five individual sections and the centre has adjustable stability tensioning, which the engineers tuned to help make the boom move more freely.
"Some people say aluminium booms are not suited to Australian conditions but the Pommier certainly is," he said.
"We have sprayed 5475ha with it since we purchased it in April, 2013, and it has handled everything we have asked it to do.
"It is a very adaptable sprayer.
"We can spray at a width of either 24m or 12m.
"Our sheep and beef property has a lot of trees and vegetation, so we close it down to 12m, which allows me to spray in and around everything."
Kinyerrie Partnership's Presidio is fitted with an HC 9500 controller, auto steer and section control with automatic shut off.
Mr Sandford said the back-up support he had received from Hardi Australia had been "second to none".
Get the latest news from thewest.com.au in your inbox.
Sign up for our emails