Dave has sprayer ready for another crack

30 Mar, 2014 01:00 AM
Moorine Rock farmer Dave Maddock (left) and his father Bill discuss the performance of the John Deere 4930 boomsprayer with AIM Mukinbudin branch manager Errol McGrath.
All we need is rain and we're away.
Moorine Rock farmer Dave Maddock (left) and his father Bill discuss the performance of the John Deere 4930 boomsprayer with AIM Mukinbudin branch manager Errol McGrath.

IF you're an eastern Wheatbelt farmer, it still stings to remember the negative industry and government comments made last year.

Being told the region is unviable is a slap in the face but the resilience of farmers is testament to an area of the Wheatbelt that consistently produces good quality grain.

And back for another crack is Moorine Rock farmer Dave Maddock, who has his John Deere 4930 self-propelled boomsprayer at the ready - a confident sign for the start of the season.

"All we need is rain and we're away," he said as he shrugged off any negative thoughts.

"You do get the feeling the government doesn't care and they pay us lip service while believing that anything east of Merredin is just grazing country.

"But our soils are responsive, we grow good grain and good livestock and the two go hand-in-glove.

"I believe the potential is here and we're ready for the season."

The SP model designation reveals it is one of the earlier John Deere models and could be regarded as an "old girl", with Dave trading up from a trailed model four years ago.

Indicative of paddock selection for spraying to save costs, he has only clocked 1450 hours controlling weeds over a 5250ha (13,000ac) program, although last year he dropped back to 3200ha (8000ac).

He also has help in weed control from 500 Merino breeding ewes and 850 cross-bred ewes.

So he still has plenty of years left in the SP.

Four years ago, SPs were just starting to gain traction in the market in the face of bigger trailed boomsprayers carrying tank capacities up to 10,000 litres.

Dave decided to step up because of cost efficiency and productivity.

"It's the most used machine on the farm so it's actually a necessity and I can get 1500 acres done on a good day, working a 10 or 11 hour shift," he said.

"Timing is a big factor in spraying and with this machine, we have something that's ready to go and able to cover a lot of ground quickly.

"We're probably four to five clicks faster than a trailed rig but the real value is getting more done when conditions are right and we're probably one to two loads in front of a trailed boomsprayer in a shift."

According to Dave, one of the stand-out features of the 4930 is the contour-following boom.

"It's one of the best riding booms I've experienced," he said. "We've got auto boom height but even at speed the boom is very stable."

The 4930 offers a 242kW (324hp) engine, 4542L tank and boom widths up to 36.5m (120ft), which Dave chose.

Deere calls its boom-levelling system on this model Boom Trac Pro.

Sensors constantly monitor the distance from the boom to the ground, and adjust the boom automatically, eliminating guesswork involved with manual control.

Equipped with a Green Star 2600 Display, options include variable rate technology, as-applied mapping and AutoTrac Assisted Steering.

Dave also has opted for the tall and narrow 480/80R50 tyres, which coupled with the 4930's underground clearance, provide less compaction and crop damage, particularly for late season applications.

"There's also less scuffing on the corners and generally it's difficult to pick up the tracks at harvest," Dave said.

So bring on the rain so Dave can get the "old girl" cranking.

Ken Wilson

Ken Wilson

is Farm Weekly's machinery writer
Date: Newest first | Oldest first


drowning in debt
30/03/2014 6:46:58 AM, on Farm Weekly

One thing is for sure, everyone would be a lot more viable with their CBH equity! blokes would rather go bankrupt out here & leave their CBH share to western districts fat cats
Steve Dalby
30/03/2014 6:54:03 AM, on Farm Weekly

the eastern wheat belt needs big licks of lime to bring its potential up to par when it does rain, With lime heading to $20 a ton the economics are closing out. But who will buy knowing a $200 an acre you will then need another $150 of lime. The corporates are all over this now


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