THE exponential growth in liquid nutrition application is tipped to become the favoured management practice by WA farmers within the next five to 10 years.
That’s the opinion of Geraldton business owners Jason and Jo Orr, who opened the first Sprayer Barn franchise in WA two years ago.
Sprayer Barn is the Australian distributor of United States-based FAST Ag Solutions, which is a world leader in liquid nutrient injection systems.
According to Mr Orr, Sprayer Barn is introducing FAST liquid application tool bars into the Australian market and is keen to grow with the technology.
The tool bars, called FAST liquid fertiliser applicators, comprise a row of patented coulters, on specified spacings, each of which is plumbed to a liquid injection kit.
A following liquid tank is integral to the bar.
Nutrients can be injected as deep as 150 millimetres (6 inches) via mid-row banding or side-dressing.
The model most likely to get the attention of WA farmers is the 8500 Series, which FAST claims is the world’s largest applicator of its kind, with a working width of 36 metres (120 feet), linked to a 9000 litre capacity tank.
Models range in working widths from 9m (30ft) to 36m, with tank sizes available between 4000L and 9000L.
Models are available in single and dual tyre configurations and as 375 millimetre (15in) CAMSO tracks.
“It can be used year-round for pre, post and late nutrition programs,” Mr Orr said.
“We’re excited to be involved in this technology, which is widely used in North America.
“A lot of Australian farmers already have adopted liquid nutrient systems but from the interest in the market, I don’t think it’s a stretch to predict liquid injection will become a standard management practice in broadacre farming in the next five to 10 years.
“We will be establishing trials this year in collaboration with CSBP and a number of farmers and we also will be involved in the WANTFA (WA No-Tillage Farmers Association) demonstration days in August and September.
“Our aim is to walk in this technology and expand our presence throughout the Wheatbelt, with a focus on custom-built applicators delivered directly to farms.”
Mr Orr said the benefits of liquid nutrient injection were well documented from research in North America and Australia – notably Grains Research and Development Corporation trials in Victoria.
“Liquid nutrients are taken up faster by plant roots and the technology of tank mixes has improved greatly, particularly in the past five years,” Mr Orr said.
“And the stage where liquid nutrients are at, provides a lot of flexibility to meet specific tasks aimed at enhancing crop health and improved yields.
“We are at the basement level, so to speak, in introducing this technology, but we are confident of farmer acceptance, hence our plan to grow the business throughout the Wheatbelt.
“We are focused on customer service because it’s a major part of our background, servicing self-propelled sprayers in the Eastern States for Sprayer Barn.
“When the company looked at establishing a franchise in WA, we jumped at the chance because we knew the quality of their products.”
Sprayer Barn is headquartered in Dubbo, New South Wales and is one of Australia’s largest spray equipment specialists, with eight locations in NSW, Victoria, Tasmania and WA.
Apart from the FAST products, which also includes trailed and linkage boom sprayers, the company also handles Goldacres, Trimble, AgLeader, TeeJet, Raven and Hagie.