CHOOSING a new self-propelled boomsprayer is a significant decision for any farmer.
To help bring clarity to the process, HARDI Australia and WA's four CLAAS Harvest Centres have just completed a series of Ride and Drive events with a 9000 litre HARDI RUBICON.
The two-month season of demonstrations began in Geraldton in January and progressed through Northam and Katanning, to finish at Esperance in March.
Local CLAAS Harvest Centre staff were supported at each venue by HARDI's WA representatives Tom Slatyer and Kev Mangham, who provided farmers with in-depth technical information and systems knowledge.
Mr Slatyer said the growers appreciated the opportunity to drive the RUBICON.
"Farmers like to look new equipment over, get their hands on the machinery, experience the handling and have their questions answered one-on-one," he said.
"People always want to try spraying at high speed on challenging terrain and the RUBICON continually exceeded their expectations.
"A stand-out day was on heavily undulating crab-hole country in Mingenew.
"The landowner used a 36 metre boom on his current sprayer and he was blown away by how much more accurately the RUBICON could maintain the target height with its 48.5m boom.
"It was a very clear demonstration of how he could boost his productivity."
Although the summer program wasn't without its challenges, from dry weather to a DFES emergency in Esperance, there were zero failures or other incidents.
Plenty of growers took advantage of the opportunity to test-drive the RUBICON without the boom once clipping a fence or the ground.
In all, the two HARDI representatives transported the demo machine more than 4000 kilometres and served as driving instructors' whenever farmers took the controls to experience the technology, features and in-field handling for themselves.
"There's just no better way to see how a boomsprayer really feels," Mr Slatyer said.
"It gives growers a clear benchmark for comparing HARDI's locally configured machines against the big imported brands.
"Getting together with WA farmers is also a great way for HARDI Australia and CLAAS Harvest Centres to listen to their needs and show how our local presence can support them.
"That's what it's all about."
A further Ride and Drive event is scheduled for Geraldton starting on the week of April 15 and interested farmers can contact Tom Slatyer on 0427 790 360 or Natasha Marques (CHC Geraldton) on 0475 825 035 to take part.
Mr Slatyer added that farmers can request a Ride and Drive at any time during the year, simply by calling him directly or contacting their nearest CLAAS Harvest Centre.