Beaumont grower Darren Inkster said a largely timely rainfall season contributed to another solid harvest result over the family's properties in the area last year, however he said constantly improving seeding system technologies also helped to produce better crops.
The Inksters crop 4600 hectares to wheat, barley and canola over two properties including their Sparkle Hill home farm, as well as on share-farmed land, all mostly north of Beaumont.
The country ranges from traditional sand over clay on the home farm through to heavy limestone soils further north of Beaumont and it received 350-450 millimetres of rainfall last season.
"Even though the season shut-off, we generally received rainfall when we wanted it and we had good subsoil moisture after recording 600mm the previous year," Mr Inkster said.
Grain yield averages at harvest included 3.2 tonnes/ha for the wheat, 3.5t/ha for barley and 1.5t/ha for canola.
"We enjoyed good opening rains in April and most of the canola was in before Anzac Day," Mr Inkster said.
He said seeding equipment upgrades in recent years also were playing a key role in the improving crop production.
"The technology is just getting better and better and it's probably the reason for the better crops," Mr Inkster said.
For their seeding equipment requirements, the Inksters had a strong relationship with local machinery dealer, Staines Esperance, and now with its successor, McIntosh & Son.
"Earlier, we went to a hydraulic tyne with a Morris C1 and then C2 (Contour) bar and now we have an 18-metre Quantum (air drill)," he said.
Mr Inkster identified the Auto-Pack feature on the Quantum air drill as one of the most exciting technological advances and said it was easy to operate after becoming familiar with the system.
Morris Auto-Pack automatically adjusts the air drill's packing pressure according to the soil conditions, providing for correctly closed and packed furrows in order to achieve an ideal seedbed environment.
"Morris are always adapting to the Australian market and with the Auto-Pack, you get a good, firm pack around the seed," he said.
"Those who haven't got it (the technology) will probably be flat-out trying to get it.
"Even if it starts to get dry in heavy country, I reckon with the uniform packing around the seed, we are getting better establishment.
"In sandy soils, we have also seen some of the best establishment of canola."
In addition to Auto-Pack, Mr Inkster said Auto-Lift technology with the Morris Quantum, which allowed for automatic lifting and lowering of tynes, made headland turns an easy task.
He said end-of-row turning, which will work in conjunction with their Topcon X35 controller and help achieve accurate, hands-free turns, would be their next seeding step.
The Inksters have been impressed by the large flotation tyres on the Morris Quantum air drill, also compared with the tandem wheel configuration on their previous C2 Contour bar.
"The C2 wheels used to come off the ground occasionally and we did have some problems with them in wet seasons, but there is no issue with the big Quantum tyres and you hardly ever see a footprint," Mr Inkster said.
"You don't see where it's been."
Set on 25-centimetre tyne spacings and comprising a paired-row seeding boot arrangement, the air drill has encountered no major concerns with stubble handling.
"It's handled the stubbles a lot better than the C2," he said.
Mr Inkster said the stainless-steel air kits and plumbing configuration across the bar was another key strength with the Morris Quantum.
"Someone has spent a lot of time on it, and now with the Raycol heads, rather than a fan system, it has been much better," he said.
The narrow folding width of the Quantum air drill also allows safer transport between the Inkster's properties.
The air drill is hitched to an 18t, four bin Morris 9535 tow-between air cart, allowing for deep banding of urea fertiliser.
The cart completed its seventh season last year and was one of the first from the manufacturer in the region to feature its Input Control Technology (ICT) to help eliminate seeding overlap and save on seed and fertiliser inputs.
"With our paddocks being not so square and having triangular corners, the section control has been a big benefit and you can see each section dropping-off as you go," Mr Inkster said.
"We could be saving 5-10 per cent on the seed and fertiliser.
"With the rollers and with the section control being independently driven, we've hardly had any issues."
The Morris 9535 air cart is filled from a Tornado 5in1 bin or belly dumper via a Brandt conveyor.
The seeding rig is pulled by a New Holland T9.600 tractor and Mr Inkster said when they update it, they would also look to upgrade the air cart.
"We want a bin that will do 100ha in daylight hours, and then fill-up for the night with plenty of commodity onboard,'' he said.
"At the moment, we can do about 70ha.
"We will also move further towards a controlled traffic set-up."