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Efficient seeding delivers more even crops at Cummins

Efficient seeding delivers more even crops at Cummins

Regular seeding system maintenance prompted the Jollys at Cummins in South Australia to update their sowing rigs this year. Not only did it save a lot of downtime, but it resulted in a significant improvement in crop germinations across their variable soils…

AT A GLANCE

  • Mixed cropping and livestock enterprise
  • Seeding system upgrade
  • Bar frame strength and narrow folding benefits
  • Downtime savings
  • Accelerated seeding program
  • More even crop germinations

INVESTING in new sowing technology, combined with pandemic shutdowns, made for a highly efficient 2020 seeding program for South Australian farmer Brock Jolly.

Brock and his brother, Mitchell, farm a mixed cropping and livestock operation about 40 kilometres north of Cummins on the State’s Eyre Peninsula.

The Jolly family’s property is 2900 hectares arable, with a further 800ha leased, and sits in an average rainfall belt of 300-330mm.

A typical cropping program for the third-generation farmers comprises 2800ha of wheat, barley, canola, lupins and beans, with the occasional crop of oats and vetch. They also run 2200 breeding ewes in a Merino flock.

Prior to 2019, the Jolly’s seeding program was completed with a 12-metre DBS bar and 5000-litre Gason air cart, as well as an 18m Morris 9000 bar with Morris 7240 air cart.

With both rigs starting to require a lot of maintenance, in 2019 they decided to upgrade their old Morris bar to a new 18m Morris Quantum air drill.

“That saved us a lot of downtime, not having to fix something every box full,” Brock said.

“We got the Quantum to replace the old Morris bar, which had served us well. Our soil types vary so much between paddocks and the new Quantum just did the job that bit better.”

On the back of a solid season, the Jollys decided to trade into a 15m Morris Quantum air drill and Morris 9 Series air cart to compliment their existing Morris equipment.

Brock said they now run the larger bar with the Morris 9 Series air cart, while the smaller bar is teamed with the Morris 7240 air cart.

“As far as getting grain in the ground, having the two Quantums and Morris air carts accelerated things even more for us,” he said.

“We were able to do a few extra hectares per day, and, on a really good run, you could easily get 200ha/day in an easy paddock.

“Mitchell would sit on a good 8-10km/hour and I would sit on 6-7.5km/hr, because the 18m Quantum is on a 12-inch (30cm) spacing with a three inch (8cm) split Morris boot and we’ve kept it the same with the 15m bar. But we have that down to a 10-inch (25cm) spacing to close the rows in more.

“Being that bit slower did not really matter though, as having the bigger bars overall evened it out.”

Crop germination has been noticeably even according to Brock, and particularly on the canola there has been an even germination across most soil types.

He said their non-wetting sands took longer to emerge, but overall they noticed a far more even germination.

“The splitter boots helped with weed competition. We really liked the three inch-split. We got good crop coverage and even germination across the soil types,” Brock said.

“The Quantum was a lot smoother going through rocky areas. It was much less aggressive in picking up rocks compared to our older bars, and which means less maintenance.”

Their machinery was sourced through their local dealer, Ramsey Bros Cummins, which have provided great support to the Jollys, Brock said, and organised upgrades to the openers.

“They have been good. It’s been a learning curve for them as well I think, but we’ve had support whenever we’ve needed it,” he said.

“It’s also much easier for parts having two of the same model bars.”

The frame and openers are one of Jolly’s favourite features on the Quantum, particularly the improved strength and folding ability.

“The frame is a big plus for us, having less parts and just being stronger in general,” Brock said.

“It’s a good-looking frame and the bigger wheels seem to help float it through those non-wetting sands.

“It folds up nice and narrow, so it’s good for shifting between farms.”

There has been quite a bit of interest in the Morris Quantum air drills from other growers in the region. Brock said there had been a few visits from people wanting see them in operation and keen to see the crop germination.

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