IN FOCUS FARMING AUTUMN 2021
LOW FINANCE on K-Line Ag machines - From 2.75% GET IN AND GET IT DONE! Peter & Belinda Moeris
LOXTON SA Below ave summer rain
YOUR FARM, OUR FOCUS
Soil acidity: High rates of lime without incorporating aren’t working.
ENERGY AND EAGERNESS IN AUSTRALIAN AG
With a good season under our belts, the Australian ag industry, continues to look for ways to improve, grow and sustain the productivity of our assets, whether these be our people, our soils, our machinery, our livestock or our crops. Positivity in Australian agriculture is at an all time high, it has created an energy and eagerness to not rest on our laurels, but to continue this trend, to research, to innovate and to refine techniques and systems that return the most profit. In my opinion our soils are the most fundamental asset for agricultural productivity in this country and one that we need to continue to nurture and research. We are blessed to have the vast range of productive soils and techniques to farm them. Given
the importance of soil health, recent research results from trials undertaken by the NSW DPI about soil acidification and stratification, has piqued my interest. The research indicates we need to have a mind shift in how we manage acidic soils to ensure: • Improved sustainability of our soils • Maximum crop and pasture growth • Improved yields in dry years “Instead of targeting the severely acidic soils you should be liming the moderately and slightly acidic soils – don’t forget about them. Remediation early, before they become acidic is a better way to go”, commented Helen Burns, Agronomist, NSW DPI.
You can purchase the full research report here, it’s well worth a read – The extent, significance and amelioration of subsurface acidity in southern NSW. (www.publish.csiro.au/sr/SR20079) Bill Larsen Sales & Marketing Manager K-Line Agriculture
Peter Moeris and his wife Belinda, and their two children, Bridie and Alex
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Peter & Belinda Moeris – ‘Myall View’, Gilgandra
The Moeris’s Maxxripper ® in action at ‘Myall View’, Gilgandra
Peter Moeris and his wife Belinda, along with their two children, Bridie (6) and Alex (4), run a farming and contracting business located at Gilgandra, in Central West NSW. Peter and Belinda purchased their 570 ha farm, ‘Myall View’, in 2013, and crop 500 ha annually. Their crops range from cereal grains, favouring barley over wheat, to chickpeas and safflower, depending on the season. Peter and Belinda also lease and farm 400 ha in the neighbouring area. Prior to the purchase of ‘Myall View’, the family were busy contract farming and dry hiring machinery. Peter started contracting when he was 19, buying a set of offsets and hiring them out, or doing the job using his father’s tractor.
Contracting has allowed Peter and Belinda to upgrade their machinery over the years, helping them to make repayments and utilise the newer machines on their own farm. Their contracting business consists of contract spraying, harvesting, spreading, speed tilling and ripping. Peter and Belinda work well as a team when making a decision. After initiating a new idea and finding an item to purchase, Peter “casually” puts the deal to Belinda, who then dissects every option financially and critically. 9 times out of 10 they meet in the middle and the deal or purchase is sealed. With the expansion of their contracting range, the couple are kept busy for most of the year, summertime is when they make the most of their K-Line machinery.
unpredicted forecasts when it comes closer to planting time, we make sure we are flexible with other cropping options.” Peter believes that seed germination is the number one opportunity for ground prep in the broadacre cropping system. “By having a level seedbed, you can get better plant germination. Deep ripping country is another key. We rotate paddocks every year with deep ripping and even on heavy black soil we still see benefits with better root biomass. Root biomass gives you more yield, where the plants access important nutrients, therefore more ground cover, reducing competition with weeds and retaining moisture.” Peter says, “A major key to our farming and contracting success is that my wife and I work well together as a team. Before purchasing our farm together as a partnership, we were both working
hard on our own parents’ properties individually. We both value hard work and appreciate that everything we have is because of solid decision making, good management and the never give up attitude. Get in and get it done is our approach to getting a lot of tasks completed around the farm. Even though it may seem expensive or time consuming, we outsource where we need to, to ensure the machinery or equipment is in good working order, so it’s ready to go when we need it or if a contracting job arises. Our well-established contracting business helped us get through the worst drought in history from 2017 to 2020, financially, physically and mentally.” Peter and Belinda have always owned Case IH tractors and currently have a STX450 tractor.
Through their contracting business, they have been able to see a lot of the countryside in the Central West NSW region, and their children are growing up with a lot of travelling and escorting under their belt. At times, it has been a major challenge for Peter and Belinda to source good labour, which seems to be a common issue in the agricultural industry. They have found that it is more beneficial and efficient for them to pay for the more experienced employees, rather than to put less skilled workers on. Another challenge the couple face is the weather, which also has a major impact on their farming operations. Peter says “The seasons are harder to forecast these days. At the start of each year we create a plan for the upcoming sowing season. To adjust to the
They also have a John Deere Disc Planter with a variable rate airseeder Flexi-Coil aircart. “Last year (2020) was our first season using this machine and we couldn’t be happier.” Peter and Belinda invested in a K-Line Ag Speedtiller ® because of the one pass aspect and the machines ability to prepare the paddocks for an ideal seed bed.
After seeing a demo day in our local Gilgandra area during 2012, and researching better options to upgrade our offsets, we purchased an 8.5m Speedtiller ® , which we still have today. We upgraded the machine to the more efficient discs bearings setup in 2015. We believe this machine is a no-brainer. The Speedtiller ® is one pass machine and leaves the seed bed level like no other tilling machine. We go through one or two sets of discs every 12 months depending on the seasons as we cover of a lot of varied soil types and we do a lot of contracting acres. The purchase of the Maxxripper ® in January 2019 kept us busy even through the drought. It was a tough decision at the time, juggling finance with no cropping income, but it definitely paid off and the word is increasingly spreading with obvious positive results from the deep ripping.”
K-Line Ag is a leader in the tillage and seeding market. FINANCE NOW AVAILABLE ON ALL K-LINE MACHINES With a strong reputation for durability and quality of design. Engineering and manufacturing high-performing ag machinery in Australian for Australian farmers.
They also own a K-Line Maxxripper ® to break up
compacted paddocks, giving them new life and improving soil health. This in turns increases root biomass as the plants have more access to more nutrients, resulting in higher yields. “ In 2020, we deep ripped half of one paddock. We sowed wheat and by August/September the differences were so easy to see. The ripped side plants were so much bulkier, and the heads were larger, with more on the one plant.
DRY CONDITIONS IN THE SA MALLEE
Richard Saunders Agricultural Consultant, Loxton SA While farmers in many parts of the country have had good summer rains, farmers in the northern Mallee of South Australia have now given up hoping for summer rains this year. The rainfall total for Loxton since January 1 has been 23.3 mm, which is roughly half of the long-term average for this period. Long term average annual rainfall for Loxton is 263 mm, so we farm in a dry part of the world. We have emerged from a wonderful yield season in 2020, where surprisingly we recorded 3 mm less than the long-term average, but yields were double the average (wheat and barley 2.5 t/ha, lentils 1 t/ha etc.). 2020 was a great season to catch our breath as it were, because, like other areas of Australia, there was little joy in the two seasons before that: 2018 and 2019. The issues now, with such a dry summer are: residual soil herbicides; planning for Russian Wheat Aphid; dry sowing decisions; and last-minute changes to seeding plans as a result of the dry. Herbicides with long soil residuals make rotation planning interesting – planning crops and varieties around past applied herbicides and factoring in the amount of time and rainfall since application. The chief of these herbicides are the Clearfield chemicals, clopyralid and to a lesser degree extend 2,4-D amine on sands. Many of the newer herbicides now come with a soil residual - time period and rainfall plantback requirement. The dominant landscape here is dune- swale, with 33% of the landscape as deep silicieous sand rises or dunes. These rises are generally low
fertility, low organic content and highly fragile. A key management strategy is to keep stubble cover; an important component of this is stock management. Sheep will camp on tops of these rises and quickly bare the areas creating blow outs when winds blow. Some growers have gone to confinement feeding pens over summer to minimise the erosion. This silicieous sand also tends to pack into layers. These seams can be 10 to 30 cm thick and from 15 to 60 cm below the soil surface and seriously restrict plant roots to the point where crops on the constrained hills struggle for moisture and nutrient even during good seasons. Judicious ripping
to 450 or 600 mm has seen yield increases of 1 t/ha. However, ripping without compacting topsoil can also result in loss of cover and stability. Russian wheat aphid has been with us since 2016 and seems to enjoy persisting and persecuting the wheat and barley in warm, dry areas like ours. Most growers apply an insecticide seed dressing to give some crop protection for 6-8 weeks. In 2020, growers who failed to protect and monitor crops, in extreme cases, lost very significant yield. A number of growers will start sowing to a date despite no moisture. They will sow dry into paddocks with very low grass weed numbers, or
• Northern Mallee, SA
• Residual soil herbicides
• Below average summer rains
• Planning for Russian Wheat Aphid
• Wonderful yields in 2020
paddocks on which suitable residual herbicides can be applied to control problem weeds. Crop rotation plans at this stage of the game change with moisture or lack of it. Now growers are rethinking any Canola in their plan. Canola would be one of the riskier crops we attempt to grow. Now we have little sub soil moisture and nothing showing up on the rainfall radar for the immediate future – so the chances of a successful Canola crop are diminishing daily. This will be a paddock by paddock decision. The decision making never stops, and it is about making good decisions. A good decision is the one you make with all the knowledge and skill you
have at the time. Richard Saunders Pinion Advisory
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STAFF SPOTLIGHT Prasidh Kumar (PK) Mechanical Engineer, K-Line Ag
PK has been an invaluable member of the Engineering team at K-Line Ag for the past 18 months. He works from the K-Line office in Cowra, NSW, coming in at 7am each morning to respond to emails and update the system, before having his Almond Flat White at 9am. After his morning coffee break, he begins his design work on the CAD software, focusing on completing anything that requires creativity. “I love my job. I’m doing exactly what I’ve wanted to do since I was a teenager, and working with amazing colleagues is the icing on the cake! The only bad part about my job would be the coffee addiction! One of the best things about my work is that I get to visualize a concept in my head and model it out
on the CAD software. A month or two later, I get to watch it get loaded on a truck and go out the gate to a farmer. And when you hear good things about the machine, it always brings a sense of happiness (and relief!). Our machines are built tough. We consider the worst conditions under which the machines will be used and come up with a plan to make it tough, durable and functional. The production team takes care of the rest and ensures that the final product that comes out serves its purpose.” In his spare time, PK loves to work with cars and food. If he’s not out on a creeper under his car or in his kitchen, he will be road-tripping or in a restaurant.
My joke of the season I invented a new word. PLAGIARISM!
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