Farming In Focus - Spring 2022


AN INFORMED CHOICE Customer Story - Alan Payne SUCCEEDING IN DIFFICULT TIMES, GRAIN ONLY FARMING Agronomist Al Payne A NEED FOR SPEED Bron Rogers, West Wyalong Machinery Centre


Speedtiller ® Powerflex ® in Canowindra


Spring has sprung and as the warmer days, clearer skies and more sun shines upon us the warm soil conditions welcome the Spring seeding scene. Rainfall has generally benefited 2022-23 production prospects of winter crops and improvement in seasonal conditions towards the end of the planting window has seen a 2% increase in area planted to wheat and 14% increase in canola. While average rainfall has been largely beneficial to winter crop production prospects, which has seen much of eastern and southern areas maintain above average pasture production and support livestock restocking, parts of eastern Australia have not had the most favourable conditions with extensive rain in central and northern New South Wales and south- east Queensland, where water

logging has restricted some planting. Following a relatively dry start to winter in South Australia, conditions have turned with wetter than average falls in the south and east of the state however conditions remain favourable in the mid and north of the state. There is generally an indication of above average yield potential across the country, but will be dependent on the timing and intensity of rainfall during the remainder of the growing season, particularly in New South Wales and Queensland where soil moisture levels are already well above average for this time of year. The 2021-22 La Niña has come to an end and the global Autumn climate outlook is dryer than usual. This is likely to create a tight world supply for grain which has Australian agronomics with a spring in its

step. Although the B.O.M has suggested we will be re-entering La Niña conditions in the next few months, for now, we wish you all happy Spring seeding.

Glenn Soper General Manager Seeding and Tillage, CNH Industrial

For Alan Payne, after years of recommending K-Line Ag to others, the decision to purchase his own Speedtiller ® was as much a strategic decision as it was practical. Continued unpredictable weather conditions in the Riverina region frequently results in wet harvesting, and the Speedtiller ® excels at breaking up soils compacted by heavy machinery. For Al, the decision was as much strategic as it was practical. “I’ve been zero till since 1994. So to go back into tillage was a big thing for me,” he says. “But it was the time to do it because of weed management, and not relying totally on chemistry. “Plus, we’re getting back into our liming program. So the incorporation of lime was another factor that made the purchase of the Speedtiller ® a no-brainer. They do an amazing job incorporating lime.” Al splits his time fairly evenly between managing the farm and his agronomy consultancy, in which he advises a number of locally-based clients. “I always say my farm only runs at around about 70% because I’m off-farm too much,” he says. “But I do enjoy the agronomy work, because I have great clients and it’s very rewarding.” Of course, the agronomic principles Al shares with clients are also applicable to his own operations. “I think it’s definitely an advantage when it comes to understanding the science, probably sequencing chemistries and rotations to minimise disease and weeds and pests,” he says. “But sometimes you nearly learn as much from your clients as they learn from you. So you impart some agronomic knowledge onto them, and you gauge some business acumen and marketing abilities from them as well. It’s a very good situation to be in.”


Customer Story - Alan Payne

If you’re of a certain vintage, you might recall a TV ad that

progression of them, the different models,” he says. “And when I bought one, it’s exactly what I expected. Just the robustness, ease of operation, its ability to cultivate to a reasonable depth. And to give us a double knock on those hard-to-kill summer weeds.” The farm that Al manages with his wife, Lisa, a school teacher, is currently sown with wheat and canola, and previously has grown pulses, barley and lucerne-based pastures. The need to rehabilitate the latter paddocks was an important factor in purchasing a Speedtiller ® , Al says.

asks a dentist to nominate which toothbrush he uses. Applying the same rationale, when it comes to choosing tillage equipment, it’s hard to go past Al Payne. So, what equipment does the man who juggles a thriving agronomic consultancy with managing his family’s almost-3000 hectare West Wyalong farm, use? He finally purchased a K-Line Speedtiller ® in February, after years of recommending the brand to his clients. “I’ve been watching the

SUCCEEDING IN DIFFICULT TIMES, GRAIN ONLY FARMING Large areas of the central west of NSW have certainly had some challenging seasonal conditions to contend with. The persistent rainfall has some zones completely saturated or totally inundated. This is a cruel blow to many grain growers and can often be a source of frustration. Other grain growers in more favourable districts are relishing the prospect of entering spring with substantial soil moisture reserves and excellent potential yields. Working with a long-term client group allows good benchmarking data, including production figures and profit margins to be analysed with the top growers identified in different seasonal conditions and production years. It is remarkable how consistent some producers are and their capacity to drive performance in nearly all circumstances. So, what sets these growers apart from their peers?


• Exceptional business, management and logistics skill base. This is largely found within the organisation’s ownership team or outsourced to hired labour or contractors. • Strong financial, budgeting, capital acquisition and marketing abilities. • A focus on long-term profitability and sustainability. This sounds very cliché, but good operators follow clear goals. • Meticulous planning and rotational sequencing. This includes reviewing new varieties and crop options to incorporate into the program. Some flexibility in final crop inclusion is also factored into the initial farm plans. This allows some amendments should the season become problematic. • Well managed procurement processes for farm inputs, machinery and labour. Acquiring goods and services early limits the possibility of supply issues. • A resolute attention to timeliness of farm operations. This is extremely difficult to achieve in a year such as this with consistent rainfall interruptions and paddocks that are at times too

A paddock that received a SpeedTiller ® working prior to sowing. This was to incorporate lime in low pH areas and to level machinery tracks (Header and Chaser bin) from the 2021 wet harvest. wet to traffic. The best growers still find a way! These growers have strong relationships with aerial contractors or other providers to maximise hectares covered when the weather permits. Agronomic recommendations are nearly always generated and are implemented within a desired timeframe. • Efficient property layout with excellent all- weather roads. • Well maintained machinery with a strong emphasis on productivity parameters such as tram track utilisation. • Land portfolios with geographical spread. This generally provides the entity some diversification in topography and soil types, inherently affording some production insurance when the weather is unfavourable.

• Strategic organic growth with regular land purchases included in the business model. Additionally, lease options are also explored. This generates economies of scale. • A consistent soil testing regime intrinsically linked to tangible soil improvement objectives. A strong commitment to addressing any soil pH issues with the adoption of annual liming programs. Often this is guided by grid sampling and variable rate application associated with pre- loaded paddock maps. Attention is also directed to macro and micro nutrition to ensure crop soil analytes are in the acceptable range for the specific crop. • Emphasis on reviewing NDVI imagery and utilising production software tools for more efficient nitrogen applications. • Proficient use of farm software systems and machinery telematics for data collection and quality assurance compliance. • A proportion of pulse crop included in the rotation. This is very beneficial in a year of high nitrogen input costs and tight supply such as the current. • Sizeable grain and fodder storage facilities to take advantage of surplus production and future commercial opportunities. Many growers have the capacity to smooth cash flow and generate significant profit increases by having storage options available.

It is a privilege and very satisfying to work with farmers of this calibre. They are collectively resilient and passionate with the ability to adapt new technologies and maintain enthusiasm under varying seasonal challenges. I wish everyone all the best for the remainder of 2022 and hope the harvest period can be relatively uninterrupted by the heavens. Al Payne AgMax Pty Ltd

Welcome to the team!

Michael Brouwer Kitting & Warehouse Operator Description of your role at K-Line Ag Kitting and warehouse. I put together kits for the fabrication and assembly teams. I also optimise inventory stock on hand to promote efficient workflow. What attracted you to this position? I love working in a manufacturing environment and am always up for a challenge. What’s the best thing (so far) about working at K-Line Ag? Being part of the friendly team. What would you like to be doing in 5 years time? I’d like to push myself as far as possible capitalising on my engineering and analytical strengths to grow within K-Line Ag and greater CNHi structure.



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Bron Rogers, West Wyalong Machinery Centre

“This year is proving that if you get your crops in early, if you’re prepared and ready to go, you’ve maybe got a chance of getting them up.” Bron says K-Line Ag’s Speedtiller ® , Trackattack ® and range of Rippers have been flying out the door, helping an increasing number of farmers in the upper Riverina region to achieve faster turnaround on soil preparation. “When it comes to the machinery you use, timeliness can be a massive advantage,” she says.

As wild weather continues to play havoc on crop production in many parts of the country, responsiveness has become one of the most important tools in a farmer’s arsenal. “We’ve probably never seen a season like this before,” says West Wyalong Machinery Centre salesperson Bron Rogers. “We get 40mm of rain, a gap, then another 40mm, then another little gap. Some of our customers have had to resow their crops three times this season.

The unpredictable weather, in addition to growing concerns about an incursion of foot- and-mouth disease, make for challenging times for the predominantly wheat and sheep- based area around West Wyalong. But with adversity also comes opportunity. “The ones who got canola in and up, they’re looking good, with the prices being favourable. They can really kick some goals,” she says. “Canola, wheat and barley are the staples out here, a little bit of oats, and a lot of sheep.”

West Wyalong Machinery Centre Dealer Principal Andrew McCulloch, salesperson Bronwyn Rogers & Administrator Laura Sincock

Bronwyn Rogers delivers a K-Line Ag Speedtiller ® to another local farmer, Malcolm Williams

Many of her customers are drawn to K-Line Ag’s trademark durability. “They love how solidly it’s built. Farm workers can be a bit blasé with machinery. If they take a K-Line machine out, they’re not going to be able to bust it – or they’re going to have to try really, really hard,” she says. “I love how even when the discs are wearing down, you can adjust the machine so it still has a good cut. As far as I’m aware, it’s the only machine on the market that’s got the ability to move the rows over to still get a really good cut even if it’s wearing down a bit.” Bron’s key advice to customers at West Wyalong Machinery Centre is to take the time to properly maintain their investment. “Look after it. Machinery costs a lot of money,” she says. Bron’s Tip “When you’re sowing or harvesting or whatever, everyone’s in a rush. But if you just grease it, look after it, walk around and check it, you can save yourself a lot of trouble down the track.”



STAFF SPOTLIGHT Hamish Newell Welding & Fabrication Apprentice

How long have you worked at K-Line Ag? Just over 18 months

What is the best thing about your job? Learning new skills and processes at TAFE and on the job and transferring them to work tasks. I like being challenged to build new components and practising different welding techniques and constantly trying to improve upon them. What is the worst thing about your job? Having to leave work when I’m in the zone and enjoying what I’m doing. Running out of wire mid run!

My joke of the season Q: What do you call James Bond in a bath? A: Bubble-0-7

Tell us about what a normal workday looks like for you? It involves fabricating and welding parts and components using various tools, skills and techniques. What do you think about K-Line machines? I think they are really high-quality machines. It’s really cool to be able to step back and say “ I helped build that.”

What do you like doing in your spare time? I enjoy riding my dirt bike. I enjoy applying skills I’ve learnt at work and TAFE to building projects at home, such as building a new tray for my Ute. I love camping and getting into mischief with the boys!


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K-Line Ag products are sold under the K-Line Ag name in Australia through our existing network of Case IH, New Holland and selected independent dealers. If unsure who your nearest dealer is check out: or call us on 1800 194 131

Ph: 1800 194 131 +61 (2) 6340 0400

A Division of CNH Industrial

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