Parts and service

Rising farm costs offset by AFS precision ag savings

10 Mar 2014

Slashing wasted time and money is the common goal of an increasing number of growers in Australia. Often caught in the squeeze between commodity prices and the increasing cost of inputs, they are being forced to look far more closely at every opportunity to reduce unproductive effort. 

That is why, to offset constantly rising outgoings, farmers like Rupert McLaren and Deon Wallace are turning to the very latest precision agriculture methods.

A farmer since the mid-1960s, Rupert McLaren, is a pioneer in analysing agricultural yield data. He knows where every dollar is spent on his broadacre farm at Barmedman, NSW.

He has 1000 hectares in pasture and crops 2000 hectares, rotating 50 percent canola and wheat. He uses Case IH Advanced Farming Systems® (AFS) desktop software to organise all of his prescription mapping, guidance lines, yield and moisture data on a day-to-day basis.

“Precision ag helps me in many ways, overall reducing my inputs by eliminating my ‘overlap’ and overcoming work and fatigue issues. My operators seem able to drive the units for longer and AFS eliminates costly reworking with greater accuracy;

“Most importantly, I can now record all of the inputs that are going on, including fuel, and also measure the inputs coming off – in terms of yield. From these figures, I can both create precise budgets and keep highly accurate records.”

Depending on the crop and the season, Rupert has saved between 10 and 15 percent on his labour and input costs since installing a suite of Case IH Advanced Farming Systems on his machinery, which includes a Case IH Axial-Flow® 8120 combine harvester and Steiger® 500, Magnum® 245, PumaTM 130 CVT tractors.

Being a contract harvester, Deon Wallace knows the importance of being highly efficient. Efficiency directly affects both Deon’s income and reputation – and he is highly regarded around Coleambally, NSW, where his parents and younger brother are also contractors and well-known rice farmers.

“In the Riverina, many of the paddocks are about 1000 acres [400 hectares] and the runs can be two to three kilometres long. Therefore, efficiency is very important. The AFS autosteer systems that I bought from my local Case IH dealer, Hartwigs at Griffith, work every time,” Deon said.

“Fixing up anything that is missed is time consuming, and areas you have overlapped is wasted effort. The more you overlap, the more time you have to spend in the field… and I don’t want that.”

Rupert McLaren says AFS gives him broad-ranging benefits.

“These days, I use AFS for everything – sowing, spraying, spreading – absolutely everything, and also use my system for yield mapping and to generate application maps,” he said.

He says that getting a high level of technical support was vital to anyone wanting to get into precision ag. “In fact, knowing that I can get strong technical support from my Case IH dealer, Intersales Temora, is always one of the most important features when I buy any piece of machinery,” Rupert said.

Download Word Document Download Image Download Zip archive