Technology helping WA farmers make the most of hectic harvest season
17 Dec 2021
Harvest is well under way across the West Australian Wheatbelt and farmers are recording some impressive numbers despite experiencing challenges towards the back end of the season.
Russell and Cate Inman, from Cadoux, near Wongan Hills, in the Central Wheatbelt of WA, are well into their 5300ha cropping program, happy with the yield numbers they were seeing early this month.
Speaking to Russell, in the second week of December, he said, "We're in a part of the crop now that's going 5.8 tonnes so it's pretty good." He said though that they had yet to get into a frost-affected part of the wheat crop which would inevitably see a drop in yield, but he's hopeful the paddock will yield about 3.5 tonnes and expects to finish harvest just before Christmas.
A sharp frost event on September 2 where the temperature dropped to -5° C for up to five hours caused severe damage, impacting the wheat crop and 400ha of barley. Despite the frost though, the barley still yielded an average of 3.2 t, with half of it going malt, which "was a pleasant surprise", 800ha of canola yielding 2.4t and 1100 lupins yielding 2.3t. Although disappointed with the frost event, current high prices will make this a successful and profitable year for the business.
The Inman's 5300ha cropping enterprise, Woodside Farm, was purchased by the couple about 30 years ago, with parts of it originally belonging to Russell's maternal grandparents. It has an average rainfall of 350mm a year, although 2021 has seen about 400mm to date.
"We farm a lot better than we used to, and I think that goes for everyone. We're now minimum-till, so we're a lot more efficient in how we do things, and when you factor in the technology, like guidance systems and yield mapping, it takes our current farming practices to another level" - Russell Inman, WA farmer
A couple of Case IH headers, a 9240 and 8250, along with a new Case IH Magnum 310 and a Steiger Quadtrac are key members of the Inman team, with the technology available on todays' machines something Russell credits with making him a better farmer and their business more efficient and profitable. The Inmans also appreciate the reliable and expert support they receive from their local Case IH dealership, Boekeman Machinery in Wongan Hills. This support helps ensure the farming business runs efficiently and successfully.
"We farm a lot better than we used to, and I think that goes for everyone. We're now minimum-till, so we're a lot more efficient in how we do things, and when you factor in the technology, like guidance systems and yield mapping, it takes our current farming practices to another level," Russell said.
"You get crops in faster and more efficiently, and there's so much information now right at your fingertips. We're certainly better farmers than we were 20 years ago."
The evolution of the technology makes him excited for the future of the nations' ag industry.
"I enjoy the everyday challenges of farming and the way the industry is moving forward is exciting, too. The progress we've made in the last 15 years is quite amazing, it's changing all the time, and you're always learning. I am excited to be farming in the future and look forward to seeing what happens in the next few years."
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