PREMER farmers David and Lauren McGavin have been recognised for their work in precision farming, receiving the Brownhill Cup at the 2017 Commonwealth Bank AgQuip Field Days today.
The perpetual trophy, donated by Spring Ridge farmers Gordon and David Brownhill, “Merrilong”, encourages landholders and agricultural professionals to apply conservation farming and improved management practices on properties in the northern farming zone.
The McGavins, who own Precision Seeding Solutions, have adopted leading cropping technology, using variable rate planting technology, as well as a hybrid planter, to plant multiple varieties according to soil type.
The planter runs two independent meters down the one seed tube, allowing the McGavins to plant two different varieties side by side.
It’s the first of its kind in Australia following its commercial release in the United States two years ago.
“We started looking for good planting equipement to use on our farm and came across precision planting equipment to give us better seed spacing,” Mr McGavin said.
“We’re only one 390 hectares so it’s a fairly small area.
“It'’s very easy to think it’s just one soil type but looking at yield maps, there’s huge variation, from seven tonnes a hectare down to 2t/ha … so we looked at how we can even that out.”
Variable rate maps are loaded on to the monitor in the cab and the planter uses an electric motor to drive the meter, with a mini hopper filled by a central fill system that has two different varieties.
Last year, Scorpio and Taurus sorghum varieties were planted together, giving the McGavins the opportunity to boost yield with Scorpio, but also play it safe with the more reliable and resilient Taurus.
“Whatever our zone size is, we can decided to plant one variety, maybe a more irrigated variety in a lesser soil type, one that has continually given us more yield, and something that’s more resilient.
“It’s evened the yield out at home. Our farm average was up around 6t/ha and it was a very tough year for us so I think we’re pretty excited about the potential, where we can head with it, by finetuning the zones.”
Brownhill Cup committee member Gordon Brownhill said the Brownhill cup aimed to recognise people in the industry who practice innovative farming to improve sustainability, productivity and profitability in agriculture.
“Mr McGavin was very deserving of the award and his research will become more prominent in the industry over time,” he said.
The Brownhill Cup is donated by the Brownhill family and sponsored by Commonwealth Bank and the NSW Department of Primary Industries.