SHORT spray windows, bigger hectares and higher water rates are driving the top broadacre farmers to look hard at their spray efficiency.
Lake Cargelligo farmers, the Dunn family recently upgraded their spray system in an effort to beat the weeds, while increasing spray efficiency.
The Dunn family purchased a Miller Nitro 5333 front-mounted sprayer with a Pommier aluminium boom.
Lachlan Dunn, who farms with wife Tammi and parents Kelvin and Pam, said the family crops 8906 hectares across two properties.
This year’s program includes wheat, barley and canola, sown on predominately red loam soils.
Mr Dunn said good weed control played a big part in their ability to plant and harvest this year.
“We followed the headers around last year with the sprayer, because it was so wet, and just kept spraying,” he said.
“I’m sure that’s the only reason we got a crop out of the ground this year, because we conserved the moisture and had a full profile.”
Mr Dunn said the decision to upgrade the spray system was based on the ability to efficiently cover larger hectares with a single sprayer, rather then moving to two rigs.
“The main reason we upgraded was to go bigger,” he said.
“That’s why we wanted the Miller Nitro, because we could get that bigger boom with the Pommier.
I’m sure that’s the only reason we got a crop out of the ground this year, because we conserved the moisture and had a full profile
“Because we’re broadacre, for us it’s more about covering more country when the conditions are right, and having the larger boom allows us to do that.
“The efficiencies we’ve seen have been second to none.”
Mr Dunn said underframe clearance, suspension and front mounting were all features he considered along with auto-turn functionality.
“It does the turn for you and is so much easier on the boom. I’m sure it will double the life of the boom doing it that way,” he said.
Mr Dunn said the extra width of the Pommier boom has given them the ability to cover more ground.
“In good spraying conditions, we can do 121 hectares an hour and that includes fuelling up,” he said.
Mr Dunn said their previous rate was about 80 ha/hr.
“Just having that extra boom width and bigger tank has made such a difference,” he said.
“It’s comfortable and easy – the suspension is really good on the Nitro.”
Mr Dunn said other techniques they used to increase spray efficiency was having the water truck shadow the sprayer to save time on tank refills.