A 90 per cent chemical saving on his north west NSW property has left Scott Carrigan with little doubt that See & Spray Select will be an industry game-changer.
Mr Carrigan trialled John Deere's See & Spray Select prior to its Australian launch in March, as part of the machinery company's extensive due diligence process.
See & Spray Select brings integrated camera technology that can be installed on a John Deere 400 or 600 Series sprayer to provide both an effective targeted spot-spray solution and a highly productive broadcast machine.
Built on the strong foundation of John Deere's ExactApplyTM, it rapidly detects only green vegetation within fallow ground and triggers an application to those plants.
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In doing so, trials on United States, Canadian Plains and Australian farms have found it uses an average 77pc less herbicide and provides two time-saving sprayers in one.
For Mr Carrigan, the saving achieved during the trial was even higher and he could immediately see how it could reduce inputs, save time, be more ecologically friendly and benefit his business bottom line.
"Obviously this was unique to our conditions, but we were running most of the time at around 10 per cent applied, which was a 90 per cent chemical saving - a fantastic result," Mr Carrigan said.
"You can just imagine the benefit there - there's less chemical we have to buy, handle and apply to the ground.
"We've been fortunate to have worked with John Deere on this and it certainly has been a game changer for us.
"It's probably the biggest equipment progression we've had in the last two decades."
Mr Carrigan operates a mixed enterprise on his property Tyrone, near Gurley, NSW.
Obviously this was unique to our conditions, but we were running most of the time at around 10 per cent applied, which was a 90 per cent chemical saving - a fantastic result
He mainly grows wheat for the domestic and export market but also plants barley, chickpeas and sorghum, while running around 4500 self-replacing Merino ewes.
"We've just finished planting and 70pc of our winter crop area has gone into wheat, 20pc to barley and 10pc to chickpeas," he said.
The season is 'going along quite nicely', after recent rain brought welcome relief from the prolonged drought much of Australia has been experiencing.
But rain is not always without its complications.
Major flooding in mid-March 2021 saw most of Mr Carrigan's property go under water, posing significant challenges in getting the country back into shape in time for planting the winter crop, including tackling a significant weed burden.
However, Mr Carrigan was able to use the See & Spray Select technology to tackle the heavy weed pressure, while using only a fraction of the herbicide he would typically have applied.
Mr Carrigan is deeply committed to protecting the health of the land he works and said See & Spray Select's ability to strategically place herbicides in direct response to what is in the field was transformational for chemical use and the cost of production.
He achieved great success using the technology, not only throughout the heightened weed burden following the flood, but also during the regular summer treatment period controlling grass weeds, fleabane and other 'bits and pieces'.
Mr Carrigan said during the summer fallow period, he rarely used a broadacre spray, and instead relied exclusively on See & Spray Select to target and treat weeds on fallow ground - something he believes makes it one of the most exciting products on the Australian farm machinery market.
"Certainly, we've found it very exciting to be working with John Deere and it's a product we've been waiting for and wishing for a long time," he said.
"We've finally got something now that works really well."