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Bar upgrade opens sowing window, boosts crops at Babakin

Morris Quantum bar

Seeding driver Kevin Turner, Western Australian grower Rohan Crombie, Babakin, and Duncan Murdoch, McIntosh Distribution, with the Crombie’s 12-metre Morris Quantum air drill and 7252 tow-behind air cart.

GROWER: Rohan Crombie

AREA: Babakin, Central WA wheatbelt

OPERATION: Mixed cropping, pasture and sheep enterprise

REVIEW: Morris Quantum seeding bar & Morris 7252 air cart

DESPITE having a turn of the century air seeder, a strong focus on accurate seed placement meant the Crombie family at Babakin in Western Australia recently decided it was their much younger seeding bar that needed upgrading, and which also has allowed earlier sowing and improved crop establishment. We spoke to him recently abouthis decision to upgrade.

How did you come to the decision to upgrade your decade-old Morris seeding bar and maintain your 1990’s Morris 7252 air cart?

“We can plant canola and serradella and get down to 2-3 kilograms accurately with the Morris box. It is metering well, so we wanted to get the bar and seed placement right. We were looking to go to a hydraulic tine and then when we saw the Quantum bar, we loved the flotation, with the wheels on the outside of the frame. It’s a much better set-up.’’

How did the new air drill perform?

“A 9420 John Deere pulls it and when we are digging at depth – 4 inches plus – in heavy clay, it knows it’s alive. Last year we put over 2000ha in dry. We’ve been ripping into stuff that hasn’t been worked and it’s gone well. Where we couldn’t get in with the old bars until it rained, we are now quite comfortable to start and go. It has given us the flexibility to seed whatever paddock when we want to – and the ability to go dry and utilise rainfall. It showed good stubble handling ability as well. On the old bar, the tines with 400-pound breakout would ride back in the heavier clays and tighter gravels and throw the seed placement out. We were only doing 70-80pc of the job in the paddock before.’’

Morris Quantum bar

The turn of the century Morris 7252 air cart looked ready for the track after all its metering units and pipes were replaced with new stainless-steel items.

You have the Morris Auto-Pack for correctly closed and packed furrows and Auto-Lift for automatic lifting and lowering of tines at the end of run lines with your Quantum – how did you see those two features?

“You can set the outside boundaries and it will lift itself, and, being mixed country, you can see the bar adjust itself with the packing. We are interested in exploring the packing pressure. In heavier clays, you can get good seed-to-soil contact – and then with the medium country. It’s a learning game on how much you should pack. We are working with 40-80kg of packing pressure and will look to work out what’s best. We hope to gain some yield if we do it right.’’

Did you notice any difference with seed placement and following crop germinations and establishment?

“We really think it’s helping on some of the heavier country, where we haven’t been getting into it. Other people are probably finding too with hydraulic tines: To start when you want, put the seed where you want, with the packing to have a good seedbed with no air around the seed – it’s helping. We had 136 millimetres (of rainfall) for the growing season and were really happy with the yields. Our wheat yields were on the average, barley and lupins were above average and canola was similar.’’

How was the support around your use of a new air drill for your particular farming requirements?

“Duncan (Murdoch, McIntosh Distribution) knows tillage and the set-up to suit our country and the back-up was tremendous. We’ve never had a person so thorough. We can’t say enough about him. He did a lot with the upright air kits to have them set up on our bar and, in the end, it was one of the biggest things with the sale. They would help us through any questions and that was quite good. We also had a few of the guys come and sit on the tractor.’’

For further information, growers can contact their nearest McIntosh & Son Dealership.