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Major Miller Spray Air Efficiencies Keep on Coming at Bowenville

Major Miller Spray Air Efficiencies Keep on Coming at Bowenville

Published in Queensland Country Life November 15, 2017

WHEN Bowenville growers Murray and Lance Wise made the change to a self-propelled (SP) sprayer, the increase in efficiency was instant.

There was no going back for the Wises, who are now in their 10th year of using SP sprayers on the family farm at ‘Avalon’ in Queensland’s Darling Downs region. Lance and his wife, Fallon, along with their three children, Bridie, Ava and Billy, farm with Lance’s parents, Murray and Janette.

The property spans 1647 hectares, of which 1569ha is cropped to barley and chickpeas in winter and sorghum and mung beans in summer. They also run about 30-40 head of mix breed cattle.

The Miller Nitro range has been the family’s sprayer of choice since switching to SP machines and most recently, they upgraded to a Nitro 6333 last November, purchased through Terry Clark at McIntosh & Son, Dalby. Prior to that, they had a Nitro 4365.

“We’re in to our 10th year with the Nitros and we’ve stuck with them mainly because of the front-mounted boom and the overall comfort of the whole machine,” Lance said.

“The reason we went to self-propelled in the first place was the efficiency and that’s exactly what we’ve seen.

“We went from two, 5000-litre 100-foot boom ground rigs to one self-propelled sprayer.

“It’s very user-friendly and everything is right out in front of you, from the operating buttons to the boom – everything you need is right there.

“Everything I would have changed on the other models we’ve had, has been done on the 6333. There aren’t many other machines on the market that come close to it.”

Between summer and winter crops, the spraying program is extensive at ‘Avalon’, with the whole property sprayed between five to 10 times during the year, depending on the crop rotation.

When they upgraded to the Nitro 6333, Lance said they opted to have the Miller Spray-Air system installed, which combines the benefits of both air-assist and air-atomisation into one powerful spray nozzle system.

Lance said getting used to the technology had been a learning curve, but one that was well worth the effort and had resulted in them being able to lower water rates.

“Once you get the idea of it, it’s pretty simple and you can change the droplet on the go from the cab. It’s a drift mitigation thing and just good practice,” he said. “You’re getting the job done right and you can fine-tune it as you go.

“It’s had a big impact on water rates for us. With a standard Roundup spray, we were using a water rate of 50L/ha and were looking at going higher. With fungicides and pre-emergent herbicides, we were up around 100L/ha.

“Since having the Spray-Air, we’ve got them down to 30-45L/ha for herbicide sprays and 60L/ha with the fungicides.

“So we’re using about 10-40 per cent less water overall and when we’re doing a Roundup spray, we’ve gone from getting 120ha out of a tank to 200ha, so there has definitely been an increase in efficiency for us.”

With their largest paddock being 185ha, Lance said they could now cover it with one tank fill rather than two. “We’ve completely cut out that half-an-hour required to run back and fill up, during which time weather conditions can change,” he said.

The Miller Nitro 6333 features a new propulsion system that allows maximum power with minimum fuel consumption, and Torque-Hub planetary final drives delivering high torque and long life.

Many growers have reported significant improvements in fuel economy with the new propulsion system and Lance is no exception. He said their fuel usage had been reduced by up to two-thirds, without having to compromise on torque.

The Nitro 6333 has been carefully designed for a near 50-50 weight distribution when spraying, and, when combined with a 1.8-metre clearance, for the Wise family that has allowed them to spray crops that were previously only accessible via contract aerial spraying.

“The way the balance is set up on the Nitro means we no longer have to get the plane in for aerial spraying, because it doesn’t leave as much of a footprint and it just carries so well,” Lance said.

“They are made for the job, rather than having to adapt other machinery to get the job done.”