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Spot spraying a popular point of difference for contractor

McIntosh & Son

Spray contractor Greg Williment, of G & M Ag Spray at Griffith in New South Wales, says the suspended WeedSeeker 2 boom used with his Miller sprayer has proved invaluable over irrigation country and wider growers are now increasingly recognising its benefits. “I love the WeedSeeker 2 – it’s the best thing I’ve ever bought. The more time I spend on it, the more I learn what I can do with it,’’ he says.

ADDING spot spray technology to his contracting operation has been a strong point of difference for Greg Williment’s G & M Ag Spray business at Griffith in New South Wales, and as he continues to demonstrate its benefits and related savings for growers, the more popular it becomes.

Originally from the land in Central Queensland and also having previously farmed in the local area, Greg, together with his wife Melissa, supports mainly broadacre producers within a 150-kilometre radius of Griffith.

Their business runs three spray rigs, a Miller Nitro 6333 sprayer with a 48-metre Pommier boom as well as the 36m WeedSeeker 2 spot spray system, plus a fertiliser spreader, while a 24m Spra-Coupe sprayer with 1500-litre tank and R4023 John Deere sprayer are used on irrigated country.

Greg has used Miller N2XP, 4000 and 5000 series sprayers prior to upgrading to the 6000 series model, lauding their versatility.

He previously operated two Miller sprayers before opting, also due to the tight labour supply, for the larger 6000 series rig.

“The older models had 4500L tanks and a 36m boom. In a big day, we would cover 500-600 hectares,’’ Greg said.

“With the 6000L tank and 48m boom on the larger sprayer, we can now cover 1000ha in a day.’’

He said the front-mounted design of the Miller sprayers also was beneficial considering the range of work from irrigation to broadacre country, including negotiating irrigation channels and tree belts.

Compared with alternate, ground gliding spot sprayers, the suspended WeedSeeker 2 boom attached to the Miller has proved invaluable over the irrigation country and wider growers are now increasingly recognising its benefits.

“Other trailing spot sprayers are in use, but they are battling to handle the constant running around on the ground. They are also a significant investment when you add the need to tow them with a tractor,’’ Greg said.

“I love the WeedSeeker 2 – it’s the best thing I’ve ever bought. The more time I spend on it, the more I learn what I can do with it. I’ve even been able to pick out Bathurst burr in sheep country.’’

ISOBUS compatibility with the WeedSeeker 2 has made it easy to “plug and play’’, excellent calibration allows for the strategic weed targeting, and the Raven auto-height control system works very well.

“The fail-safe feature of spraying fully when above a height of 600 millimetres from the ground is also brilliant,’’ Greg said.

“I can be doing an irrigation paddock and lift one boom section over a channel and it will spray that channel while the rest of the boom is weed-seeking. I can do the same over fence lines – I’m really impressed with what it can do.

“Having section control means I can also manually turn-off sections. And I can switch between blanket spraying and the WeedSeeker 2 at the push of a button.’’

Greg recently completed his first summer with the WeedSeeker 2 boom, covering 12,000ha, and while wet conditions resulted in significant blanket spraying throughout the region, he said various growers viewed the technology from the Miller cab and some big chemical savings were recorded.

“A lot of growers were intrigued and it’s getting more popular. Some are having to repair the ground gliding systems and so are watching it closely. They are seeing the results and they like it.’’

“We had one grower where with all the country we covered, the most we sprayed was 74 per cent, so it was still a saving of 26pc. We have done everything from spraying only 1pc through to 74pc of the area.

“Growers can look at a paddock and think: ‘This is going to need a blanket spray’. But the WeedSeeker 2 doesn’t miss a thing. And even with spraying 74pc and including the contracting cost, they are still in front.

“Some growers think it is good only when there are a few weeds, but there can be a lot of weeds and you can still get good chemical savings,’’ Greg said.