Friday, 19 June 2020 10:03

Handles humps and hollows with ease

Written by  Mark Daniel
The Turley’s trailed Horsch Leeb GS sprayer with 6,000-litre capacity and 36m booms in action. The Turley’s trailed Horsch Leeb GS sprayer with 6,000-litre capacity and 36m booms in action.

Turley Farms has found success with a trailed Horsch Leeb GS sprayer.

Turley Farms, owned by Margaret and Murray Turley, is a large multi-farm cropping operation that produces wheat, onions, grass seed, white clover, potatoes and hybrid vegetable seeds.

Operating on 36m tramlines, they also have undulating ground. So, the Turleys were the first in New Zealand to purchase a trailed Horsch Leeb GS sprayer with 6,000-litre capacity and 36m booms. 

The machine is equipped with Horsch’s BoomControl Pro Plus, which allows each side of the boom to bend vertically, at a pivot point partway down its length, to offer impressive contour following.

Andrew Smith, farm manager at Turley Farms’ property at Orton, says the land there looks flat, but is old riverbed country and has plenty of dips and gullies. 

“The Horsch Leeb auto control boom follows the contours better than anything else on the market. 

“This is what attracted us to it.”

Smith says when working with their old sprayer there could be a height difference of 1.5m from one end to the other, creating a risk of the boom digging into the ground, or the opposite effect, more spray drift and uneven application. 

“Weed control in the onions has improved and we spray a little less,” Smith says. 

“We are now getting around 95% chemical contact in the crop as the boom is always the same height. We typically work at a 300mm boom height but have the option to work at up to 900mm if conditions demand.” 

Turley Farms main sprayer operator is Andrew McConnochie, who in a typical season sprays 20,000 ha over 1,600 hours. 

For 26 years, Turley Farms had run self-propelled units, so it was a big deal to get McConnochie to embrace the change to trailed. He says he is now working in conditions that would have stopped him in the previous sprayer. 

“If there is a breeze and the boom is 1m above the crop, then you get drift. There are not many days we have to stop now, as the booms are that low – it just looks after itself.”

Running the Horsch Leeb at a speed of 12-16 km/h, the use of higher water rates and increased speeds means more hectares being covered in less time. 

In operation, McConnochie enters in the spray rate and how many hectares to be covered, then the spray controller calculates how much water is required and pumps up that much, typically taking about 11 minutes to completely fill the tank.

If forward speed changes while spraying, the system adjusts the application rate to keep the total rate constant. Meanwhile, the operator can also change nozzles from the cab, rather than get out and do it manually.

The sprayer also features section control, so it delivers an even application rate without overlaps or skips. 

Looking to the future, Turley Farms is considering a Horsch self-propelled model, probably fitted with Auto-Select, where the sprayer changes nozzles on-the-fly to meet required rates and changing ground speeds. 

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Lely offerings for the future

Dutch robotic specialist Lely launched a new farm management application called Horizon at its recent Future Farm Days 2020.

Designed to connect data from a range of on-farm equipment and suppliers into one management system, it creates a real-time decision-support platform, to make the farmer’s life easier, the herd healthier and the farm more profitable, says Lely.

Developed over a 24-month period, with over 100 test farmers in seven countries, working with 75 engineers, designers, farm management advisors, veterinarians and AI specialists, the new application will eventually replace the current Lely T4C management system. It uses smart algorithms and the cloud to deliver data that is processed into actionable information that is always accessible on any device in a user-friendly way.

Lely claims the Horizon application unburdens farmers from routine decision making and helps them optimise their workloads, using integrated routines based on easily scheduled cow ‘touches’, create logical and more efficient workflows. It is also possible to assign a certain task to an employee and to schedule a time slot for the cow touch, rather than analysing different reports and filtering long lists.

Horizon is also able to connect and combine data from non-Lely sources into a complete solution for the farmer removing the need to enter the same data twice, while scrutinising individual data streams in different applications will no longer be necessary. Currently, connections with farming applications such as Dairy Comp, Uniform-Agri, CRV and Herde already enable farmers to synchronise information about calving and inseminations between applications. Lely’s ambition is to connect with more partners over time, to hand the farmer more smart data.

To ensure full support in the migration to Lely Horizon, existing Lely T4C customers will be personally informed by their Lely Center before the end of 2020.

The migration is planned in a phased approach, from country to country, over the year 2021.

Also launched at the event, Lely Exos is an autonomous concept for harvesting and feeding fresh grass to the herd.

The company suggests that feeding fresh grass makes better use of available roughage, suggesting “fresh” has between 10 and 20% more nutritional value than grass silage, as there are minimal losses typically seen during mowing, tedding, raking, harvesting and feeding.

Lely suggests that feeding fresh grass over an extended season reduces the amount of silage that has to be conserved, reduces the need for concentrates and bought-in feed and increase the margin made on each litre of milk produced.

Based around an all-electric vehicle that mows and feeds, Exos is light weight and uses soil friendly technology, that can be exploited throughout the growing season. Design to work 24/7 as feed requirements change, the system places no constraints on labour or time, while it is also designed to work in tandem with the Lely Vector automatic feeding systems.

In operation, Exos also collects field data as it goes about its job, giving framers live data on grass supply and lending itself to a further concept of delivering a targeted liquid fertiliser as it passes over a harvested area.

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