Conservation tillage in action with new technology at Roseworthy Campus
Friday, 20 July 2001
Seeding has just about finished for the year and Adelaide University has been busy putting some new technology through its paces on its commercial farm at the Roseworthy Campus, north of Adelaide in South Australia. Staff and students have been lining up to test the latest innovations in conservation tilling over the last month using a new Ausplow Auseeder and John Deere 8410 tractor purchased with the help of John Deere, the seeder design company Ausplow, Airtech Australia and and local business Gawler Farm Machinery.
Mr Andrew Polkinghorne, General Manager of Roseworthy Farm, says no other Australian University has such equipment and that the new technology is a breakthrough for managing Australia's fragile dryland soils.
"The key feature of this seeder is the conservation tillage approach," said Mr Polkinghorne. "The new equipment is handling the conditions well and offers significant opportunity for improving soil structure and soil health. This should lead to increased yields and profits. Giving students the opportunity to use the seeder means they can see first hand the difference these new tillage practices make in preserving soil structure without paying the traditional penalty of lower yields."
The seeder will be the star turn for visitors to a Crop Walk on July 26th, which will focus on controlled traffic and direct drilled crops. The walk will also feature a presentation by Sam Kleeman from Adelaide University's Department of Agronomy and Farming systems on his trial work on chemical incorporation in direct drill systems and weed populations under direct drill systems.
The DBS Auseeder can carry up to three separate loads of seed and fertiliser and the operator can vary the distribution while in action or preprogram the seeder for the changing soil types in a specific paddock. Coulters on the seeder prepare the furrow and a 100mm deep knife is used to enable fertiliser to be placed deep in the soil and the slot created by the knife ensures good drainage during the first stage of growth. Another pipe distributes fertiliser at the seed level to encourage fast growth. The precision control means soil between the furrows is left untouched, discouraging weed growth and preserving soil structure while the furrows themselves protect the tender new plants.
Mr Polkinghorne says canola seed planted using the Auseeder is already showing through well after one week. "Canola is traditionally difficult to get up and going," said Mr Polkinghorne. "The precision of the equipment allows us to ensure optimum conditions for the crop. It also has the capacity to handle liquid fertilizers. These are not widely used yet in Australia but they will be in the future," he said.
The purchase of the seeder and tractor was made possible with support by Australian company Ausplow, the designers and manufacturers of the technology, John Deere, the manufacturers of the tractor and Airtech Australia and Gawler Farm Machinery, the respective distributors of the equipment.
The University of Adelaide
Mobile: 0427 212 679
Ms Lee Welch
The University of Adelaide
Business: +61 8 8339 4763