Home > Flexi-Coil's new approach already paying off for Victorian farmers

Flexi-Coil's new approach already paying off for Victorian farmers

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Cereal farmers Danny and Jodi Elford, who have 5,077 hectares at Manangatang, near Swan Hill in Victoria, made a big decision this year. They swapped their 30-year-old manual air seeder for a new Flexi-Coil variable rate seeder fitted with FlexControl electronics and a Task Controller. Along with these changes they also incorporated accurate mapping to pinpoint the best soils on their land.

Danny says the Task Controller, a precision agriculture tool which the Elfords have added to their 3850 air cart, has made an immense difference to their farming operation, which used to involve spreading fertiliser across the entire property.

“Being able to target inputs to where they’re really needed is a big money saver. The 3850 is really starting to pay for itself – we saved ten grand on some paddocks this season due to lower usage. The savings would cover my wages for cropping this year.”

He says precision agriculture is particularly valuable on his farm because of the soil conditions. “We have heavy, flat soil and severely sandy hills, so we needed something that was going to be beneficial in those difficult conditions.” 

While they thought about trialling the precision agricultural system on just part of their property this season, Danny says the potential for fertiliser cost savings led them to jump in and do the whole farm. 

The most important step, he says, was getting accurate mapping done. Jodi and Danny employed an agronomist for the job – and got some surprising results. “I’m a second generation farmer on this property,” Danny says, “but the mapping showed that what I had thought was the saltiest spot on my property was not.”

Danny and Jodi currently have their farm sown with a 50:50 split of wheat and barley. They say they would have upgraded to a new system fairly soon no matter what, but rising fertiliser prices pushed them to do it this year.

“It’s not just the input cost savings that led us to buy the Flexi-Coil air cart though, the Task Controller is good for me because I employ labour – I don’t normally operate the machine myself. It’s very difficult to find skilled operators so being able to tell the air cart what to do makes things simpler. 

Danny and Jodi chose the Flexi-Coil brand because they knew it would be compatible with equipment they use on their farm, and because they’ve used a Flexi-Coil seeder in the past. “We used to run a Flexi-Coil seeder here but it went with my brother when we split the farm.”

Danny’s advice to farmers who have been thinking about precision agriculture but have felt nervous about the change is that it’s a valuable investment that will return benefits early. “The maps are fairly important so it’s essential to get that right. With good agronomy I’d think a Task Controller would be very good for most farmers.”

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