NZFarmer : February 3rd 2009
14 Straight Furrow • February 3, 2009 Fixed-wing fertiliser drop well received Fertiliser Super Air chief pilot Joe Cave, and Laurence Potter, sales and supply manager, Allied Grain. A GPS was used to assist the pilot flying a PT6 powered Fletcher which was redesigned by Super Air to carry the bulky nitrogen fertilisers. By RACHEL SCRIMGEOUR T Don’t Compromise Quality FARMERS!We Have AvailableNOW • Whole and rolled Maize & Barley • Try our 50/50 rolled Maize & Barley with Molasses. Ideal for all stock requirements. Dairy, beef, horses, goats etc. • Calf meals BULK OR BAGS 0800 262 493 Call the team today to discuss your options 492 Bond Rd, Te Awamutu HE first of a series of field trials involving side dressing maize crops with fixed-wing aircraft was recent- ly conducted in Waikato with the joint efforts of Allied Grain and Super Air. With Allied Grains focus on cost-effec- tive crop production, the co-operative is always on the lookout for alternative methods which will benefit its growers financially. Sales and Supply manager and compa- ny agronomist Laurence Potter, originally based in Hawke’s Bay, saw firsthand the efficiency of using fixed-wing aircraft for applying high-analysis fertilisers at low application rates. He wanted to assess whether the same theory could be applied to maize crops with high application rates in Waikato. “While there are numerous alternatives to side dressing maize crops already, I was curious to see if this was financially viable and could be practically applied to maize crops,” said Mr Potter. Mr Potter approached old school mate Joe Cave, now chief pilot for Super Air based in Hamilton, to discuss the feasibil- ity of this. “We decided the best way forward was to conduct some trials in order to prove the accuracy of our spread,” said Mr Cave. “We had received feedback that farm- ers’ perception was that we were less accurate than helicopters, so we wanted to provide data to prove our accuracy.” In late December, a trial was conducted on one of Allied Grains customer’s maize blocks. This involved monitoring the dis- tribution of urea applied over a 24ha maize crop at 200kg/ha. This was achieved by placing trays in a uniform pattern across the crop to moni- tor variation of the spread pattern. A global positioning guidance system (GPS) was used to assist the pilot flying a PT6-powered Fletcher which was redesigned by Super Air to carry the bulky nitrogen fertilisers. “One of the advantages of using the system we have is that the pilots can gen- erate the maps by computer over the phone, for more accurate placement,” said Mr Cave. Urea from each catchment containers were individually mapped and weighed giving a reference to spread pattern across the crop. “I was impressed with the even accura- cy of the spread of fertiliser even includ- ing headlands,” said Mr Potter. “I had reservations on headland place- ment however results have proven to be successful.” Mr Cave said considering it was the first field trial they have undertaken; they exceeded their expectations and were impressed that their model predicted the results they observed in the field. “This has also given us the ability to run our own quality assessment pro- gramme.” Initial results have proved promising but further trials will be conducted by Allied Grain and Super Air to collate more data. firstname.lastname@example.org Urea from each catchment container was individually mapped and weighed, giving a reference to spread pattern across the crop.
January 27th 2009