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WEED-IT helps dryland farmer retain moisture

Image of WEED-IT helps dryland farmer retain moisture

Controlling problem summer weeds is essential to Sheldon and Rebecca Dalton's cropping business in western NSW.

Controlling problem summer weeds is essential to Sheldon and Rebecca Dalton’s cropping business, so they had no hesitation adding a new WEED-IT 7000 spot sprayer to their fleet.

The WEED-IT 7000 compliments their two RoGator RG1300 sprayers, which are used to blanket spray paddocks left to fallow, while the WEED-IT is used to mop up any remaining weeds. All three sprayers are supplied by Croplands.

“We haven’t used the WEED-IT a lot yet, but it is already showing us it will be a great addition to get those hard to kill weeds, without having to spray the whole paddock. So it is economical,” Sheldon says.

“We farm in a lower rainfall area, and we leave a certain percentage of paddocks each year that we don’t crop, so we can build up our moisture as a risk management tool. It is important that we don’t let weeds take over and the Weed-It has a fairly well proven record.”

The Daltons farm around 18,000 hectares in western New South Wales on flat and slightly undulating country. They get an average yearly rainfall of about 350 mm.

Because of the lower rainfall, they fallow about 30 percent of their paddocks each year to allow subsoil moisture to build up. Rhodes grass is a particular problem over the summer months, Sheldon says.

“In the summer we are having trouble with Rhodes weed. It’s becoming a pest and an expensive weed to eradicate with blanket spraying.

“But with the WEED-IT, we can target each weed individually without having to respray the whole paddock.”

“Instead of spraying 100 percent of the paddock we might only need to spray 5-30 percent. It makes the process more economical and we know we are achieving targeted eradication.”

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Bellamy, Kaleb and Sheldon Dalton pictured with Croplands Territory Manager, David Hamilton

Croplands has extensively tested and calibrated WEED-IT 7000 sprayers for Australian conditions. Last year they added the new Quadro sensor to the spot sprayers.

Quadro sensors used blue LED lights, which are more sensitive to weeds than red LED lights. This enhances the sprayer’s accuracy and ability to get the job done.

With WEED-IT technology farmers and contractors can delay the onset of herbicide resistance, lower the weed seed bank and improve water retention, while making substantial chemical savings, which are all things the Daltons wanted to achieve.

They bought their WEED-IT from the Croplands dealership, Intersales in Griffith, NSW, which is about 90 km from their farm.

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WEED-IT uses advanced sensors to detect and target actively growing weeds in fallow fields.

Sheldon and Rebecca farm with their sons Bellamy and Kaleb at ‘Tanderra’, near the town of Hillston.

The family owns and leases a total area of 35,000 ha, including 18,000 ha of farmland. The balance is in Mallee forest land, which is ideal for hunting wild pigs and deer.

Their home block of Tanderra includes 12,000 ha of farmland from 11 adjoining properties, while there are a couple of lease blocks located up to 30 km from Tanderra.

The Daltons’ farming operation is mainly arable. They grow wheat and barley for grain, and add peas and vetch legumes to the cropping programme to build up nitrogen in the soil. They also run a commercial herd of Angus cattle.

After the challenges of successive dry seasons in recent years, the Daltons are enjoying a good season with nearly 400 mm of rain so far this year, ahead of the average yearly rainfall of 350 mm.

“We got through alright last year. We had a couple of good rains at the end of the previous year and just before sowing, so we had a good crop. But we had a couple of dry years before that.”

Sheldon says the two RoGator RG1300s are the operation’s two main sprayers and are used for pre-sowing spraying, as well as blanket spraying of fallow paddocks. They are well complemented by the WEED-IT 7000.

He bought the first RG1300 about four or five years ago and added the second one last year.

Learn more about WEED-IT.