While logistics and productivity will be much improved this season from the new sprayer’s wider boom and larger tank, he admits there is much to learn as the farm takes its first step on the precision farming ladder. “I’m excited but nervous at the same time,” says Roger. “Until now, we’ve been applying blanket rates across the farm with an old sprayer and no technology – now we’ve gone all-in with section control, with the long-term aim of using variable rate application maps.”
“There is a lot to learn, but it doesn’t all have to be understood in one season,” he adds. “And there’s plenty of specialist help on-hand to guide us on our way.” The farm’s new Kverneland iXtrack T4 was supplied by C&O Tractors. It brings a 36m boom and 4,600-litre tank to replace a 3,000-litre, 24m trailed model that had given decent service for the farm. Having moved away from outdoor pig activities, a wider boom was the first option on the wish-list for more output, now that seedbed remediation after pigs is no longer required.
“We didn’t expect to jump straight to 36m, but having seen the boom stability during a demonstration, it was the logical thing to do,” says Roger. “So now I’m starting with the basics, so I can get to understand the new sprayer before advancing into the technology.”
His pragmatic approach is perhaps the best way to adjust to new systems and techniques. “We’re in a transitional year, with early drilled crops sown on 24m tramlines, and later drilled crops at 36m,” he says. “So this is a season to learn and understand, to set field boundaries and get under the skin of the sprayer.”
“On tank size alone, I’m already much more efficient,” he says. “Where our largest fields required two loads, I can now cover them in one. When we make full use of reducing overlaps, we’re really going to make a positive impact on crop canopies and yields, while saving money.” In the cab of his MF 7722 Dyna VT are an iMFARMING IsoMatch Grip multi-function programmable joystick and a Tellus Pro dual screen terminal – the latter can also be utilised with the farm’s Kverneland 6m ts-drill.
“There’s a lot of information and capability at my fingertips, and having time sat in the cab button-bashing will give me a greater understanding of the technology available, before I put it all into practice,” he says. “I really like the simplicity of the iXclean Pro one-touch internal cleaning system with the Kverneland iXtrack T4. And having a clear suction filter is a stroke of genius.”