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Spring 2016

Applying Technology For Best Practice In The Central Highlands

Cowal Agricultural is a Queensland company that owns and operates eight properties in the Central Highlands around Emerald. Their 5,000 Ha of irrigable and dry cropland grow cotton, mungbeans, sorghum, chickpeas and wheat along the Nogoa River. Irrigation comes from the Fairbairn Dam, 20Km upstream. The land contains also riparian and anabranch areas, ephemeral billabongs and sand ridges that sustain a variety of ecosystems with their plant and animal life.

Cowal business is run with family-farmer care in mind, and it also prides itself in implementing industry best management practices in every facet of its operations. Cowal employs around 15 employees, 10 full-time with 5 added during the peak summer cropping season. One of the managers is Paul Yates.

Paul has been using John Deere since he left college in 1991. As he likes to put it, ‘green runs through my veins’. As an operator, Paul praises the Deeres’ ease of operation and high levels of comfort, and he values how Vanderfield have been there for him ‘day and night, chasing parts for us or doing whatever needed to keep us going’ and offering a smooth experience when buying new machinery.

But Paul mostly appreciates the benefits that John Deere products and services have brought to his operations. They have been using GreenStar 3 and RTK steering for a while, but it was when they changed their base station to a 3000 that the computerised system began to offer its full potential. ‘Everyone uses it now, and with My JD I can keep track of what the tractors have been doing day and night, as well as having a range of accurate data easily available’.

Paul is looking forward to increased productivity when they introduce variable rating. As an example, they recently acquired a new 5430i self-propelled sprayer and Paul anticipates will result in optimised spraying through the use of data transfer from the software, which will yield both economic and environmental benefits.

Call 1300 VANDER about precision farming.