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Farmanco Facts – November 2023

A premium Farm Management Advice resource for Australian farm businesses. Articles written by our professional team of consultants.

Technology AI in Ag; How do the Highest Performing Farmers tackle Machinery Investment?; My Next Machinery Purchase: Cash or Chattel Mortgage; Canola Seed Storage; and Autonomous Boomsprays & Green-on-Green Technology.


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Key Points for November:


Technology & AI in Agriculture

  • A raft of new technologies that can change how we farm are coming to market. 

  • It is important to be aware of what’s going on, and the risks and hidden costs of this technology.  

  • Farmanco is trying to understand these technologies and how they may benefit farm businesses.

In the short term, tech doesn’t develop as fast as people hope it will, and they often become disillusioned with progress.  In the long term, technology evolves faster than we predict.


How do the Highest Performing Farmers Tackle Machinery Investment?

Greg Easton (Farm Management Consultant)


The Top 25% of clients across all rainfall zones:

  • crop more area.

  • utilise their machinery better.

  • crop more area per metre of bar width.

  • spend more on machinery and have lower machinery costs per cropped hectare.


The best performing growers in the low rainfall zone (LRZ) have a higher focus on seeding equipment and their overall machinery cost per hectare is higher than other farmers. This is not the case in the medium rainfall zone (MRZ) and high rainfall zone (HRZ).



My Next Machinery Purchase: Cash or Chattel Mortgage

Ben Curtis (Farm Management Consultant)

  • Consider effective interest rates of chattel mortgage loans and your overdraft.

  • Using overdraft cash might impact your borrowing capacity for working capital or farm purchases.

If you think interest rates are likely to fall, then fixing a rate in a chattel mortgage might not be the strategy you choose.



Canola Seed Storage

David Cameron (Agronomist)

  • Many variables affect canola seed viability, but moisture affects it the most.

  • Temperature affects it the second most, with fluctuations and high heat damaging seed.

  • Well stored seed will perform, but get it tested.

This season, with difficult emergence conditions in some areas, differences were noted between batches of canola seed and seed carried over from the previous season. This article considers the storage and use of hybrid seed.


Autonomous Boomspray & Green-on-Green Technology

Rob Sands (Farm Management Consultant)

  • If you own a 36 metre SP boom, the addition of an autonomous SwarmBot pulling a 12 metre boom with Bilberry technology could reduce your total spraying costs per hectare by 8%, or $66,000 over 5,000 ha.

  • Having a wider (24 metre) autonomous boom and a wider (48 metre) SP boom increases the potential saving to $108,000.

  • If you purchase a 48 metre boom with the Bilberry technology, there should be a saving of $71,000/year compared to having a 36 metre SP boom without the Bilberry, plus the SwarmBot and boom with Bilberry technology.

  • The cost of spraying with the SwarmBot and the 12 metre Bilberry equipped boom is likely to be double the operating cost of using a 36 metre SP boom without a Bilberry, and 42% more than a 36 metre SP boom with the Bilberry system.

  • The Green-on-Green subscription fee is a hefty $8/ha, up to a maximum of $51,828/year. This is 24% of the total cost of operating the SwarmBot and boom.

In August, the Farmanco Management Team visited Bungulla Farms in the Tammin district, which is owned and managed by Brad Jones and his family. Brad has made the decision to enter the world of autonomous machines through the purchase of a SwarmBot hooked up to a Goldacres 12 metre boom.




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