Enabling Farmers Article

May 11, 2015

Chaff cart to aid in weed control

Innovation drives profitability and efficiency for NSW grain grower Jamie Wright who says he is always looking at ways that he can do things better.

Jamie Wright is always looking to improve efficiency on his mixed farming operation at “Springfield’ Greenthorpe in NSW. Mr Wright who farms with wife Alisha is adamant that efficiency drives profitability.

“I am always building something or looking at ways we can do things better“ he said.

It was this attitude that led Mr Wright to trial the use of a chaff cart during his recent harvest in attempt to improve weed control. A chaff cart is a trailer that runs behind the header during harvest to catch the weed seeds.  Once the cart is full the pile of seeds is placed along in rows, they can then be left in the paddock until a decision is made as to whether they should be burned, used as compose or animal feed. 

“I have always used a mix of cultivation or chemical sprays to combat weeds, but I was becoming frustrated by soaring chemical bills coupled with poor results” Mr Wright said. 

Springfield Chaff Carts, New South Wales

Springfield Chaff Carts, New South Wales

Springfield Chaff Carts, New South Wales

Chaff cart

It was this frustration that pushed him to look for alternatives.  Chaff carts were already being used in Western Australia (WA) with some good results. So keen to learn more about the concept Mr Wright headed to WA to do some research. Impressed with what he saw, Mr Wright set about designing a prototype unique to his own farming operation.

“I wanted something that would suit my circumstances, so I made it a bit larger and created a false floor as opposed to the ones I saw in the West, that are traditionally smaller, with either a pivot or clam style floor."

Happy with the modifications Mr Wright used the chaff cart for this year’s harvest at the end of last year.

“This was our first season with the chaff cart and it work exceptionally well. I guess the proof will be in one to three years to see if our chemical costs are down and our weed population has fallen.” 

At the end of the day our goal is for better weed control with fewer chemicals and for me this will be just another tool in the tool box.
Jamie Wright

 

Reduction of chemical

On his property Mr Wright is constantly battling infestations of both rye grass and radish. And while there are new chemicals being developed the weeds are also evolving.

“We are definitely looking for minimum spray applications and are hoping this new concept will assist.”

“While he didn’t expect to eliminate chemical use all together hopefully we can drastically reduce our reliance."

“At the end of the day our goal is for better weed control with fewer chemicals and for me this will be just another tool in the tool box.  We will still cultivate, but with minimal till program on a five year turnaround.”

Mr Wright claims he is constantly looking at improvements and innovation.

“I am always doing something, I built a trailer from an old auger for a feed bin to fill with lick for the sheep in the summer and then I fill it with water for fire fighters."

“I have a weight trailer so I can harvest a trial and then process the data. I have found this more accurate than any yield map.”

“I am always looking for efficiency as efficiency drives profitability.”

This article was taken from the Enabling Farmers website.