Family steps into the future with RoGator WEED-IT

26 July 2022

Whykes
Peter Whykes and his sons with their two RoGator RG1300C sprayers, the newest of which is fitted with WEED-IT sensors.

May we all be as productive and willing to learn in our 90s as Peter Whykes.

Now 91, Peter and his son Chris are the primary sprayer operators on the family’s cropping farm, and they are mastering a new RoGator 1300C with WEED-IT spot spray technology.

Three generations of the Whykes family work their 4700-ha dryland farm west of Charlton in Victoria’s Mallee region. They produce barley, wheat, canola, lentils, peas, fava beans, lupin and vetch and oaten hay.

Because they sow their crops using direct drill or minimum tillage, they depend on agrichemicals to control weeds. They use their sprayer to apply a full range of crop protection – herbicides, insecticides and fungicides.

In April the family took ownership of their second self-propelled RoGator, which is equipped with dual spraying technology. It can do traditional blanket spraying or use its WEED-IT Quadro sensors to target individual weeds.

Peter says he and his sons were impressed with their previous 6000-litre RoGator 1300B self-propelled, so they were keen to upgrade it for the new 7000-litre RoGator 1300C.

“We bought the first RoGator in this area. It is a great machine with a strong boom. We ordered the new one with WEED-IT sensors because we want to reduce our chemical usage.

There are two big benefits to using less chemicals. One is that it is better for the environment and our soils, and the second is we will save money and time.

Peter Whykes

The Whykes family was hoping the new sprayer would arrive as scheduled at the beginning of the year because they plan to use its spot spraying capability during late summer and early autumn.

As it turned out, it did not arrive until April. Although it was late, it did arrive in time for them to see how effective it is. Both Peter and his son Jon are impressed.

“The sensors need to be able to distinguish the green weeds against brown soil, so we will mainly use spot spraying to apply glyphosate and paraquat during the summer fallow prior to sowing.

“It seems to be very accurate and it has done a good job. We were able to target weeds with the sensors while operating at 17-18 kph,” Peter says.

Jon estimates the WEED-IT spot spraying technology will reduce their chemical use during summer and autumn by 50-80 percent.

We would have saved $100,000 if we had used the WEED-IT over the whole summer. We did one job for a neighbour on contract and we used 30 percent of the amount of chemical we anticipated to do the job.

John Whykes

During blanket spraying, Peter says it is easy to prime the boom. An agitator in the tank works continuously and the product is continuously pumped through the boom so there is not a delay when spraying starts.

RoGator RG1300C

EASY TO CALIBRATE

The RoGator 1300C is also very easy to calibrate and has impressive section control, both of which come down to Capstan Pulse Width Modulation (PWM) technology. PWM regulates the application rate independent of pressure and it gives the ability to control every nozzle individually.

With Capstan PWM, 50hz solenoids mean nozzles constantly switch on and off up to 50 times per second. This gives the ability to vary the amount of time a nozzle cycles, making it possible to vary application rates while keeping the pressure constant.

“Using the previous system, if you wanted to increase the spray rate, the pump sped up and that increased the pressure so a bigger volume of chemical went out. The problem with that is it can encourage spray drift through fine droplets as the pressure increased,” Jon says.

“With this system, you put in the preselected application rate and pressure. As the speed of the sprayer varies, the pulsing rate of the nozzles adjusts to maintain the rate and the pressure. You know that 99 percent of the droplets are the right size to hit the target.”

nozzle control

Jon says this system also gives full individual nozzle control. This includes turn compensation so that during turns, each nozzle applies the exact rate required to make coverage consistent across the boom.

Individual nozzles also turn off if they are approaching an area that has already been sprayed. Section control in the Whykes’ previous RoGator deactivated and activated a cluster of nozzles.

This meant a number of nozzles would turn on together, even if only one in the cluster was over an area that had been not been sprayed. This could lead to over spraying and the extra costs and potential crop damage it can cause.

Boom auto fold and cruise control

“Another big step up with our new RoGator is the auto fold function for the boom,” Jon says. “With this one, there is just a single button that you push to fold out or in.”

“The new RoGator also has two auto cruise controls. You select the work speed and the turning speed and then you can just switch between them.”

sustainable spraying with WEED-IT

With its ability to reduce drift and spot spray, the new RoGator with WEED-IT is helping the Whykes family keep up with the very latest in technology and stay ahead of the regulators.

They believe that in the future all farmers and contractors will have to be able to show that they are only using the chemicals they need to use, and that they are only applying them where they need to go.

leARN mORE

O’Connors appointed weed-it dealers

July 2022

With a combined 108-years of experience in the farm machinery game, machinery dealer group O’Connors  share Croplands’ passion for delivering world-class technology to Australia’s world-class farmers.

It is with this in mind that we are pleased to announce a new partnership with the appointment of O’Connors as authorised dealers of Croplands market-leading WEED-IT optical spot spraying technology.

Croplands WEED-IT
Croplands WEED-IT systems now available at O’Connors dealership locations

Established in north-west Victoria in 1964, O’Connors is an award-winning machinery dealership offering an extensive range of both new and used agricultural equipment, precision agriculture products, innovative technology and exceptional customer service.

Along with community engagement this makes O’Connors a reliable, local partner. Having developed teams of high-quality staff at each location with extensive knowledge and a high level of technical training, O’Connors confidently offers farmers the level of support they deserve to be at their best.

Tom Sheridan, Group Sales Development Manager at O’Connors is excited for the partnership and the opportunities it presents for broadacre farmers in the O’Connors Dealership Network.

“Our customers are some of the most innovative farmers in the world and we need to ensure we can supply them with equipment that keeps them at the forefront of profitable and sustainable farming practices. The WEED-IT Optical Spot Sprayers by Croplands are widely respected as the industry leaders in spot spraying technology, with a calculatable and achievable return on investment for farmers who are dedicated to achieving a successful summer fallow.”

Mr Sheridan explained “When we were presented with the opportunity to market the product across our fifteen dealership locations it was a simple business decision for our group.”

O'Connors Croplands WEED-IT Training
O’Connors staff have undertaken training in the WEED-IT system

O’Connors Staff recently undertook technical training in the WEED-IT system and the capabilities of the product.

O’Connors Machinery Sales Representative, Alex Noonan, one of the staff involved, was impressed with the capability of the equipment.

“It’s certainly a product that our customers have been asking after – the opportunity the reduce chemical use in the summer fallow management period is a high priority for broadacre farmers.” he said.

The addition of Croplands WEED-IT to the O’Connors dealer network represents another significant step for the group as they also celebrate a recent expansion through the acquisition of the former Sunrise Ag Case IH dealerships in Swan Hill, Ouyen and Mildura. These acquisitions take the group’s footprint to fifteen locations and allow the organisation to enhance its product, parts and service offering for the benefit of their customers now and into the future.

Broadacre TrailedO’Connors will be offering the full range of Croplands WEED-IT optical spot spraying solutions and parts as well as retaining the Broadacre Trailing and Compact Sprayers and Components product offering in the acquired Sunrise dealerships.

leARN mORE about weed-it

RoGator with WEED-IT impresses farming family

18 January 2022

Croplands Customer - Simon Donovan
Brother and sister, Simon and Sarah, from Donovan Farming Company take deliver of their new RoGator RG1300C with WEED-IT technology fitted.

Central Queensland farmer Simon Donovan has used RoGator self-propelled sprayers for 14 years.

He says every model has been better than the previous one, and his latest has been kitted out with great new technology – WEED-IT optical spot spraying system, Raven XRT boom-levelling and Ag Leader GPS.

Simon manages Duaringa Station. It is one of three properties in Central Queensland owned by his parents Bruce and Beryl Donovan under the umbrella of Donovan Farming Company Pty Ltd.

They produce durum wheat, chickpeas, cotton, sorghum and corn on 4800 ha. The RoGator covers that ground at least four times a year.

The family purchased their first RoGator in 2004. A local contractor had one and it seemed robust, so that was their choice when their old sprayer needed replacing. They are now onto their fourth one.

For the durability and the toughness of the machine, we have found RoGators to be second to none.

Simon Donovan, Donovan Farming Company

Every model has seemed great, but then the next one arrives and it has improved. It is a nice feeling knowing that the manufacturer is listening to farmers and making the changes.

For example, Simon wanted to spend more time in the paddock. He now has a 6000-litre tank with the chassis upgraded to accommodate this.

“There have been upgrades in the wheel motors, so it handles the conditions even better.”

The filtration system has also improved. Previous models relied on filters at the nozzles and Simon had to organise his own filtration system.

“It never worked that well. This machine has its own awesome filtration system. They have nailed it. It is built to handle the volume of water we want to use.

“Another improvement is to the boom. Other brands don’t seem to handle our conditions. We can’t fault this one.”

RoGator RG1300C boom
RoGator. Better booms. Better yields.

The boom is 36m, fully recirculating, and is equipped to do both broadcast spraying and spot spraying with WEED-IT.

weed-it precision spraying

The WEED-IT system has blue LED sensors at 1m intervals along the boom. Each sensor controls four nozzles which are fired when a weed is detected. The superior mode of detection used by the WEED-IT system ensures very small weeds can be targeted before they set seed.

With spot spraying we are saving at least 80 percent in chemicals even though we apply at a higher rate.

Simon Donovan

“We are really smashing it, hitting the plant with four times the rate.”

He can also use more targeted sprays, which are usually more expensive.

Croplands WEED-IT Nozzles
With WEED-IT fitted to his RoGator RG1300C, Simon can target those hard-to-kill weeds.

A particular problem in central Queensland is Feathertop Rhodes grass, which is becoming resistant. The WEED-IT system allows him to control it.

“If I didn’t have this I would have to put steel in the ground and break up the soil structure. I am hitting the target weeds harder and saving ourselves a lot of work and money.”

Spot spraying is slower at about 14 kph compared to the 24 kph Simon drives when using the RoGator as a blanket sprayer.

raven XRT delivers boom stability

At those speeds Raven XRT boom-levelling is quite handy.

“When I turn corners or drive through a washout the boom height stays consistent. It does not hit the ground so it protects the boom. It should really be compulsory.

“Each WEED-IT sensor is worth $5000 so you don’t want to start smashing them up. Without Raven I have to rely on my ability to keep it level.”

Raven XRT’s radar-based sensors detect the ground and keep the boom stable in three dimensions. This also helps reduce spray drift because the boom is at a consistent height above the crop.

unprecedented product recovery

The RoGator has a recirculating boom and ClearFlow product recovery. It uses air to push unused product back from the lines into the tank, or it can blow it out of the nozzles.

Combined with the rinse tank, they clean the RoGator out and ready for its next task. So, it is not hard to change from herbicides to fungicides or foliar fertiliser.

RoGator ClearFlow product recovery
ClearFlow full-recovery system minimises waste and contamination.

A large induction hopper allows for easy mixing of any product, be it liquid or granules, while in the tank the product is constantly moving and mixing.

With OptiMotion, the amount of agitation automatically changes as the level in the tank drops.

operator comfort

Simon says the new RoGator 1300C is really user-friendly. The cab is comfortable and quiet, which is just as well since he feels like he lives in it.

It becomes his office and is set up with air-conditioning, a sound system, Bluetooth and connections for his iPad.

The RoGator even comes with its own weather station.

“It gives you the humidity and wind’s speed and direction. Info is king. We can make decisions on the go, so the chemical is on the target and we do not affect neighbours,” Simon says.

He particularly likes the reversing camera. It reduces the stress of backing a large machine when kids and animals could be around.

RoGator RG1300C cab
The RoGator cab combines functionality and comfort.

The width of the wheel track is adjustable from the cab to fit with different tramlines.

Ag leader for more control

GPS, auto-steer and sectional control are through Ag Leader.

Runs on Duaringa Station are up to 8 km long and auto-steer takes the fatigue out of the day.

“You can change everything on the go. You don’t have to get out of the cab to make an adjustment.”

a drive system that practically runs itself

The RoGator has an 8.4-litre, 340hp, engine connected to a new SmartDrive transmission which automatically adjusts engine RPM to the power required – this means Simon sets the speed and the RoGator does the rest.

“Fuel efficiency is awesome. It does not work harder than it has to.”

RoGator RG1300C Smart Drive
SmartDrive. All-wheel traction control. All the time.

service and support

Croplands Toowoomba supplied the sprayer, and Simon says product delivery was done really well.

“Croplands spent all day with me. This is a massive investment and you get what you need. Training and the answers to any questions are only a phone call away. I can’t fault them.”

No matter how great the technology, a business has to justify the investment and the RoGator adds up for the Donovan family.

“With the amount of work we do, we should pay it off in 1100 hours. I plan to turn it over on 3000 to 3500 hours,” Simon concludes.

leARN mORE

Dual purpose RoGator gives contractor options

20 December 2021

The Liverpool Plains Groundspray team with their new RG700B with WEED-IT technology fitted.

A RoGator RG700B has proven to be the ideal ground spraying tool for New South Wales contractor Bob Sipple.

Bob purchased his second self-propelled RoGator RG700B sprayer in July 2021, to replace his previous RoGator RG700, which he had for five years.

“The two RoGators are both essentially the same. We had a good run overall with the first RoGator 700. It was a good machine.

“We probably do 1200 to 1500 hours a year on it. It all depends on the season. In the summertime we do night work if we get behind, so we do some big days.”

Bob has been operating in the Liverpool Plains region for 25 years from his base at Quirindi in northern New South Wales.

Liverpool Plains Groundspray operates on 15 to 20 properties all year round mostly doing broadacre spraying plus some dryland cotton spraying.

“Over Spring, growers are sowing sorghum, cotton, beans and sunflowers. This year there has been a reasonable amount of rain, so there will be quite a bit of cotton over the summer.

“Then we do Winter wheat, barley and chick peas. Most people will plant half the farm and leave some of the farm fallow. We usually get good rainfall all year, so people can sow summer and winter crops, which keeps us busy.”

dual purpose machine

RG700B with WEED-IT sensors
RoGator RG700B with WEED-IT spot spraying sensors fitted.

Bob’s new RoGator RG700B has a 120-ft boom and a dual-purpose spray line with WEED-IT Quadro sensors that allow him to do both broadacre spraying and spot spraying.

The boom is fitted with Arag 2×2 nozzle bodies, each of which has two nozzles for spot spraying and two for broadacre spraying.

Local Croplands agent, NFS Ag in Gunnedah, sold Bob his Rogator RG700B and installed its dual-purpose spray system.

Along with the option to do spot spraying or full boom spraying, the RoGator RG700B can work on 3m-4m wheel spacing. This gives Liverpool Plains Groundspray the flexibility to operate in the different terrains found in northern New South Wales.

“We have a mix of sloping country with contours and flat plain and sub plain country, so there is plenty of variety,” Bob says.

He says the RoGator 700 sprayers are a good size and lightweight compared to other sprayings, so they do not leave big wheel tracks.

“Sprayers can be quite heavy these days. The main thing with the RoGator is that it is light – we don’t want big wheel tracks everywhere.”

Bob likes the 120-foot aluminium boom, which is sturdy and provides good coverage so he can get through a large area of work in a day.

The sensors that operate with WEED-IT Quadro spot spraying technology ensure precision spraying by detecting chlorophyll in the leaves of actively growing weeds in fallow fields. Spray nozzles are then activated via a 50Hz 6-volt PWM-capable solenoid releasing a burst of spray directly onto the weed. This advanced mode of detection enables faster travel speeds and targets even the smallest of weeds.

They are really good. We pick up quite a bit of spot spray work as there is quite a bit of demand from growers

Bob Sipple, Liverpool Plains Groundspray

Inside the cab, the RoGator has all the standard features including Trimble autosteer, and air bags for safety.

The RoGator can travel on the open road at 50 kph, so Bob can travel between jobs efficiently.

LOCAL SUPPORT

Bob has been dealing with NFS Ag for a number of years and buys all of his equipment from them.

“They are only 80 km away, so they are pretty handy. They always come over when we have a breakdown and are here when we need them.

“Our last RoGator had minimal down time. There were some little things, but as a rule it just kept going.”

Bob has no hesitation recommending RoGator sprayers and WEED-IT technology to other contractors and farmers.

leARN mORE

WEED-IT better for environment and bottom-line says NSW farmer

30 November 2021

WEED-IT is an important tool for controlling difficult weeds such as ryegrass, sow thistle and fleabane.

Brendon Schultz is a broadacre farmer on the Liverpool Plains in NSW in partnership with his wife Amy and father-in-law Kevin Perkins. They grow wheat, barley and sorghum.

Brendon Schultz with his WEED-IT toolbar – supplied and installed by Croplands dealer, NFS Ag

They bought their first WEED-IT in January 2020, when drought pushed them into the purchase.

“Stressed weeds are harder to kill,” Brendon says.

WEED-IT’s core feature is a series of blue LED sensors along the boom of the sprayer, which detect weeds and then sprays them – and only them. It uses a fraction of the spray compared to a traditional boom sprayer.

The saving in spray is huge. Brendon can use higher rates of more effective (and more expensive) chemicals, and still save money because he uses so much less.

We are getting coverage rates between five and eight percent of the paddock. It allows us to use higher rates that would have been cost prohibitive and we still use far less herbicide.

Brendon Schultz

“It also allowed us to use other chemistries that also would have been cost prohibitive.”

Brendon saves time with the WEED-IT because he sprays less often.

“We are not getting the escapes that didn’t get killed in the first application.”

Brendon bought the WEED-IT system of controller, sensors, nozzle bodies and solenoids, and addedthem to his existing sprayer. The boom is 12m and it is used with a 600-litre tank.

WEED-IT is a flexible system. It can be bought as an add-on, as Brendon has done, or it can be bought as a complete spray unit, and it can do both spot spraying and broadacre applications.

Some versions of WEED-IT can even do both at the same time. For example the Croplands WEED-IT trailed sprayers are complete spray units with two tanks and two regulating systems. These sprayers can apply two different sprays at different rates at the same time, one as broadacre and one as a spot sprayer.

Brendon uses his WEED-IT solely as a spot sprayer and runs a larger sprayer with a 34m boom for broadacre spraying.

WEED-IT uses blue LEDs to detect the chlorophyll in plants as blue is more sensitive than red. The blue lights can be used at night, which Brendon frequently does.

“The sensitivity is adjustable. Typically we run in the middle of the range. We know if it is misfiring if a lot of nozzles are going off, but there are not many weeds. That happens if the ground is very wet or in certain types of stubble. Then we just decrease the sensitivity.”

The spray line is 700 mm above the ground, clear of stubble, and the sensors are 1100 mm above the ground to prevent shading of weeds. Each sensor is a metre apart and controls four nozzles.

Brendon’s WEED-IT equipped sprayer

Controlling the WEED-IT is done via its own monitor, which Brendon says is easy to use.

Added to it is GPS control to prevent overlaps or missing sections.

Brendon’s dealer is NFS Ag Machinery in Gunnedah.

He says they have provided good service and can supply everything he needs.

“We had a few small issues with software and they have been quick to come out and get the machinery running again.”

Before WEED-IT, Brendon was spraying herbicides more frequently.

“Now we load up the tank with the brew and we know it is going to kill those weeds.

“The results are very good. We get it done first time in a manner that is economical.

Environmentally and economically it’s a long way in front of where we were.”

leARN mORE

WEED-IT’s performance and cost savings add up for QLD farmer

29 September 2021

Tony Wedel
Tony Wedel pictured with his Croplands WEED-IT 6000

Tony and Leanne Wedel crop 3640 hectares in Capella, Queensland. The operation, Marylands Farming, produces sorghum, wheat, sunflowers, mung beans and chickpeas on undulating country 50 kilometres from Emerald.

Weed control is vital to the Wedel’s operation. With weeds constantly evolving and adapting, Tony and Leanne have had to evolve their weed management practices.

Where Tony previously used a self-propelled sprayer for his entire spraying program, he now uses a Croplands WEED-IT optical spot sprayer for managing weeds in fallow paddocks across the farm.

“Sometimes I only spray five percent of the paddock. It is a big saving on chemical, and gives us better control.”

WEED-IT Quadro sprayers from Croplands are multi-talented machines that give farmers and spray contractors options including two systems of operation – blanket spraying and spot spraying.

They can work alone, or the two systems can work simultaneously. For example, you can blanket spray a pre-emergent with one tank across the whole paddock, while the spot sprayer has a high concentration of a different chemical and targets only the emerged weeds at a different rate.

Tony and Leanne purchased their first Croplands WEED-IT spot sprayer in November 2017.

“We had bought the place next door and were having trouble trying to control summer grass and Feathertop Rhodes. We got the WEED-IT spot sprayer and it has controlled it all.”

Because Tony only sprays the weeds and not the whole field with the WEED-IT, he uses a fraction of the spray and can afford a more concentrated chemistry with a different mode of action to ensure a good result.

“We use a lot more expensive brew that does a better job,” he says.

The couple bought their latest WEED-IT sprayer in June, 2021. The Croplands WEED-IT 6000 has a 36m ground -following boom with springs and twin airbags on each wheel to give efficient boom suspension.

“Every now and then we hit a contour on the wrong angle, but there have been no issues,” Tony says.

Croplands WEED-IT Contour Following Boom
Croplands-exclusive ground following boom has been specifically designed for WEED-IT trailed sprayers

The main tank holds 6000 litres and the spot-spray tank holds 1100 litres. Tony can also use the main tank for spot spraying.

His first WEED-IT sprayer featured the first generation red LED sensors, whilst the new sprayer has the next generation Quadro sensors with blue LEDs, which are more sensitive to weeds and give greater accuracy.

Sensors are spaced 1m apart with each unit controlling four solenoids on 250mm spacing fitted with 40 degree narrow angled nozzles. Unique to the industry, this superior sensor and nozzle arrangement delivers more chemical savings than its competitors and ensures the highest dose of chemistry is delivered to the target.

Croplands WEED-IT Nozzles
WEED-IT’s sensor and nozzle set up delivers superior coverage

The sensitivity of the machine can be altered to suit the size and type of weed as well as light setting – for example, if you are spraying at night, so that the unit’s performance is not impacted.

“Some weeds have been incredibly large but the WEED-IT still knocks them over and kills them,” Tony says.

At the end of the day, he flushes out the lines using fresh water from the 470-litre rinse tank combined with some Omo washing powder. If the sprayer will be in storage for a few weeks he uses a wetting agent to stop the nozzles blocking.

It only takes a push of a button in the cab to fold the boom back into transport mode.

Tony pulls the Croplands WEED-IT 6000 with a 280-hp tractor but he says “150 hp would be plenty”.

He controls the spot sprayer on its own terminal, and can run the blanket boom through the tractor’s ISOBUS system.

WEED-IT Controller

While he has the option, Tony has yet to use the blanket spray option with his new Croplands WEED-IT 6000 due to the high accuracy of the spot spray mode across his fallow ground. He says he wanted the full boomspray option mainly for resale value.

Tony also owns a self-propelled Rogator RG1300B that he uses for all in-crop work including insecticides and fungicides.

The local WEED-IT dealer is Western Mechanical in Capella.

“It is a really good local service,” Tony says.

They do other repairs and maintenance for Marylands Farming and are happy to come out when required.

His Croplands WEED-IT sprayers have needed little support, but if Tony needs spare parts the dealer stocks them as well as other wearing parts.

Our first WEED-IT covered 25,900 hectares per year for four years. All we did was change the air bags and tyres, which was just normal wear and tear.

Tony Wedel

Technicians from both Western Mechanical and Croplands came out to set up that first WEED-IT and show Tony how to use it.

When he got the second one, they set it up, gave it a trial run, and will return when the spray season gets underway.

WEED-IT sprayers have been well worth the money for Tony.

“I wouldn’t have bought another if it wasn’t. I don’t understand why more people aren’t using them, especially with the price of chemicals going up and weeds getting harder to kill.”

leARN mORE

WEED-IT to feature at WeedSmart Week 2021

03 August 2021

WeedSmart’s flagship annual event is on again, this year being held over three days in Esperance, Western Australia.

WeedSmart Week brings together growers and advisors to engage on the WeedSmart Big 6 and gain insights on the latest tactics for minimising the impact of herbicide resistance on their businesses.

Croplands is proud to be involved as an industry partner at this year’s event.

WeedSmart Week represents an excellent opportunity for us to not only share our weed management solutions but also to hear and learn from forward-thinking growers and advisors.

Jeremy Rennick, Croplands National Sale Manager

Croplands National Sales Manager, Jeremy Rennick, has attended previous WeedSmart events and recognises the important role that they play in educating industry on best practice weed management.

“As a subsidiary of Nufarm, the team here at Croplands is very conscious of the importance of effective and efficient chemical application. WeedSmart Week represents an excellent opportunity for us to not only share our weed management solutions but also to hear and learn from forward-thinking growers and advisors,” he says.

Croplands market-leading optical spot spray technology, WEED-IT, will be featured on day two of the Esperance event during the very popular technology and machinery field demonstration. The demonstration will be hosted by Ben White, Kondinin Group’s research manager.

WEED-IT technology operates by detecting chlorophyll in actively growing weeds in fallow fields using near infrared sensors, identifying and targeting weeds with unrivalled accuracy – saving water and time, preserving precious soil moisture and minimising the weed seed bank.

Croplands have led the charge in bringing broadscale spot spraying to the Australian market with over 15,000 WEED-IT sensors sold to farms and contractors across Australia over the past 6 years.

“WEED-IT technology is light-years ahead in terms of weed detection and targeting. And there’s nothing like an in-field demonstration to showcase the impressive results that can be achieved,” says Jeremy.

Win the battle against crop weeds with WEED-IT and the WeedSmart Big 6

Croplands WEED-IT Nozzles

Mix and rotate herbicides

Mixing and rotating herbicides buys you time and shots when management herbicide-resistant weeds on your property. WEED-IT allows you to do this easily and economically.

Fat hen weed

Stop weed seed set

Stopping weed seed set is another critical strategy for managing weeds.

With WEED-IT’s proven detection and targeting accuracy, you can target even the smallest of weeds in a fallow situation.

WeedSmart Big 6

The WeedSmart Week Technology and Machinery Field Demonstration is taking place on Wednesday 18th August at the Campbell Shed. For more information and to register, see here.

leARN mORE

Weed management that’s light-years ahead

01 July 2021

WEED-IT optical spot spraying has been instrumental in helping Australian farmers gain the advantage in weed management and control.

Using advanced sensors to detect chlorophyll in actively growing weeds in fallow fields, WEED-IT saves growers time and money when spraying and reduces overall herbicide usage. Croplands has led the charge in bringing WEED-IT to market with over 13,000 sensors sold into the Australian market alone.

Having distributed WEED-IT in Australia for nearly a decade, Croplands have built up a wealth of knowledge and runs on the board when it comes to advising and supporting end users and their consultants with their optical spot spraying programs.

While the sensors are manufactured in the Netherlands, Croplands has developed a range of best practice platforms specifically for Australian conditions and for Australian operators who are continually searching for field efficiencies.

Croplands WEED-IT 7000
Croplands WEED-IT 7000 – the world’s first twin-tank, twin-line sprayer

The premium model in the Croplands WEED-IT range – the Croplands WEED-IT 7000 – features a 7000-litre main tank, 800-litre flushing tank and a 1500-litre hot tank. The latter of which holds high-concentration chemicals for spot spraying.

“Our Australian-designed twin-tank, twin-line sprayers allow growers to spot spray whilst also applying a blanket spray with the option of using different herbicides at different water rates to deliver excellent weed control

Steve Norton, Croplands Portfolio Manager.

“For example, a pre-emergent herbicide could be applied through the blanket line, while the spot spray line may apply a knockdown herbicide to existing weeds.”

Croplands WEED-IT Nozzles

“Another common strategy used to delay the onset of herbicide resistance is to use a concentrated mixture of chemicals and rotate between groups. The Croplands WEED-IT twin-tank, twin-line sprayers give growers the ability to engage both these strategies in a very economical fashion to target those hard-to-kill weeds,”.

Croplands WEED-IT 7000

In 2019 Croplands released the evolutionary WEED-IT Quadro, the next generation in spot spraying technology which uses blue near infrared sensors.

“WEED-IT Quadro’s superior mode of detection allows for faster travel speeds and the ability to target smaller weeds before they get harder to kill or go to seed,” says Steve.

WEED-IT Quadro sensors activate extremely fast 50Hz 6-volt PWM-capable solenoids – opening and closing 50 times per second – that in turn activate nozzles to hit the weed with a targeted spray. This is vital for accurate targeting of weeds in a range of weather and speed conditions, day or night.

Quadro sets a new standard for high-speed nozzle activation and accurate weed targeting.

Steve Norton, Croplands Portfolio Manager

“The sensors automatically calibrate 40,000 times per second to compensate for varying crop, soil and daylight conditions. They are also very efficient at night spraying.”

“25cm nozzle spacing coupled to 40 degree nozzles means that WEED-IT Quadro’s spray zone is optimised and more accurate than other optical spot sprayers.”

Croplands WEED-IT

Other models in the Croplands WEED-IT trailed range include the cable-suspended hydraulic boom models made in collaboration with leading Western Australian manufacturers, Sonic, and the Croplands-designed models with 4000 or 6000-litre main tanks. All models have the option to upgrade to a twin-tank, twin-line configuration.

In 2020 Croplands boosted its WEED-IT range with the introduction of a three-point linkage model that was designed at its facility in South Australia.

“Over the past eight years, most WEED-IT platform developments have focused on trailing sprayers and smaller tool bars. Now we work more towards adapting a sensor platform that better suits row crop environments”, says Steve.

Croplands WEED-IT Linkage 24m

The three-point linkage sprayer is available with boom widths of 19m or 25m.

“Quadro sensors are fitted every metre across the boom with the first sensor placed on centre, which is ideal for row cropping,” Steve says.

Designed with a tank size of 1600 litres, the new linkage model offers other convenient features such as hydraulic lift, separate hand wash tank, and 80-litre flush tank for rinsing nozzles and boom lines.

WEED-IT Buyers Guide
Croplands 2021 WEED-IT product guide is out now

EXPLORE CROPLANDS WEED-IT SOLUTIONS

WEED-IT Trailed Sprayers

Tailor made for optical spot spraying, Croplands WEED-IT Trailed Sprayers are available with contour-following or cable-suspended booms.

Show More

WEED-IT Linkage

Lightweight and easy to transport, WEED-IT three-point linkage sprayers are available in 12 and 24-metre sizes.

Show More

WEED-IT Self Propelled Sprayer Kit

WEED-IT Quadro can be retrofitted to several makes and models of self-propelled sprayers using an alloy bracket kit.

Show More

Long-time spot spraying advocate turns to WEED-IT Quadro

02 November 2020

David Brownhill (right) with sprayer operator Lochie Murray (left) with their WEED-IT Quadro trailing sprayer

Brothers David and Gordon Brownhill have understood the value of weed-sensing technology since the 1990s.

David says the latest spray technology is an essential tool for no-till broadacre farmers, and the pair has received an immediate financial return from their new trailed WEED-IT Quadro sprayer.

The Brownhill brothers are third generation farmers, who run Merrilong Pastoral Company. The farm on the Liverpool Plains in New South Wales has grown to 10,000 ha.

They run stock on 2000 ha and the rest is for cropping cotton, sorghum (for grain as a summer crop), corn, four types of wheat, barley, chickpeas and faba beans.

Gordon is general manager and David is business manager. They also have a farm manager and nine full time staff. Gordon’s son Hugh recently joined the business, becoming the fourth generation of Brownhills to work the land.

David says he first became interested in weed-sensing technology when the then Department of Agriculture was developing a system in Tamworth. He and Gordon bought an early prototype. It was not user-friendly.

However, in 1998, David won a Nuffield Scholarship and used the opportunity to visit California to see how spot-spray technology was being used with cotton.

That led David to form a company in 2001 to import weed-sensing technology on a 24m boom. He then changed tack, and used another version of the technology, until finally this year he bought the WEED-IT Quadro with a 36m boom.

He says the main reason he swapped to WEED-IT was its new blue light system. Earlier brands use red LED lights, but blue LED lights are more accurate at detecting the green of chlorophyll in plants, and they operate just as well at night.

The night operation matters as the Brownhills can spray glyphosate during the day and gramoxone at night, because the latter is more effective at night.

Their best effort has been 780 ha covered in 24 hours.

The WEED-IT system is compatible with most boom types and David and Gordon run theirs on a Hayes sprayer, made just over the border in Queensland.

We are super happy. It has been a great investment. The pay back has been crazy. In the first eight weeks we saved $157,000 off the weed bill.

David Brownhill, Merrilong Pastoral Company NSW

That massive savings was because after two years of drought there were minimal weeds – only about four percent cover. This meant they could spray their entire 8000 ha cropping area with the spot-sprayer to hit the hardy survivors, without wasting spray on barren areas.

“The guy running our spraying operation brought a proposal to the board. He did the maths and said we would pay it off in three years. The way it is going, it will be in two. It is one of the few bits of technology that gives you a return to the pocket straight away.”

David says integrated pest management (IPM) is stock standard for anyone in the cotton industry and they do practices such as winter and summer rotations and use targeted sprays where possible, which do not harm beneficial insects.

“I believe in science and technology and have no issues with herbicides and insecticides, but the less we can use the better,” he says.

Spot spraying is a perfect complement to IPM. It also means they can deal with hard-to-kill weeds by using higher concentrations, without breaking the bank.

The WEED-IT Quadro provides options. It can be specified with two tanks to apply two different chemicals on different rates. Or it can broadacre spray with one chemical while spot spraying with the other. WEED-IT sensors can also be retrofitted to several makes and models of self-propelled sprayers with kits specifically designed for each boom.

For David’s operation, he ordered a model with just one 4000-litre tank and only spot sprayers. He does have the option to add another tank later if required.

It is not a huge tank, but then when only spraying four percent of a paddock, you do not use much. It also means little time is wasted filling up.

Lochie, the night driver, fills up at say 6pm, and that tank usually lasts the night.

If he does need to fill up, there is a cage on the front with herbicide. He can fill up with water somewhere on the property, and the herbicide is ingested through the line into the tank. In this way, he is fully self-sufficient through the night.

Weed-detecting sensors on the WEED-IT boom are on 1m spacings. Each sensor controls four nozzles fitted with a high speed 50hz, 6v solenoid. The boom is 1.1m high to prevent shading of weeds and background calibration happens 40,000 times per second so there are no issues with accuracy in different soil conditions.

Crop rotations on the Brownhills’ farm see wheat harvested in December, and then 10-11 months fallow before replanting. During that fallow time, paddocks are sprayed on 4-6 week intervals.

David says the WEED-IT can work at about 13 kph, which allows them to cover 36 ha/hour. “The accuracy at 13 kph is sensational.”

The Quadro has five sensitivity settings and on Merrilong farms they always run on 1, the most sensitive. The WEED-IT system automatically calibrates as it goes.

How big does a farm have to be to justify this technology? “I could probably justify this on 2000 ha,” David says.

At Merrilong they use a 320-hp tractor to tow the Quadro, however David says that is really overkill and they could use 150 hp. The tractor used on the WEED-IT, also has other roles on the farm.

Croplands provides the back-up service for the WEED-IT Quadro.

“There are so many settings, and the guy from Croplands helps us make other choices, like when the nozzles turn off and on. It is an excellent process.”

leARN mORE