A cutting-edge Waikato maize grower and contractor is using a high-spec Bogballe Fertiliser Spreader to avoid overlaps and do variable rate application of Nitrogen, Potash and other products.
Paul Hunter farms near Te Awamutu. He belongs to a group of farmers who are working with an agronomist and precision ag specialist David Densley to improve their profitability and meet environmental standards.
One way Paul does this is by using GPS and auto-steer to strip spray, strip-till and precision plant maize on his own property, Mulroy Farm, and for his contracting clients.
He can also use his Bogballe M35W with prescription maps, which direct it to apply urea and other inputs at variable rates to match the different soil types in his paddocks. The M35W also has section control, which ensures he does not overlap in irregularly shaped paddocks or on headlands.
“We grow about 200 ha of maize on our farm each year, and we plant a similar amount through the contracting business. After we harvest our own maize, we establish annual ryegrass, annual glover or a mixture of both” Paul says.
“Part of our farm is not cropped. It is in pasture to support Jersey bulls, which we supply to dairy farmers for heifer mating. We also fatten 100-150 steers each year.
We use the Bogballe spreader to apply nitrogen to the maize a month after it is planted. We do that for ourselves and for most of the farmers we plant for. We also make two or three applications of N and K to our grass paddocks during the winter
Bogballe says the M35W has an official carrying capacity of 3500 litres (Paul says it can carry 2.5 tonnes of SustaiN but more of other products) and can achieve spreading widths of 12m – 42m. It has load cells and section control as standard, and Mulroy Farm’s version is ISOBUS compatible.
Paul took ownership of his Bogballe M35W in the autumn of 2022. He brought it because he had such a good experience with his previous Bogballe.
“We ran a Bogballe for 15 years. We had a very good run with it but it wasn’t capable of working off prescription maps or cutting off on headlands. So we got the latest model with all the bells and whistles. It is set up to work off precision maps, the maps are based on grid soil samplings of our farm and maps of the maize paddocks have layers based on yield data”
“With ISOBUS, the prescription maps are easy to use with the tractor’s monitor. David Densley emails us the map and we put it straight into the GPS. It is magic! We have had no frustrations with it.”
Mulroy Farms runs the Bogballe M35W on a Fendt 720 that is set up with wide-row tracks to match the maize rows. Along with ISOBUS, the tractor is equipped with a Trimble GPS system.
Paul says his farm has an RTK correction service from the GPS Control system, which gives sub-2 cm accuracy. All operations in the maize paddocks are carried out using RTK.
“We start with strip spraying in July. In late September we do the strip-tilling, and two days later we bring in the precision planter. A month after planting we come in with the spreader on the same AB lines as the sprayer, strip tiller and planter.
It is a little hard to detect variable rate spreading changes with the eye, but it is amazing to see the section control working. One side shuts off as you are approaching a boundary”
Bogballe’s section control system uses 40 sections, which steplessly regulate the flow both in wedges and headlands. Paul brought his Bogballe from Kieran Steffert; Piako Tractors Morrinsville. He says it’s quite convenient that the headquarters of OriginAg is just 25km away from Mulroy Farm.
“We have good support from Piako Tractors and OriginAg, we had minor setup issues with the spreader and they sorted it out straight away. One thing we did was change the original vanes to smaller ones so that we could spread on the same 18.3m widths that we do our planting and spraying on”.
Written by: Paul Titus; Rural Contractor Magazine
Images by: Paul Hunter; Mulroy Farms.