16 November 2020
Kiernan Molloy knew the seeding depth control on the family’s Skipton property in Victoria was not what it used to be. After deliberating between brands, he settled on a seeding bar that was simple to operate and also offered improvements in trash flow, penetration in dry conditions and inter-row sowing. He says it is miles ahead of its predecessor.
The Molloy family at Skipton in Victoria are all smiles after the first cropping season with their new 12-metre Morris Quantum air drill. Kiernan and Gemma are pictured together with their four children, Bronte (12), Lyla (11), Charlie (9) and Maisie (6).
AT A GLANCE
IT’S been a good season for Victorian grower Kiernan Molloy, Skipton, to test the performance of his new seeding bar and his response is positive – “the crops look great’’.
"The crops are a lot more even this year and have established well,’’ Kiernan said.
Together with his wife, Gemma, and their four children, Kiernan farms across two properties in the area. They grow wheat, canola, faba beans, oats and occasionally barley over the predominantly basalt land, featuring loam over heavy clays. The properties also accommodate a Border Leicester/Merino crossbred sheep flock.
The cropping program had long been completed with a 12-metre Morris C1 Contour Drill that Kiernan considered had “done its time’’.
“In the last year with the old bar, I thought it was time to move on. The depth control was not what it used to be,’’ he said.
Other key focus areas for selecting a new bar included trash flow, penetration in dry conditions, inter-row sowing and simple operation.
Despite considering alternate brands, a Morris bar was again the pick for Kiernan, but this time in the form of the manufacturer’s latest Quantum air drill, sourced through local dealer Western Plains Motors at Rokewood.
He said compared with some of the other leading bars, the Quantum air drill was less complicated.
Hitched to a Gason airseeder and pulled by a Magnum 340 tractor with dual front and rear tyres, the 12m air drill is set on 25-centimetre tyne spacings.
Colin Gardiner with Western Plains Motors at Rokewood, Victoria, and Skipton grower Kiernan Molloy discuss the good crop establishment on the Molloy’s property this season thanks to excellent depth control achieved by the Morris Quantum air drill.
The Molloys also switched to a shorter Dutch Industries point and boot system this year. Seeding depths range from 1-3cm and they now dig to only 2.5cm below the seed, whereas previously it was up to 5cm below the seed, which Kiernan said also “chewed-up’’ a lot of fuel. They now use around 40 litres of fuel per hour.
Commencing the cropping program in mid to late April can result in dry-sowing into the hard conditions and Kiernan said the previous arrangement with the C1 Contour Drill could see its rear tyres lift off the ground.
He said managing tree holes in some former tree country was another reason he selected the parallelogram design of the Morris Quantum air drill over rigid bars.
“It has got better up and down travel and really follows the contour well compared with some of the other bars.’’
“We want the tynes to follow the country and it went beautifully. It is miles ahead of the old bar.
“Once we removed the shim plates used for longer points, it was very simple to set everything up.
“Pressures were also easy to control from the cab by adjusting the Jem controller. Some paddocks were softer than others, so we just backed it off by 100psi to adjust packing pressure.’’
Kiernan said the area had enjoyed an excellent soil moisture profile all year, with the bonus of a dry July to prevent conditions from getting too wet.
Trash handling was another important box ticked by the Quantum air drill, which was impressive considering the 6 tonne/ha wheat stubbles produced in good seasons.
“The extra clearance under the frame gives the trash an easier exit,’’ Kiernan said.
“We burn some heavy stubbles and windrow some lighter stubble paddocks.
“We had a 3t/ha hybrid canola stubble this year and the Quantum handled it quite well. We would have been doing circles with our old bar.’’
He said the large flotation tyres were another strong benefit and appropriate considering the weight of the Morris bar.
“They have great flotation and rolling circumference.’’
“With our old bar, when we ran into wet conditions the tyres would stop, but the tyres on the new Quantum just kept turning,’’ Kiernan said.