Jason C Berry – BERRY FARMS
I am well pleased with the weed control that has been achieved in our bean crop. We planted 3 rows per bed and used the power weeder one week after emergence then again 10 days later. We have controlled 90% of the weeds and the plants are now large enough to shade out and prevent further weed germination. We have approximately 75% control in our squash crop. This is all with zero herbicide usage. I believe in the permanent raised bed system and feel that we will continue to see gains in yield while improving our soil CEC and organic matter simultaneously. I am very impressed with the simple yet imaginative design you have and the overall craftsmanship is superb.
NJ & NJ Ellwood
– Nick Elwood.
Rice on Beds, Rice was grown on beds within a conventional rice layout with beds running across the grade rather than down the grade as is normally the case for a bed farming layout.
This layout provides many benefits to growing rice, and also allows winter crops to be sown into a contour layout without the fear of water logging. Watering of winter crops can also be achieved with little risk.
Other summer crops can be grown on this layout, without the need for using siphons. The bays can be filled without submerging the top of the beds. The system can also be automated by using water level as a trigger to opening the bay outlet in the next bay.
The best thing about the layout is not having to change it between rice and other crops. Which means less time on the tractor.
So with easy irrigation, less time on the tractor, and the ability to grow winter and summer crops, the layout has great potential.
This years rice crop was drilled using disc openers into moist soil, and then watered intermittently on a week to ten days interval. Once Panical Initiation was reached the water was raised as for a conventional rice crop. It is estimated that at least 2ML/ha is saved using this method.
With water, herbicide, fuel, and contract labour savings it is estimated that between $200 and $300/ha in costs can be saved, which equates to about an extra 1 to 1.5 tonne/ha in yield.
The rice was sown too late this, which restricted the yield potential, however a yield of 8.6 tonne/ha was very encouraging considering the cold summer.
Kai Halford in Kununurra,Western Australia:
“We received the bedformer in good shape and have put it to work with great results.
The design and workmanship are first class and we are extremely happy with our purchase.”
I am the inventor of the Happy Seeder now being manufactured in India and Pakistan, having built the first prototype at Punjab Agricultural University six years ago. I have known David and SAM for five years, I met him whilst trying to incorporate some of his thinking into my latest development. David is nothing short of a brilliant inventor and developer over a wide range of heavy engineering and building appliances. SAM’s design and particularly fabrication skills are second to none and in my opinion Mahindra will only gain by whatever association they enter into. I have no hesitation whatever of commending David to you, please feel free to contact me over any issues in this regard, by any means you wish.
Wayne Hughes Bovill Bros Pty Tas
We purchase out Reverse Till Bed former/Bed Renovator 3 years ago for out Letuce Business and since then it has done close to a thousand acres on Red Clay ground and Black Sand, It is on its second set of blades. We are more than happy with the job it soes in leaving a trash free fine level seedbed, we are going to useit on opium poppy beds on our wet ground this year and expect an excellent result for germination.
I highly recommend these machines for horticultural production as well as broad acre crops.
Wayne Hughes (Farm Manager)
The flower grower who uses the complete RBM System for the transplanting of flower seedlings and later weeding the young plants in hot houses, using a small 25hp tractor with 48 inch wheel centres to grow on 5 raised beds inside the hot house.
Tasmania : SAM’s RBM System is now used by Simplots (Edgels). Thier main contractor purchased a triple bedformer to form beds for the companys growers for peas, cauliflowers, potatoes, poppies & brassicas.
The Japanese Market has awarded Grant Brown the ” BEST CARROT GROWER IN THE WORLD AWARD “ in December 1999.
New Zealand carrot grower Grant Brown had only 5 inches of rich top soil over a very ordinary subsoil in a high rainfall area. Using SAM’s RBM system Mr. Brown was able to increase his top soil to 10 inches and lifted his yeild considerably.
Grant has since placed an order for a triple Bedformer, fully optioned out, to increase his carrot production 3 fold, here’s what he said:
We purchased our first single bedformer and bed locker in 1995 when we first started growing carrots on raised beds. It increased our production greatly. It makes very uniformed, compacted beds that stand up to our heavy applications of irrigation. Due to increased market demands we have now purchased a triple bedformer in 1999.
In 1995 Bill Taylor had 100 acres under production in market gardening. He purchased an entire RBM System, then one year later he purchased his second System. Bill now grows 30 tonne of lettuce every week, 30 weeks of the year for McDonalds. In 1998, his farm now boasts 400 acres under production. Since then, two more farms in Bill’s area have purchased the RBM System and guess what, all farms now produce lettuce for McDonalds! With less chemicals, no water logging, less labour, less soil compaction, more productivity, soil rejuvination and Higher Yields!
Andrew Morrison from the Geelong District SFC has gone from 1/4 acre in 1996 to 50,000 acres with a yeild increase of 50% to 100% ! Mr. Morrison, who grows broadacre canola, wheat and barley, now has a second crop using share farm vegetable growers from Werribee.
Tasmania : SAM’s BEDFORMERS are now being used on an opium poppy farm. The SAM RBM System is perfect for seeds that require a shallow sowing depth for four reasons :
- SAM’s BEDFORMERS give a constant bed height relative to the base of the furrow.
- SAM’s BEDFORMERS leave a compacted bed top and sides.
- SAM’s BEDFORMERS don’t overwork the soil.
- SAM’s BEDFORMERS form and compact in one pass.
This poppy farmer has almost tripled his yield as a direct result of SAM’s RBM system. From 7,000 acres to 20,000 acres! How? Raised beds solved water logging problems and previously unsuitably wet soil has been transfromed into productive land!
BIOVEG (organic vegtables)
Edwards Farm in Manjimup WA.
The SAMP Bed farming system has brought about an air of excitement, to both management and staff, even though it is still early days. using the SAMP Bed farming system has allowed us to control at least 75% of weeds in the vegetables crops.
Since moving to the 2 meter system we have seen two main advantages.
1. Trading wheel tracks for crop, hence more yields per ha.
2. The permanent wheel tracks keep traffic out of the microbe soaked beds, this is very important in our organic farming practices, example minimal tillage and zero compaction.
Our Farm directive it to be a sustainable , organic farm that can not only be highly profitable, while we are having fun.
We currently own, Bed former, Bed locker, Bed weeder and Bed renovator..
A set of our BEDLOCKER skis has been attached to a new Garlic planter imported from France allowing the owner (a contractor) to travel from farm to farm with our total system knowing that in subsequent passes his equipment will always fit the beds and with the added advantage of mechanically weeding the Garlic.
Using a BEDFORMER that makes 4 Raised Beds in one pass over 5 metres for the Tea Tree Industry, a BEDLOCKER that Transplants 4 rows of Tea Trees in one pass and a WEEDER that weeds 4 rows of Tea Trees also in one pass has allowed a Tea Tree grower to weed 7 million Tea Tree Plants without labour. Prior to this, 20 chippers were employed on a 7 day week to weed the young Tea Trees.
Nelson Cox from Bairnsdale in Victoria Australia has virtually eradicated certain problem weed varieties due to the constant cultivation of SAM’s Power Weeder. This is what Mr. Cox had to say about the RBM system:
” We are very pleased with the results of the S.A.M. “Power Weeder” which we purchased in July 1997, as a result we have had a 66% cut in herbicide usage, which is a huge cost saver in chemicals and labour with the added advantage with less chemical residue in our soils.
We have also found substantial yield increases, we would be happy to talk to farmers about this revolutionary system. “
“ Fewer chemicals in the long-term the better. By using this machinery, a lot of farmers are getting close to organic without really trying. “
Many years after receiving the Australian Inventor of the Year Award, for his raised bed management system, David McGrath of Wodonga Victoria is innovating a new forefront in agricultural machinery. Through his business Sustainable Agricultural Machinery (SAM Developments), he is providing the technology that could make all the difference to farmers under pressure from receding profits.
Throughout Australia, marginal land production has significantly increased since the introduction of Raised Bed Management Systems. Now raised bed farming is being introduced into New Zealand the prospects are endless.
There are currently only six units of SAM raised bed machinery in New Zealand, which are owned by the McLachlans and their neighbour, Grant Brown. Grant Brown, has recently taken delivery of a triple bed former to enable him to plant vegetables.
Lindsay McLachlan in partnership with his father Owen, Mount-Vue Farm Rakaia mid-Canterbury farms 220 ha of irrigable Paparoa sandy loam country. He’s enthusiastic about the capabilities of the new technology to unlock the potential of cropping country in the district. He is also confident that bottom line profits will head upwards with the introduction of raised bed farming.
Mount-Vue used to carry 2000 sheep. Now there are only 180, retained as a tool to clean up paddocks in an intensive cropping regime. As well as a major carrot crop, the McLachlans grow potatoes and sweet corn for McCains. They also process peas for Talleys, seed wheat and ryegrass for Pyne Gould Guiness, turnips and radish for South Pacific Seeds and buttercup squash oats for silage for neighbouring dairy properties and field peas for seed.
In 1995 cropping started intensively when irrigation went in. The McLachlans imported a hardhose irrigator from France and a lateral move irrigator from Nebraska. About the same time, Lindsay was examining management systems in overseas magazines and that’s when he picked up on raised bed management. He was sold on the idea after seeing Grant’s original single bedformer in operation.
“It’s deceptively simple, but there has been an extensive amount of development work go toward it. I believe we have to be looking for new ideas overseas where there’s intense government funding for research for innovations which will keep us competitive.”
“Now that we’ve got the machinery, we’re still learning how to use it as we change our farming techniques. But with irrigation in mid-Canterbury now we can almost grow anything and I’m certain that we’re on the way to a much more saleable product for the same input.”
The McLachlans are aiming to sell under their own Mount-Vue Farm label, targeting local and export markets for their root crops. They want an even quality crop, which will attract a premium price as times get harder and competition intensifies.
Lindsay says the expense of the new equipment will pay off.
“We know the farm can grow carrots but our goal is a greater saleable tonnage per hectare. The problem today is that you have to spend it to make it. But the new machinery, whether it’s seeds or vegetables, will allow us to grow a more uniform crop and in the long term we will be able to diversify into new markets.”
The real charm of this system for New Zealand is that it’s ideal for both vegetables and broadacre farming. It also has tremendous potential for livestock farmers wanting to produce large areas of top quality swedes and turnips.
”Sustainable Agricultural Machinery makes a lot of sense with some companies paying a premium of 60% reduction in herbicide, says Lindsay. “Fewer chemicals in the long-term the better. By using this machinery, a lot of farmers are getting close to organic without really trying.”