IN South Australia’s world of manufacture Croplands would be a shining light. If anyone in Adelaide knew anything about it.
But you only need to visit the city’s peri-urban fringe, or push a little further north or south to the vineyards and broadacre cropping country and you would be flat out finding someone who doesn’t know the name.
Never mind farms around Australia – and the world.
The Croplands story might have started in New Zealand more than 40 years ago but its relocation to Adelaide’s light industrial northern suburbs has consolidated its place on agriculture’s centre stage.
And general manager Sean Mulvaney says the secret to the company’s long-term success has been simple.
“The fact we don’t fabricate our machines, but rather assemble them, means we can adopt new technologies from suppliers locally and around the world very rapidly. We don’t spend our energies trying to reinvent the wheel; we simply focus on picking out the best components,” Mulvaney said.
“But there will always be moments when the best possible product isn’t available anywhere.”
Enter the Croplands R&D team, which will quickly come up with the most elegantly simple solution and inject it into the Adelaide-based production system.
For example, there were conditions unique to Australia’s cheek-to-jowl blend of agriculture, horticulture and viticulture which couldn’t be solved by putting together the best bits and pieces from around the world.
So the company’s designers responded with the Quantum Mist line of fan sprayers, which they developed in-house to meet the need for a spraying system in horticulture which improved performance while reducing drift.
“It is a very environmentally conscious market these days, and farmers want to make sure they are as efficient and successful as possible in growing a quality crop while controlling their pesticide drift. Our product is the ultimate answer to that need,” Mulvaney said.
There is also a growing world market for those Quantum Mist sprayers solving a lot of problems with one solution. With more than 14,000 fans sold worldwide, the Quantum Mist can be seen everywhere from a blackcurrant farm in Denmark, WA, to vineyards in the US.
“The adoption of technology is critical; the land area available for farming is decreasing, so farmers have to be more productive in terms of the yield they get from the land. We utilise technology as a means for production and conservation,” he said.
A great example of this is Croplands WEEDit sprayer, with its boom mounted cameras which actually detect chlorophyll in living plants so it only targets each weed rather than blanket spraying the whole paddock.
This can also save farmers up to 80 per cent in chemical costs and plays as important role in maintaining soil moisture before planting their crops.
And with farm size increasing significantly within a generation, so too has Croplands machinery increased in both tank capacity and boom width – an important factor in reducing the number of hours spent in the field to get the job done.