Friday, 20 August 2010

Fiji with Heidi and Isaac

I arived into Fiji on Monday morning and meet Heidi and Isaac on Monday night. What a great way to finish 10 weeks of Nuffield Study and 16 weeks of travel this year.
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Friday, 13 August 2010

Close to the END

As i appraoch the end of my travels it is time to thank my followers and all those who have helped with my Nuffield trip. I hope you have been able to follow my footsteps and understand my journey. It has been an amazing expeience which will evolve over the years to come. It is with the support of Nuffield and all those involved in the spray application and ag industry which has made my journey very rewarding.
Now the hard part, to get my thoughts together so our industry can continue to move forward, be profitable and sustainable. Spray it right.........TO FIJI next.......

UC Davis

On Thursday i visited University of california at Davis just outside Sacramento. I visited Ken Giles in the Ag Engineering Dept who has visited Australia a few times and is at the for front of new technology development. He developed the Pulse Width Modulating Solenoid which is called the AIM Command system on most CASE SP sprayers. While there are guys like this in the industry technology will continue to evolve.

Wednesday, 11 August 2010

California Dept Pesticide Regulation

I visited the California Department of Pesticide Regulation in Sacramento today. They are the best in the world....Balancing food production, environmental issues and community and worker health is a big job as California is a unique place. It provides America with half of its fruit and vegetables but is a large urban population. It is interesting that Agriculture gets all the blame for pesticide use however more than HALF of the products regulated by DPR are for commercial, industrial and home use.

Another time zone

Tuesday afternoon i made it to Sacramento, California and another time zone. This is the fourth zone in the States i have gone through. I flew through Seattle, Washington today and another flight and airport complete --- only a few more to go.

Denver, A great City

I spent the weekend in Denver, Colorado. It is a great place which is very clean with fresh air for a city. Number 16 St. is great for a walk, there is a big bear outside the Art Centre which gives Bundy a run for his money and The Curtis Double Tree hotel was a funky place to stay and good value. On Saturday night i had a BBQ with Jason and Chelse. Great company, and look forward to seeing them in Aus one day.

Saturday, 7 August 2010

AutoFarm ParaDyme-the new steering revolution

Friday i was with Jason Kidd and Aussie working in Denver,CO with Autofarm. This is the view from the top of his office which is the call centre. ParaDyme is the new autosteer system just launched in Australia but in the US for over a year. Check it out at It has WiFi, and cell phone built and can link a number of networks or towers. Faults are easily fixed by the remote connection to a technichan who can see what is happening in the field from his office and make adjustments on the go.
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Thursday, 5 August 2010

On the edge of the Rockies

I am at the foothills of the Rocky Mountains around Denver Colorado. It is amoungst ranchers, running water, tourism and the wild west.
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Loveland Products

On Thursday i learnt more about adjuvants and water conditioners. Including surfactants, penetrants, organosilicants, stickers, conditioners, drift management, acidification agents, antifoaming agents from Loveland Industries based in Greeley, Colorado. It is another complex issue we need to know more about to improve deposition and uptake whilst reducing drift.

Wednesday-Lunch time at Ole's, Paxton, Nebraska

Greg and i had lunch on Wednesday just off hwy 80 at Ole's Steakhouse in Paxton. Not y0ur typical Aussie restraunt. All this game was hunted around the 1950's from around the world and is an example of what people like to do. Interesting place....
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North Platte, Nebraska

Wednesday i was in North Platte, Nebraska which is on HWY 80 the main interstate road connecting East and West USA. The University fo Nebraska has several farms for reserch and extension work involved with irrigation, nutrient, spraying, cattle and field crops (corn, beans, wheat, sunflowers). The area only recieves 16-19" annual rainfall so irrigation is widespread using centre pivots. Dryland crops in the corner of pivots is also done usually wheat, corn, fallow. Also saw sugar beets and pumkins growing. Research is conducted on drought tolerent corn varieties.
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Tuesday, 3 August 2010

Tuesday - Ohio to Nebraska

I said goodbye to Bill and JoAnn and flew to Lincoln, Nebraska via Chicago then drove 100 mile to Grand Island, to tour the New Holland Combine factory. It makes the Case 20 & 80 series combines for the world and yellow CR combines for Canada, US and Australia.
I drove west on Hwy 80, 200 mile to North Platte.
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Monday, Last day in Ohio

Monday i toured with Bill again. I saw the dentist to get a filling fixed, went to a Sprayer dealership, John Deere outlet, and Honda car factory and car research testing facility. The car track is a 7 mile circuit with many different tests (water, cobble stones, skid pan, hills etc). Cars get tested 24 hours a day driving at different speeds. Bill farms inside the track and has beans and corn. The factory purchased 8000acres to build it in the 80's. This is Bill and JoAnn's farm
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Saturday, 31 July 2010

Saturday night dinner

Saturday night with Bill and Joanne and their daugher and her family (Jana, David and 3 children) at Spring Hill. The kids were great fun and all very proud of their hunting prices. And they love John Deere. Great night...
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Farm Tour with Bill & Gary

Touring with Bill and his friend Gary Bahan started at Breakfast in town, then went to see his shop and grain store. Then visited a dairy farm with 3000hd rotary, ethonal plant, feed mill for chicken farms in local area, and inspecting corn and soy bean crops. Corn is progressing well with some late crops still to polinate which is getting late. A father and son who own a farm in South Africa came for the local tour, which made our day very interesting.
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Friday, 30 July 2010

Country Ohio with Bill

I am staying with Bill Bayliss (room buddy from Nuffield International conference, Washington DC) on a farm in mid Ohio, corn, soybean country. We stopped for dinner on Friday night at the best Bologna sandwich place in Waldo. It does look like the picture too.
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Ohio, Research USDA

I had the privilege to visit USDA Ag Research on Application Technology in Wooster, Ohio. Professor Krause and Dr. Heping Zhu with their team of engineers have developed prototypes and designed software for farmer/ consultants to use.
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Thursday, 29 July 2010

Teejet, then fly to Cleveland, Ohio

It was a fascinating visit to Spraying Systems to see the range of products they produce. The Ag range which includes nozzles, valves, controllers and gps euipment as well as the industrial products for the food and manufacturing industry.
Products are developed and tested and evaluated and produced to a very high standard and quality. Components are sold world wide and used on most sprayers manufactured around the world. It was a privilege to have the opportunity to see the dedication and scale and development that is required to meet the demands of farmers and industry.
A few hours at Chicago O'hare airport then a 50 minute flight to Cleveland, Ohio.

Wednesday Calgary to Chicago

Drop Hire car off at airport with 2750km for 9 days hire and fly to Chicago O'Hare. Arive at lunch time and get a limo to Wheaton, IL a 50 minutes drive. Pat from Spraying Systems took me out for dinner then at the factory on Thursday morning.

Tuesday, 27 July 2010

Tuesday - Luseland to Calgary

Tuesday i had a tour of a farm in Luseland, Saskatechewan with a neighbour from home (Ian) on Lorne, Brad and Linda's Scholer's farm. Canola looked great and some summer fallowing work was required to take care of some trouble weeds. Nice soil and country.
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Monday- Saskatoon

Monday i had the day with Tom Wolf in Saskatoon. He is the leading researcher in Canada on Nozzles. Then i drove 21/2 hours west to Luseland to stay the night with Ian and Fiona Schirmers friends, Lorne and Linda Scholer.

Saturday, 24 July 2010

Regina to Craven to Saskatoon

From Regina i drove to a very small town called Craven where i meet the field rep for Capstan Ag who market and develop the pulse width modulation solenoid. The Sharp Shooter and AIM Command system regulates the flow at the tip by pulsating - giving better speed range and control of pressure and droplet size. It reduces the need for more standard nozzles and gives great flexibility. We meet farmer Jim as saw some machinery, had a pilsner at the local hole and then drove to Saskatoon arriving at 9.30pm Saturday night.
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Friday, 23 July 2010

Bayer Crop Science

Friday i visited Bayer Crop Science in Regina, SK. They formulate chemicals at the factory and also evaluate new compounds at their research farm at Indian Head. It is one of 6 sites around the world which sreen new compounds. This happens 10 years prior to its release as a commerial product. Lots of work goes into a new product and regulation is very strict. Bayer have a direct relationship with growers and package seed, seed treatments and chemicals to give a growers better deals.

Drive Alberta to Regina, Saskatechewen

Thursday i drove 800 km from Three Hills in Mid Alberta to Regina in South east Saskatechewen. Highway 1 is the trans Canada Hwy. No GPS needed. Went though grazing and oilfield country then as i got closer to Regina some cropping country with lentils, canola and wheat which was also saturated with water. Lots of hay was been made along the way as well.
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Lacombe and Red Deer, Alberta

Wednesday i drove north to Lacombe to see a farmer and early adopter of modern techniques. He is doing variable rate fertiliser application and would like to move towards CTF and inter row planting. Crops look great but were saturated with water and a little late and may not mature in time (before the frost and cold weather). He has had 18" rain when normally only gets 10".
Also visited lacombe research station to learn about weed management and research which focuses on system appoach and integrated weeed manaagement which includes silage, plant density, diversity of crops etc.
Also visited a CASE dealer to look at the Patriot sprayer with Capstan nozzles. Doing PD work on combines.

Tuesday, 20 July 2010

Alberta, gas & oil, canola & wheat

Tuesday i was with Beyond Agronomy consultant Steve visiting fields to check for insects and disease. All good with the heavy soils at saturation point and the lighter sandy knoles showing lots of potential yield (peas, canola and wheat). The amount of oil and gas wells on farms is incredible as they are scattered all over the district and another income stream for farmers. Great work Steve with the introduction of CTF and inter row seeding.
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Monday, 19 July 2010

Calgary to Lethbridge to Three Hills

I said good bye to Calgary (Cow boy town) and went south to Lethbridge to see some applied research on spray application and demonstration. On the drive there were some crops under water stress, canola flowering and wheat looking pretty good except for low areas flooded with water.
From Lethbridge i drove north to Three Hills to stay with Steve and Vanessa Larocque, who run a business called Beyond Agronomy advising farm businesses on the best up to date information on sustainable agriculture in western Canada.
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