Farmer Focus: Why we imported a sprayer from the UK

We were new to the arable industry when we shifted to Canterbury in 1994 and due to our inexperience, we took on the skills of a contractor to do our spraying.

For the last 28 years we have had one business, with two separate owners (both with farming backgrounds) to do that work.

The service has been so outstanding we never felt the need to bring this work in-house, until our contractor decided it was time for his last full tank.

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About the author

David Clark
Farmer Focus writer
David Clark runs a 463ha fully irrigated mixed farm with his wife Jayne at Valetta, on the Canterbury Plains of New Zealand’s south island. He grows 400ha of cereals, pulses, forage and vegetable seed crops, runs 1,000 Romney breeding ewes and finishes 8,000 lambs annually.
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Given the exceptional service from being blessed with an owner-operator, we didn’t think we could ever expect the same from a large contractor. The decision was made that we should do this work ourselves.

Time efficiency was paramount when deciding what machine we should purchase. We looked at both new and used large trailed sprayers, as well as used self-propelled sprayers on the market both here in New Zealand (NZ) and in the UK.

A five-year-old self-propelled sprayer with a 5,000 litre tank and 30m boom from the UK met our requirements.

Importing a machine like this from the other side of the globe takes a lot of trust in the people you partner with, and a great deal of research and attention to detail to ensure the machine is moved without damage, and is able to meet the border import regulations upon inspection in NZ.

Having Yemeni Houthis threatening to lob a rocket-propelled grenade through the tank of my sprayer was not a risk I had initially factored in, and resulted in the ship being diverted around South Africa.

The sprayer has arrived, as described, undamaged and passed its inspection in Timaru.

Now is the hard part. I have to train myself to be our spray operator.

I haven’t grown up moving from a 3-point linkage sprayer to a trailed machine, and then to a self-propelled. Fortunately, we are well versed in GPS and section control technology.

The saying that “every day is a school day” is very apt for me currently, as I have a lot to learn in a hurry.

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