Photos: Spraying records smashed on Australian farm

An Australian farming family has smashed two world records with a 48m self-propelled sprayer – covering the greatest area in a 24-hour period as well as in a single hour.

The mighty Agrifac Condor Endurance sprayer broke the records earlier this week (2 March) on a family farm 35km east of Perenjori in Western Australia.

World spraying record

The spraying team © Agrifac

The Mason family – Karolyn, Tony and Brendan – covered a whopping 2,638ha of summer spraying in a 24-hour period, running non-stop. This smashes the previous record of 1,032ha.

See also: Tasmanian grower sets Australian rapeseed yield record

World spraying record

© Agrifac

While this equates to an average of nearly 110ha/hour, the family also broke a second record by covering 150,7ha in a single hour.

The Mason family farm at the edge of the Midwest region with nothing but bush and salt lakes beyond them.

World spraying record

© Agrifac

Spraying operation

The record is even more special when you take into account that the fields were not all smooth going and of a regular shape, says Mark Slater, who drove the sprayer and runs the Agrifac business in Australia.

World spraying record

© Agrifac

“We had a bit of everything, from trees, power poles, tight corners, gradual slopes and some bumps too. We wanted to make it as real as possible.”

World spraying record

© Agrifac

“In total there were 15 fields with a 10-minute drive between the two blocks. I did drive into the wrong field in the middle of the night, which cost us a little time,” he adds.

A nurse truck kept the sprayer supplied and running, thereby minimising downtimes between the tank loads.

Facts and figures

  • Machine used: 48m Agrifac Condor Endurance with HighTechAirPlus
  • Total area: 2,638ha in 24 hours
  • Average hourly coverage: 110ha
  • Best hour average: 150.46ha
  • Total volume applied: 105,520 litres
  • Fields: 15 fields with a mix of wheat and oilseed rape stubbles
  • Tank loads: 13 and a bit fills
  • Total stopped time per fill: 11 minutes
  • Average spraying speed: 25km/h

The boundaries of the fields were mapped and to make it official, the family invited Jim Gilmour, a local justice of the peace, to adjudicate the record.

Herbicide mix

The application was a stubble spray of glyphosate + triclopyr and ammonium sulphate to target weeds after the first summer rains and the family has always seen good results at low water rates.

“Initially we were going to use 50 litres/ha, but Tony and Brendan decided to drop back to 40 litres/ha with the added benefit of the latest sprayer technology and conditions on the day,” says Mr Slater.

He emphasizes that water is scarce in the area, which has very low rainfall (270mm annually).