A full moisture profile and adoption of precision agriculture has the Langley family well-placed for a strong season ahead at their Winchelsea district holding “The Cap”, 40km from Geelong.
The family unit, which includes David and his wife Tracey and two sons Will and Charlie, lead the mixed-cropping enterprise that typically comprises of canola, faba beans, wheat and sheep across the home property and on some leased land that has been secured close by.
The third and fourth generation growers have prioritised the integration of digital farming to continually improve the efficiency, productivity and sustainability of the enterprise and believe it will help to underwrite the long-term success of the business. David said:
“Precision agriculture has allowed our business to grow and develop, as we have been able to tailor the technology so it’s addressing what we want to achieve, be that improving the quality of our soil, or reducing input costs.”
“We are constantly rolling out small trials for our seeding rate and fertiliser application to increase our paddock yields and this has been done with the support of both our agronomist and Cervus Equipment.”
Will, who has grown up in the digital age and has a solid foundation of technical skills to draw from, said the ongoing support of Cervus had been integral to the effective on-farm application of precision agriculture tools. Will said:
“Having access to all this new technology is a fantastic start, but without backup support from a dealership to demonstrate how to use it, and to teach you how you can get the most out of it, you can’t really gain its full potential.”
David can’t remember a time when John Deere equipment hasn’t been vital to farming The Cap’s volcanic, heavy-clay loam soils and noted the first green machine used on the property was a John Deere AR purchased by his dad, Lynton, in 1942.
The Langley’s fleet of workhorses has since rapidly evolved, and now includes a new John Deere R4060 Self Propelled Sprayer, two S780 Combines and 8245R, 8370R and 9470R Tractors, as well as a few older models.
Each machine is connected through the John Deere Operations Center, which allows both David and Will to monitor equipment while it’s in the paddock and to analyse the on-farm data collected throughout the season. Will said:
“We have made good use out of the Analyse tool in the Operations Center, where you can really break down all your figures. Running trials is easy as there is very little manual input required, it’s just a couple flicks of a button in the tractor and you can record the data.”
Regular on-farm visits from Cervus Equipment staff are complemented by John Deere Connected Support, which gives technicians the ability to remotely predict and diagnose issues, and trouble shoot remotely. Through Connected Support, dealers also have the information they need to send the right parts and tools from the outset, to ensure repairs are completed quickly. David said:
“I have to say our main technician, Brett Swan, has been a game changer for us.”
“He has been able to steer us through everything, and really teach us how we can get the most out of this technology. It doesn’t matter if it’s something we bought yesterday, or a machine bought several years ago, he will always be able help.”
Keeping the wheels turning
Will noted Cervus’ support had slashed machinery downtime, something that is key during time-critical phases of the production cycle, such as sowing. He said:
“They understand where we are coming from with our urgency to get up and running again.”
A recent example of this came in the form of an oil delivery from the Cervus Equipment Colac parts van, David explained. He said:
“We were full-tilt sowing, spraying and spreading all at once and had every machine working in the paddock.”
“To get the oil ourselves, it would have meant downtime for someone who was operating the seeder, spreader or sprayer to go and collect it.”
“The supply of parts has also been remarkable, we have a 1963 model John Deere Tractor and we can still get parts for it straight away, which is extraordinary.”
“It’s a team effort with the support we get from Cervus, even if we ring on a weekend or late at night, there is someone helping us straight away.”