While Goldacres currently holds an enviable position in the crop spray market with its strongly supported G6 Series 2 model line, it’s worthwhile noting what it takes to maintain such a high ranking
Goldacres’ G6 Series 2 crop cruiser was built on the backbone of what the G6 Series 1 machines endured following their release in 2019.
But the story doesn’t start there, we have to step back further, to 1978 in fact when the Goldacres name and philosophy was introduced to local growers by founder and now patriarch John Richards.
No one, other than of course John Richards, knew at the time we were witnessing the birth of another great Australian made product range that would culminate into being an icon and as important for instance as the Sunshine header.
Probably more remarkable than most can envisage, back at the latter part of the 1970’s was in the minds of many industry pundits the start of what seemed to be a golden era of opportunity, but this euphoria was soon to sequent into a severe fall from grace for local manufacturing by the 1980’s.
For a start-up business like Goldacres, the fall of some big names must’ve had an effect, fleeting or otherwise.
The international giants the likes of John Deere had already made the first move to pull the rug from under one of our big brands, Chamberlain tractors, being made in Welshpool WA at the time.
In 1970, John Deere had purchased the controlling interest in Chamberlain and while the badge continued to gain solid local support, by 1978 the same year John Richards started up Goldacres, it was evident the Chamberlain badge would make way for the leaping Deere logo.
And while local support kept the Chamberlain name alive until 1986, John Deere tractors built in the US were simply more economical to supply to an adoring worldwide marketplace.
It was up to another great pioneer manufacturer to fly the Australian made flag for tractors in the mid-1970’s, Laurie Phillips was about to make his notch in history with the release of the first locally-made 4WD tractor, the Phillips Acremaster.
It looked like Laurie Phillips had struck gold with his original build, the Acremaster, first released in 1975.
This very serviceable tractor with a sloped bonnet that was ahead of its time for improved visibility and hinged backwards for clear access to the engine, and with power up to 384kW (515hp) as the badge began to build up steam, local large-scale growers knew they had to own one.
The original Acremaster models ran successfully from 1975 until 1984 when Laurie lost control of the business when independents worldwide were falling to the big-name makers.
The mid to late 1980’s was a tipping point for local manufacture of all farm machinery segments. As many manufacturing operations began shedding their work force and shifted operations to become mere marketing organisations, based on imports from Europe and the US.
This move was influenced by a sharp contraction in the machinery market, for example the self-propelled combine harvester market was around 1,600 units sold in the early 1980’s, to just 600 later that decade. Sales of square hay balers had plummeted from around 1,000 a year to just 150.
The share of local farm machinery sales was now limited to spraying, tillage and seeding equipment and one of the great names, South Australian based Horwood Bagshaw was already in receivership and could easily have folded at that point.
Australian-made tractors that accounted for nearly half of the total sales in the early 1970s had dwindled to only a handful of custom-built machines when the last major manufacturer, Chamberlain John Deere shut its doors for ever.
Mother nature decided to step-in for the 1982-83 season and what followed was such severe drought conditions that tractor sales fell from an estimate of almost 16,000 units in 1981 to a low of 7,300 by 1987.
Small specialist operations such as John Richards’ Goldacres were at great risk, many companies that helped to pioneer the local manufacturing success were either taken over, turned to other products or ceased trading.
However, a big advantage that John Richards had in his favour was a trailed sprayer range that since 1978 had been well supported by local growers, and we were now at the doorstep of a change to single pass sowing and heavy chemical application for crop growers.
But changes had to be made, Goldacres could not survive by continuing to sell direct within a restricted area, it was the move to take the brand to dealers across the country that helped it see through a time many local makers simply disappeared without a trace.
Contrary to the trend, by the late 1980’s Goldacres increased its St Arnaud Vic workforce to 18.
By the 1990’s there was no stopping Goldacres as the St Arnaud Vic factory was peeling out two Prairie sprayers a day, and additional three-point linkage models to boot.
Increases in model product carrying capacity up to 8,000-litres quickly followed and the Goldacres juggernaut was simply etched into our recent pioneering manufacturing history.
By the early 2000’s Goldacres’ designers and engineers including John’s two sons Roger and Stephen knew they had to penetrate the self-propelled market to keep up with increasing imports into our local market.
The move to open a large manufacturing plant in Ballarat Vic was a turning point that would assure growers that Goldacres would always match or better the imported models and the home-grown advantage would always be held by the local badge.
Back to this present day, the Goldacres G6 Series 2 plays second fiddle to no other brand worldwide with boom widths from 36 to 48m, and a 6000-litre product tank.
Even though the G6 Series 2 is performing beyond expectations for many operators, it’s the Goldacres philosophy of continued improvement that is currently at play.
There were already significant improvements to hydraulics, boom structure and Goldacres’ very own designed electronics package, the G-Hub just to name a few. And now with 12 months in the paddock under its belt, the G6 Series 2 is performing at a very high level of production.
The first production sprayer from the G6 Series 2 has now done 1600 hours under the watchful eye of Shaun Breen of Western Ag spraying at Chepstowe Vic.
Shaun added that the Western Victorian farming conditions have not been easy on the machine this season, “But it’s performing has been great with the improvements over its predecessor described as “Chalk and Cheese.”
“I am a massive fan of the RivX Boom, the G-hub operating system and new quick fill system.”
Shaun has also provided constructive feedback along the way, allowing Goldacres to add several further improvements to the model.
More recently, Goldacres’ engineers and product specialists got together and reviewed all the feedback from Shaun and several other experienced operators spread across the country.
Documentation during this product summary consisted of feedback both positive and negative, was used to gauge how the machine has been operating in the paddock under all conditions.
In total, 110 feedback items were listed, some manufacturing quality control items consistent with the introduction of a new model and now already rectified in production. And as required, further action will be taken to add any significant modifications to keep this model at the cutting edge.
Overall, the G6 Series 2 is proving to be an exciting machine for operators with performance at a high level and sales enquiries for more models running very strongly in our current climate. To catch up on more Goldacres’ G6 Series 2 operator reports, read what Charlie and Neil Vallance of Aberfoyle farms had to say about their G6S2 on this link.
Goldacres G6 Series 2 Specifications
|Engine||Cummins QSB 6.7L, 6 cylinder, Tier 3 emission. 168kw (225hp), 949N.m (700lb-ft)||Standard|
|Vertically stacked combi cooler package. Fuel, transmission, water jacket, charge air & air conditioning||Standard|
|Variable speed hydraulic driven cooling fan||Standard|
|Transmission||Allison 2500 series automatic. Push button selector, lock up torque converter, 6 forward & 1 reverse||Standard|
|Drive system||4.4:1 final drive leg with oil bath lubrication||Standard|
|2 wheel drive with LSD 5.125:1 ratio||Standard|
|Full-time 4 wheel drive system with centre diff lock||Standard|
|Steering||2 wheel front steering system with true Ackerman alignment||Standard|
|2 wheel front steering system with true Ackerman alignment||Standard|
|Hydraulics||100L plastic reservoir with level & temperature sensors||Standard|
|Twin gear pumps 22 and 32 cc/rev||Standard|
|Single variable displacement pump 45 cc /rev||Standard|
|Rear mount oil cooler with thermostat||Standard|
|3 x pressure filters, 1 x tank mounted return filter||Standard|
|Electrical system||12V – 200amp electrical capacity|
|Dual batteries with master isolator||Standard|
|Fully sealed connectors with colour coded wires used throughout the wiring harness||Standard|
|6 x LED cabin lights||Standard|
|3 x LED service lights||Standard|
|LED light bar for lower bonnet (18 x 10W CREE)||Option|
|LED light bar for upper cabin (12 x 10W CREE)||Option|
|Braking system||Full hydraulic brake circuit||Standard|
|4 wheel disc||Standard|
|Spring operated diff mounted disc park brake||Standard|
|Chassis||Fully welded semi truss rigid mild steel|
|200 x 100 x 9mm main rails|
|Suspension||5 link torque rods with rear sway bar. 4 x rolling lobe air springs with ride height levelling. Shock absorbers on all corners, front feature double knuckle for extreme axle articulation.||Standard|
|Paint system||Grit blasted steel work followed by high build primer.||Standard|
|All unwelded sections seam sealed.||Standard|
|Wet top coat paint system with high temperature baked finish||Standard|
|Wheel Equipment||16mm pressed centre, 10 studs on 335mm PCD (min 16mm)||Standard|
|Axle tracks||Axle track widths are dependent on tyre width selected|
|2970mm fixed wheel track||Standard|
|3048mm (120″) fixed wheel track (uses offset wheels)||Option|
|Mudguards||4 x full length axle mounted polyethylene mudguards||Standard|
|Deflectors||4 x leading edge stainless steel crop deflectors||Standard|
|4 x brake mud shields||Standard|
|Crop dividers for front wheels||Option|
|Crop dividers for rear wheels||Option|
|Cabin||Business class styled cabin with suspension||Standard|
|Dual tilt and telescopic steering column||Standard|
|Air suspension seat with seat belt. Fully adjustable||Standard|
|Training seat with seat belt||Standard|
|Accessory mounting rail on RHS||Standard|
|Carbon filtration with positive cab pressurisation||Standard|
|Bluetooth equipped radio and UHF with high gain antennas||Standard|
|Refrigerator module for storage compartment under training seat||Option|
|Window tint for all 4 sides||Option|
|Main cabin access||Full length LHS access platform with auto folding ladder. Hydraulically adjustable width LHS boom rest for ease of access and convenient road transport. Rubber dampened hand rail.||Standard|
|RHS service platform with manual fold up ladder||Option|
|Boom||TriTech RivX boom (36 & 42m). Mild steel inner wings with aluminium/steel outer wings & breakaway.||Standard|
|48m TriTech V boom (3 spray widths. 20m, 36m & 48m). Mild steel inner wings with aluminium mid, outer wings and breakaway.||Option|
|Available in the following widths. 36, 42 & 48m. All booms plumbed in 16 sections – no “Extra boom sections available”||Standard|
|RapidFire single line in 500mm spacing||Standard|
|RapidFlow boom recirculation||Standard|
|3 tier system (3TS)||Option|
|3 tier system PRO (3TS PRO)||Option|
|Raven Hawkeye PWM with turn compensation||Option|
|Trijet nozzle bodies||Option|
|Cross fire 3TS (3TS capability with nozzles staggered every 250mm)||Option|
|Custom nozzle spacing and configurations on request||Option|
|Hydraulic wing tilt||Standard|
|Hydraulic yaw system||Standard|
|Automatic boom height control system (standard on 48m)||Option|
|Remote fence line jets (both sides)||Standard|
|Control system||G-Hub – Goldacres Integrated System||Standard|
|ISOBus control system using Raven RCM (CR7 separate VT option)||Standard|
|Solution tanks||UV stable Polyethylene heavy walled tank. Supported in a steel cradle||Standard|
|Main tank – 6000L||Standard|
|Rinse tank – 550L side mount||Standard|
|Electronic tank measurement||Standard|
|Spray Pump||260 l/min, oil backed 6 diaphragm positive displacement. RPM readout||Standard|
|High flow centrifugal pump (standard on 48m boom)||Option|
|Suction filter plus self cleaning pressure filter, electric switching between all functions||Standard|
|Chemical handling and transfer||Chemical suction probe via Graco chemical pump||Standard|
|60L induction hopper||Standard|
|Micromatic rinse socket and coupler||Standard|
|3” integrated water transfer pump||Standard|
|3” separate front fill direct to tank||Option|
|3” side fill with twin points with auto shut-off (clean and dirty lines)||Standard|
|Service / Maintenance||Remote grease nipple bank||Standard|
|Auto grease system||Option|
|Turning circle||18m curb to curb 3m axle with 480/80R46 wheels (2WD)|
*Weights based on 6000L 36m boom 2WD are approx. and depend on options fitted