John Deere see and Spray makes a splash on Gurley NSW farm

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Growers can use See & Spray Select on a John Deere Sprayer to minimise input costs and only spray weeds when they are detected

Gurley NSW farmer Scott Carrigan had the chance to trial John Deere’s See & Spray Select technology and dubbed it the biggest game-changer he has seen in 20 years

A trial of John Deere’s See & Spray Select on his property, prior to its Australian launch, left north west NSW mixed-enterprise producer Scott Carrigan with little doubt this technology would be an industry game-changer.

See & Spray Select brings integrated camera technology that can be installed on a John Deere 400 or 600 Series Sprayer to provide both an effective targeted spot-spray solution and a highly productive broadcast machine.

Built on the foundation of John Deere’s ExactApply, it rapidly detects only green vegetation within fallow ground and triggers an application to those plants. This method offers outstanding savings and Deere claims it is proven to use an average 77%* less herbicide.

For Scott, the saving achieved during the trial was even higher and he could immediately see how it could reduce inputs, save time, be more ecologically friendly and benefit his business bottom line.

“Obviously this was unique to our conditions, but we were running most of the time at around 10 per cent applied, which was a 90 per cent chemical saving – a fantastic result,” Scott said.

“You can just imagine the benefit there – there’s less chemical we have to buy, handle and apply to the ground.

“We’ve been fortunate to have worked with John Deere on this and it certainly has been a game changer for us.

“It’s probably the biggest equipment progression we’ve had in the last two decades.”

Rain brings a ‘jungle’ of weeds

Scott farms and grazes at Tyrone near Gurley NSW in the heartland of a cropping region, known for its excellent soil fertility and diversity of crop production.

Predominantly, he grows wheat for the domestic and export market but also plants barley, chickpeas and sorghum, while running around 4,500 self-replacing merino ewes.

“We’ve just finished planting and 70% of our winter crop area has gone into wheat, 20% to barley and 10% to chickpeas,” Scott said.

The season is “going along quite nicely”, after recent rain brought welcome relief from the prolonged drought much of Australia has been experiencing.

But rain is not always without its complications.

Major flooding in mid-March 2021 saw most of Scott’s property go under water, posing significant challenges in getting the country back into shape in time for planting the winter crop, including tackling a significant weed burden.

However, Scott was able to use the See & Spray Select technology to tackle the heavy weed pressure, while using only a fraction of the herbicide he would typically have applied.

See & Spray Select will put the herbicide companies on skid row as its integrated camera technology detects and triggers an application only to those plants, using an average 77% less herbicide

Decades in the making: targeted weed control

John Deere approached Scott to trial See & Spray Select as part of an extensive due diligence process to ensure the product was finely tuned and ready to meet the needs of local farmers.

The technology complemented the work of his broader John Deere fleet on “Tyrone” which includes three 9000s, a couple of 8000 John Deere Tractors, a 6000 Front End Loader, two John Deere Sprayers (4045 and 4060), and S680 and S780 Headers.

As a future-focused farmer, Scott is deeply committed to protecting the health of the land he works and said See & Spray Select’s ability to strategically place herbicides in direct response to what is in the paddock was transformational for chemical use and the cost of production.

Scott said he achieved great success using the technology, not only throughout the heightened weed burden following the flood, but also during the regular Summer treatment period controlling grass weeds, fleabane and other “bits and pieces”.

Scott said during the Summer fallow period, he rarely used a broadacre spray, and instead relied exclusively on See & Spray Select to target and treat weeds on fallow ground – something he believes makes it one of the most exciting products on the Australian farm machinery market.

“Certainly, we’ve found it very exciting to be working with John Deere and it’s a product we’ve been waiting for and wishing for a long time,” he said.

“We’ve finally got something now that works really well.”

Backed up by service

Not only is technology integration important to Scott’s business, so is the service he receives from his local dealer.

“We deal with Vanderfield Moree, and they are a significant part of our business, given the level of service and back up they provide to us,” he said.

With the connected nature of the machines now, they know about most issues at the same time we do, and they are able to log in so that often things can be fixed remotely. “We use John Deere equipment because of the level of service and back up given by the team at Vanderfield Moree.”