The Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development is winding up its harvest program, with the aid of a new, high-tech plot harvester.
The $280,000 machine was acquired as part of the department’s ongoing fleet replacement program.
Department field research manager, Ian Pritchard, said the new addition had boosted the department’s grains research and development capacity.
Mr Pritchard said the compact vehicle had all the features of a modern harvester, as well as on-board systems to aid sampling.
“The machine has an on-board weighing computer system that enables our staff to take samples while it’s in operation,” Mr Pritchard said.
“It also automatically records data that can be sent from the cab to the research officer.”
The plot harvester can be configured to harvest any crop required, including cereals, oilseeds and pulses.
Mr Pritchard said the new machine model harvested plots more quickly and efficiently, reducing operating costs, and included an effective self-cleaning system.
“This is an important inclusion, which makes it easy to move from one plot to another without the risk of cross-contamination,” he said.
The new plot harvester was commissioned at the department’s Merredin Research Facility and has spent recent weeks at the Katanning Research Facility.
“The machine harvested more than 2000 plots at Merredin, before moving on to Katanning where it has completed more than 1000 extra plots,” he said.
“The department has a fleet of plot harvesters that have been used across 30,000 trial plots from field experiments for more than 40 individual projects on seven research stations and growers’ properties from Geraldton to Esperance.”
The vast grains research data collected from field experiments is now being analysed and evaluated by department officers so results can be disseminated to industry stakeholders in the new year.
Many of the project results will be highlighted at the 2019 Grains Research Update on 25-26 February in Perth. For more information about the event click here.
Jodie Thomson/Megan Broad, media liaison
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