A beefed-up Silvan 2000L trailing pasture sprayer, the Paddockmaster has recently been delivered to south west Victorian dairy farmer, Simon Scott, Barongarook West.

Mr Scott is currently converting his 320 hectare, undulating farm, where he runs a herd of 350 mainly Jersey and cross bred dairy cows and 50-60 beef cattle in Victoria’s Otways to become organic and moving away from using traditional, granulated fertilisers.

His modified Silvan sprayer was specifically customised for him from an existing pasture sprayer. Silvan now has plans to produce more of these sprayers to meet the growing demand from those converting to organic dairy farming and requiring a dual purpose sprayer able to handle thicker organic liquid fertilisers and herbicides.

According to Silvan account manager Mark Murnane, many dairy farmers are moving to become organic due to the higher returns on offer from suppliers like Bega and The Organic Milk Company.

Mr Murnane said that in turn was putting pressure on local manufacturers like Silvan to produce the specialised equipment required.

“It’s certainly generated a lot of interest because there’s really been nothing like it built locally,” he said. At least two more units have been quoted by Silvan since Mr Scott’s sprayer has been delivered.

“We’re really hopeful of putting a lot of these into the market. Demand is coming mainly from dairy farmers but also (beef) cattle producers in the (south west) region.”

Mr Murnane said when liquid fertiliser was applied good agitation was needed to get it through a nozzle without blocking. The new unit was similar to Silvan’s standard herbicide sprayer but with modifications to handle the organic liquid fertiliser.

Mr Scott’s modified sprayer comes with in-cab, electric pressure controls and a 12 metre manual fold, suspension boom with fertilizer nozzles which enables a coverage of 18m to be achieved. To adapt to the soup-like, liquid fertiliser, nozzles, filters and spray lines also had to be modified.

Two retention lines into the tank were added to keep the mixture “stirred up” and the hose lines upgraded to a bigger size. A second dedicated line to the four field jets with 18mm holes was added as well to avoid blockages.

The most expensive modifications was the addition of a hydraulic stainless steel pump to handle the mixture.

Mr Scott has 12 months to go before he gains his organic certification but already he is producing an organic milk line for Bellamy Organic, which pays a 30 per cent premium to normal milk solids.

He is hoping his gross return will increase by up to 150pc as a result of the move and be making a profit of between $500 to $1000 per cow.

The recommended retail price for the modified sprayer will be $32,980 inclusive.

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