G’day my name’s Gary East.
I’m a farmer in the lower south west of Manjimup.
I got a call from Neville Sincocker a few weeks ago, just to have a bit of a chat about their water conditioners that we installed two years ago now, just to let these guys know where the difference has been showing and how we get on with it, and what we’ve achieved with it.
What we noticed originally is that there was quite a build up of salt on top of our soil towards the end of the season and also with the broccoli that we were growing, and cauliflower at that stage, we were getting a, very
difficult to get a green in the leaves, they were always quite blue, and with more and more investigation along the way we could just tell that there was obviously salt in the water. Our salt levels are generally not that high but they are around about 120 mg/lit in the water, it doesn’t seem to vary that much. All our water that we have here is all above ground storage which is all winter flow catchment, we don’t have any bores or anything like that, so it’s all winter flow catchment, so they tend to get flushed out each year so we have a valve at the bottom of our dams that we let go each year to try and flush any residual salt in the dams. The dam that you can see behind me is a very very large dam which we tend not to be able to empty even though we turn the pipe off and when we finish the season
in end of May / June, we can never get it down anyway so at least any salt that is at the bottom of the dam will get flushed to the best that we can.
The main thing that we have noticed about the conditioner is, as soon as we put it on, which was in January, the biggest thing we noticed
straight away was the amount of times less we had to spray our crops. If anyone who grows brocolli or brassicas is that we have a major problem with patella which is a diamondblack moth in this area, generally having to spray, two, sometimes three times a week. From the time we put that conditioner on we basically stopped spraying.
We were spraying once a month and I asked my neighbours next door you know what they were doing, and they were still continuing to spray twice a week where we didn’t, I know that they were growing cauliflowers where you do have to control them a lot better than brocolli, but we were just having no problems at all in that sense. Each time we put fertiliser through we put a bit of molasses, a couple of litre a hectare through the water at the same time, just to help buffer the fertiliser the same as we do it, with huge success as we found. And that’s been the biggest issue.
Another one was that we had an agronomist who drove in the gate, and straight away he the question he asked me is, he said “what have you done to your crops, they’re a lot greener than they normally are, every time I drive past they’re always blue, what have you done?” So I explained it to him and he asked me “how does it work”. And I said well you’re asking the wrong person, I have no idea how it works just the fact that it does work. I actually swear by these things. We’ve probably cut our waterings down not a huge amount, we tend to just water basically everyday anyway but there’s minimal salt buildup on the
surface from now on and at the end of the season there is a small amount but no where near what used to be there, so that tells
me that this machine, however it’s working, is doing the job. It’s working very very well Other benefits, well it’s hard to say in that sense, the cost savings for spraying for a start I would say we, we the first year has well and truly paid for that machine. With probably just chemicals, having to spray diamond blacks every, twice a week, is very very time consuming as well as expensive as everyone realises so that machine more than paid for itself in the first year. We grow around about 20,000 broccoli every week and that season runs from, we start harvesting in the middle of November, right through until the middle of June, so we’re about seven months growing so you can take that over that period of time just with the cost of chemical savings, you can see why it would save the cost of that machine very very quickly. Not only that the product, is so much better the first ah, the year before we put that machine on we had a lot of seconds, we had a lot of yellowing we had a fair bit of trouble with the brocolli, a bit of rot things like that, the year that we put
that machine on from January onwards when we started
picking, from then on we just never had seconds, never had rot, never had yellowing, the health of the plants was visual, visually so much better then they were
before so yeah, the time saving in spraying and watering and everything else is absolutely… if anyone is considering one of these machines I would highly recommend it, because just with the saving in time, has given us time to do other things along the way. If anyone would like to give me a call I’d be more than happy to chat to you. If you talk to Neville he will give you my contact details and I’d be happy to chat to you on the phone and go through it a bit more if you would like