While he considers himself to be ‘‘new’’ to the job, cropping farmer from Boomanoomana, Nico Sieling, harvests impressive crops and invents farm machinery in his spare time.
Mr Sieling has been cropping for six years. He averages between eight and 10 tonnes/ha on 300ha irrigated country and, like everybody else, takes his chances on 350ha dryland.
He said his success was based on the right advice and the right equipment — which he puts together himself.
‘‘To be a good cropping farmer you need a good agronomist, you need to listen to him and have the machinery and man power to do what he says,’’ Mr Sieling said.
He said he always listened to his agronomist at IK Caldwell and trusted in Riordan Grain services.
‘‘I have sold all my grain to Riordan in the past.’’
The high running costs of a header means that Mr Sieling needs to harvest as much as he can without stopping — with 650ha of wheat on the property, he cannot afford to wait around and needs enough available space in his silos.
Although he is a design engineer by trade, an experienced dairy farmer and now a cropping farmer, Mr Sieling said he was best described as a ‘‘serial inventor.’’
He has been inventing farm machinery for about 25 years, through his own company Rotacon Engineering, and said it had been more enjoyable than anything else he has ever designed because of its reliance on logical thinking.
‘‘If I need a machine and I can’t find one to buy, I make it.
‘‘It’s the best motivation to come to a genuinely good machine.’’
After three years of research and design and three months of building, Mr Sieling created the Rotacon RA40 Air Seeder, the latest addition to his collection of 11 farm machines.
The unique features of the Rotacon RA40 Air Seeder enables the machine to do things that other air seeders cannot, and in the past two years, it has yielded 3000tonne for Mr Sieling.
‘‘You can control the depths of each fertiliser tines individually — no other machines can do that.’’
The air seeder also controls seed depths through its double parallelogram seeder technology creating a more superior and even crop.
Mr Sieling said the machine could manoeuvre sideways when encountering large objects or when the tractor changes course suddenly to avoid obstacles.
‘‘The tine does not break or bend and the machine can cover 10 ha/hour.’’
The machine’s 12m frame can fold to a width of 3m and a height of 4m and is the only air seeder that can travel on the road without an escort at 50km/hour.
Although the machine offers some never-before-seen features and won the Farm Innovator Award at the 2014 Henty Machinery Field Days, Mr Sieling is struggling to obtain a licence.
He said a lot of manufacturers are unwilling to consider the new technology — a problem he has found with all of his inventions.
The air seeder is also suitable for use in European countries and Mr Sieling is planning to visit Europe next year in an effort to sell the machine.
■For more information about the Rotacon RA40 Air Seeder and other designs by Mr Sieling, visit www.rotacon.com