Ground Cover North : Ground Cover 060 February-March 2006 - North
Sensor ends silo ladder scramble BY KELLIE PENFOLD n Grain storage silos have long been regarded as one of the most dangerous areas on a farm, something that bothered Wimmera father and son Les and Chris Warrick, who run a grain enterprise near Horsham, Victoria. After a WorkSafe farm safety field day at Longerenong in 2004 they started to think there had to be a better, safer way to monitor the level of grain inside a silo without using a ladder. “Cages on silo ladders are expensive, taking the ladders off all together is not practical and sight glasses need cleaning,” says Chris. Their determination to find an answer paid off when their Silo Levalert invention went into commercial production and the Warricks were named finalists in the small business section of the WorkSafe Victoria Awards. “With little knowledge of electronics, Dad bought different switches and made up sensor devices which he tested in buckets of grain,” Chris explains. “It took a lot of trial-and-error and asking questions. However, the farm work began to mount up and the project was shelved. “I then suffered a serious back injury – doing farm work – and had time on my hands. Dad encouraged me to take up the challenge and after hours of developing, testing and improving the system and with investment from Dad, we eventually had something reliable.” Now manufactured and marketed by the Warricks’ company, Wockaz, the Silo Levalert is now available as an ‘extra’ on new silos through selected manufacturers or can be retro-fitted to existing silos. The system comprises two main modules – a level sensor and a computer. Up to three sensors are fitted per computer module at any height within the silo. As the silo fills, the computer module flashes as the sensors are reached. “The computer module can be used for any number of silos by simply unplugging the plugs in the back and taking it off the silo leg. A magnetic back allows the operator to mount it on any silo in a visible position,” Chris says. “Previously for most farmers the only way to tell how much grain was in a silo to stop it over-filling was to climb up and down the ladder several times. “The last climb is usually done in a hurry to stop the filling conveyor before the silo overflows. That’s often when accidents occur. This is a way to eliminate that risk, and reduce farm accidents.” For more information: Chris Warrick, 0427 247 476, www.wockaz.com.au NEW PASTURES LIFT NITROGEN OPTIONS BY REBECCA THYER n Four new cultivars have been released by the National Annual Pasture Legume Improvement Program (NAPLIP), adding to the 26 produced by the program since 1985. As 85 per cent of crop nitrogen is derived from pasture legumes, continually improving existing cultivars, as well as developing new pasture legumes, is crucial to the viability of Australia’s cropping industry. The new releases are: MintaroA – a subclover (Trifolium subterraneum ssp. brachycalycinum) bred by Carolyn de Koning from the South Australian Research and Development Institute (SARDI) and Phil Nichols from WA’s Department of Agriculture. For growers in medium (400 to 500 millimetres) rainfall areas with neutral- to-alkaline soils, MintaroA provides a subclover suited to a long-term (three- to-five year) pasture phase system. Moderately hard-seeded, MintaroA offers more protection from false breaks, compared to Clare, and consistent regeneration when compared to Rosedale. Winter herbage production has also shown to be higher than Rosedale. SARDI Persian (Trifolium resupinatum) – the first Persian clover to be launched by NAPLIP was bred by SARDI’s Steve Hughes and Andrew Craig. Persian clover will offer growers a pasture that is suited to heavy, waterlogged, alkaline clays. It also shows some salinity tolerance. An ability to flower early means it is the first Persian clover to provide good levels of seed-set and regeneration in moderate rainfall areas (450mm). This makes it an important new pasture in the battle against BY REBECCA THYER n NSW Partners in Grain (PING) recently held a practical half-day training course to help growers in that state comply with the requirements of the NSW Occupational Health and Safety (OH&S) Act. Pam Krieg, PING’s NSW coordinator, says that while farmers are familiar with the need to identify hazards and assess and control risks, many have not developed their own OH&S policy because some confusion still exists about how to implement the requirements on-farm. “Many farmers often leave courses with a fear of the OH&S process after hearing ‘horror’ stories of farm employers being investigated by WorkCover and facing enormous costs (both emotional and financial) following farm ‘accidents’,” says Mrs Krieg. NSW PING’s course aims to help growers establish and maintain an OH&S program for their business with participants leaving the course with their own OH&S policy completed. This covers: n developing OH&S policies and procedures; n establishing and maintaining processes to ensure all employees participate in OH&S applications; n establishing and maintaining procedures for identifying hazards and assessing risks; n implementing interim risk control measures until a better or permanent control measure is developed; n establishing and maintaining enterprise procedures for dealing with hazardous events; n establishing and maintaining an OH&S safety induction and training program; n establishing and maintaining a system for OH&S records; and n evaluating the enterprise OH&S system and Farm safety GROUND COVER FEBRUARY -- MARCH 2006 6 Levalert monitor on the legs of a silo. increasing salinity in medium rainfall districts. While Persian clovers are known for their ‘hard-seededness’, this new variety has a pattern of seed softening that makes it better suited to cropping than previous cultivars. MoonbiA and WilpenaA – the first cultivars of Sulla (Hedysarum coronarium) to be developed in Australia. They were bred by an Australia-wide team of Steve Hughes, Carolyn de Koning and Geoff Auricht from SARDI; David Lloyd from the Queensland Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries; and Graham Crocker from NSW Department of Primary Industries. The Sullas offer a pasture legume with some key new attributes.They are short-living perennial pastures that survive for two-to- three years and readily regenerate from seed. Winter and spring production, especially in the second year, make Sulla ideal for a short-term pasture phase that complements lucerne in a crop-pasture rotation. They are deep rooted and aphid-resistant. Sullas grow well in warm temperatures – Mediterranean and subtropical climates with mild winters. They are suited to medium-to-heavy textured soils and alkaline calcareous subsoils and will grow on mildly acid soil, although, they will not tolerate saline, sodic or waterlogged soils. Suited to areas where annual rainfall is greater than 400mm, Sullas are generally highly productive with dry- matter yields of more than 22 tonnes a hectare a year achievable. Seeds will be grown for further production this year and available to growers in 2007. GRDC Research Code DAS324 For more information: Geoff Auricht, SARDI, 08 8303 9498, firstname.lastname@example.org Page 11: Feature on pasture legumes FARM PARTNERS TACKLE OH&S related policies, procedures and programs. Mrs Krieg says two key actions are essential for an effective on-farm program: n issuing comprehensive OH&S information to farm employees, contractors, truck drivers, agents and others involved in any day-to-day on-farm operations; and n conducting regular meetings to deal with OH&S issues and prompt remedial action where required. GRDC Research Code PIG00003 For more information: Tracy McIntyre, 02 6889 0142, 0427 689 668, email@example.com A 16-page supplement on farm safety is included in this issue 'PREVIOUSLY FOR MOST FARMERS THE ONLY WAY TO TELL HOW MUCH GRAIN WAS IN A SILO TO STOP IT OVER-FILLING WAS TO CLIMB UP AND DOWN THE LADDER SEVERAL TIMES ... THAT'S OFTEN WHEN ACCIDENTS OCCUR'
Ground Cover 061 April-May 2006 - North
Ground Cover 059 December-January 2006 - North