“Lehner sow easy for snails”

Written by Mark Saunders & published in The Weekly Times July 8, 2010

SOUTH Australian grain grower Randall Wilksch likes to be as precise as possible when it comes to farm inputs.

His precision agriculture approach even stretches to applying snail bait at sowing.

And to ensure the snail bait is applied evenly and cost-effectively, Randall uses a Lehner SuperVario spreader.

Randall, who works in conjunction with his father, Max, and brother, Jordy, said the SuperVario had done an excellent job of spreading snail bait while they sowed canola and lupins on the family property, Freedom Hills, Yeelanna during autumn.

“It’s been marvellous,” Randall said. “We mounted the 170-litre Lehner on the rear centre of our tined seeder and that enabled us to spread the snail bait in the same pass as sowing.

“In the past, we used a three-point-linkage mounted spreader, which meant another pass around the paddocks with the tractor, so it has saved us all that time.”

The Lehner is mounted on a 16.5m-wide Conserva Pak tined seeder by a simple steel frame, which was made on the farm.

The seeder and 12,000-litre Gason air cart is hauled by a 328kW Case IH Quadtrac 440Q tractor.

The seeder is set up on 305mm row spacings, with seed and fertiliser placed in separate furrows.

Randall said most of the canola and lupins were sown at about 8km/h and the Lehner had accurately and evenly spread the snail bait across the working width of the seeder.

“We were applying the bait at 5-7kg/ha and the coverage was excellent, even in some quite windy conditions,” Randall said.

The Wilksch family needs the bait, as the germinating lupins and canola crops are ideal fodder for an army of snails.

“Since we have gone to no-tillage farming and retaining stubbles, the snails have become increasingly more damaging to the crops,” Randall said.

“But the baiting with the Lehner has them under control this season.” The Lehner is controlled electronically from the tractor cabin where the driver can adjust the speed of the spreader’s spinner and turn the spreader on and off.

“It comes standard with 5m of cable but we needed about 30m. However the guys at FarmTech, which distribute the spreader, sorted that out,” randall said.
He said the spreader was also water proof.

“We did some sowing in the rain and the Lehner is very water tight. And it’s such a simple design it makes it very easy to take apart and clean,” he said.

Randall said he had a few cases of the bait being broken apart at spreading but believes changing to a bait with a heavier density will solve that problem.