Agronico launched its new four-row planter at Cressy this week

Agronico put its new four-row planter through its paces this week when planting seed potatoes at Cressy.

The Leith-based company upgraded its machinery to a state-of-the-art AVR four-row planter, which made light work planting a selection of seed potato varieties on a 10-hectare plot leased at Strathmead.

Agronico field officer Barry Wyllie was overseeing the planting work at Cressy, which also included other machinery preparing the ground to keep the moisture within the soil and fertilising after planting.

“This planter is new for us this year. It’s a beautiful planter,” Mr Wyllie said.

“It’s a computerised hydraulic planter, which allows the operator to control the planter from a panel inside,” he said.

Agronico’s previous planter was also set up for four rows, but technology has sped up the process.

“You can change the settings on the run and it’s more user friendly,” Mr Wyllie said.

“The cups have got shakers so you don’t get too many doubles and it controls the depth at the front by covering the discs and throwing and folding moister soil over the top,” he said.

Chief executive Robert Graham said the investment in the AVR four-row planter was part of the company’s continued work towards improving the potato seed and yield from its crops.

Agronico is one of the only producers using this type of planter at the moment, and expects it to increase efficiency during planting by up to 10 per cent as it can carry 2.5 tonnes of seed potatoes. 

“Agronico is committed to improving yields at every stage of the seed potato production. The AVR four-row planter is an important addition to our strategy to achieve these goals,” Mr Graham said.

The AVR planter will plant 80 per cent of Agronico’s seed potatoes this year, which will increase planting efficiency and reduce soil compaction associated with tractors during planting.

“As far as we are aware, use of the AVR four-row planter is unique to Australian potato farming,” Mr Graham said.

“The planter is extremely reliable, precise and robust and has made the job of our field team much easier and more effective,” he said.

Agronico’s field team has been planted out seed potatoes in DNA-tested ground in the state’s North last week, this week and into next week.

The potatoes planted at these locations had been stored at Agronico’s coolstore at Spreyton, which stores up to 8000 tonnes of potatoes.

This purpose-built facility opened in July and was fully operational by August this year, helping Tasmanian potato farmers improve the viability and quality of their produce.