Croplands is helping a busy family business in South Australia reach its full potential.
Loffler Fresh owned by the Loffler family is home to 12 ha of avocados and 3 ha of macadamia nuts at Ramco.
George and Sheree Loffler, their four daughters and Sheree’s father, pack their own fruit and sell 50,000 trays of avocados a year.
And they say producing that quantity is only possible with their Cropliner XL 4000 tree crop sprayer.
Mr Loffler says there are few pests where they farm in the Riverland region so insecticides are not vital.
What is vital however, is a plant growth regulator and the timing and coverage is critical.
Done right, the plant will put its energy into the fruit and not into the growth of the tree - the problem has always been to get full coverage into the upper canopy.
Searching for a sprayer Mr Loffler came across a Cropliner demonstrated by Andrew Germein from Croplands in mid 2022.
“The critical height is the tops where the fruit sits and the coverage was amazing. The litmus paper was covered in dots, I said I want one,” Mr Loffler said.
The business did consider a tower sprayer but that would have involved a massive pruning program because their trees grow across the rows.
Instead their 100hp skinny, curvy tractor eases through the trees, towing the crop friendly 4000-litre Cropliner sprayer at a speed of around 4-5km/h.
“It follows nicely behind the tractor and it has rounded edges so doesn’t damage the trees, I was amazed at how quickly I could get through a six acre block. It is more than twice as quick as the last sprayer and much more productive,” Mr Loffler said.
The Cropliner XL 4000 has a 4000-litre polyethylene tank capable of spraying a
2.4-ha block with one tank.
There are smaller models within the range including 1500, 2000 or 3000-litre tanks.
Filling the Cropliner is quick and easy either through the top fill or through fast fill connections at ground level.
A chemical probe inducts chemicals out of containers on the ground.
“You don’t have to handle chemicals or lift anything above your head,” he said.
It has an 80-litre flushing tank and a 15-litre fresh water tank.
Cropliners use a Fieni DSV fan which comes in two sizes 920 mm or 1060 mm and has two speed settings.
“We use the slower speed on the younger trees which are 3-4m tall. We are getting good penetration and saving on fuel.”
He also uses the slower setting on well pruned taller trees.
The standard pump on a Cropliner XL 4000 is an Annovi Reverberi BHS-170.
The Loffler’s chose to go higher spec and got the AR BHS-200 which pumps 194 litres/min at a maximum pressure of 50 bar.
It comes with two sets of nozzles – 30 stainless steel with brass cores and 30 Albuz ceramic hollow cones.
Another bonus is how easy the Cropliner is to use and control with the HV-4000 spray controller.
“Once you are in you follow your nose and it is all automatic - it is simple to set up and gives plenty of options.”
With his previous sprayer there were lots of calculations, with the Cropliner Mr Loffler enters the required rate and row spacing and the controller factors in the tractor speed and keeps the rate constant.
“To change the rate from 2000 litres/ha to 1200 litres/ha for smaller trees is as simple as pushing a button.”
On the last row one side can be turned off and when turning at the head of rows everything can be flicked off with one button.
For really small trees Mr Loffler turns off the top nozzles and the controller figures that out too.
“It is so much easier to turn off the top four nozzles and say I want to spray at 1000 litres/ha and you work it out controller.”
The Lofflers only use the Cropliner three to four times a year for growth regulator and foliar nutrient sprays.
“Even if we only used it once a year it would pay for itself. The fruit shape is really good,” Mr Loffler says.
He also describes himself as a very happy customer having sprayed his own property and that of a neighbour, who was having troubles accessing the tops of his trees.
“He saw that our tops were covered with spray, even through heavy foliage. He was impressed too.
“Our Cropliner has done everything we have asked of it. It is awesome. Everything I look at tells me it is doing its job. I am impressed with the whole set-up.”