James Barlow (pictured) of Mirrabinda at Boggabri in New South Wales is among Australia’s cohort of innovative young farmers.
Mr Barlow says his best opportunities to innovate have come through process change – and this part of the operation will continue to present new opportunities.
“We’ve worked to increase our output with less labour and more importantly less water by upgrading from border check irrigation to pivot irrigation systems with telemetry,” he said.
The cropper and cotton grower was just 24 years old when he took over the family business after his father passed away 11 years ago.
“After a few years finding my feet, I started working to improve efficiency by reducing tillage operations. This included purchasing a spreader to eliminate upfront fertiliser costs by spreading in-crop ahead of rain events. I later purchased a minimum till planter to increase flexibility and allow planting into old crop residue,” Mr Barlow said.
He stepped up weed control too, purchasing a spray coupe in conjunction with his neighbour. He has also significantly upgraded the farm’s irrigation system.
Mr Barlow says the introduction of automated steering and guidance systems has had a positive impact on the precision and efficiency of all of his farming practices while also reducing operator fatigue.