International Perspectives: Ag Leader in South Africa
Back in the middle of February, I took my annual trip down to South Africa to meet our distributor Nel Precision Farming. Mac has been working with Ag Leader for several years already but it was only in 2011 that he started his own company to distribute Ag Leader products in South Africa.
My visit in February coincided with his first sales meeting for his dealers since starting the company. It was a good turn out and all were happy to hear about the new features that are now available in version 4.0. Of course, there was also a lot of good constructive feedback for product improvements and features for the future.
During my time here, I also managed to visit some customers. One of these was Johann Pistorius who farms 1500ha in Mpumalanga, South Africa, of which 270ha is under centre pivot irrigation. He grows mostly maize (corn) and soybeans. His father started the farm in 1964 and Johann now has full control of this farm.
Paul Rose visiting Johann Pistorius’ South African farm
To say Johann has attention to detail would be an understatement! I have seen many farms around the world in my time but this is up there with the best of them in terms of a well run business and adaption of Precision Farming Technologies. By virtue of this trait, Johann also expects a lot out of his equipment and nothing less than the best will do. He now runs 4 ParaDyme RTK units; one for his STX main tillage tractor, one for his sprayer tractor and 2 for both his planting tractors. There is also a SP sprayer running on RTK. At the beginning of the season, after harvesting his soybeans, he sprays Ammonium Nitrate over his fields.
The STX 485 then goes over the field with a Zonetiller that can very its depth as needed from between 20cm and 45cm. In the same process, a seedbed is formed and P and K corrections are applied. The two planting tractors that plant the seed directly on top of the ripper ridges, then follow. And lastly the sprayer tractor is used for post spraying operations. Both planters are fitted with Hydraulic Seed Rate Control, SureStop Clutch Control, Seed Tube Sensors and a DirectCommand Liquid system.
The sprayer tractor is also fitted with a DirectCommand system. He has been extremely happy with the Seed Command and Direct Command systems and if the ParaDyme performs as well this season as he hopes then he will have the Rolls Royce of Precision Farming systems!
It was a very interesting day with Johann and like most SA farmers, he had a lot of ideas on how we can improve our products for the future. I am already looking forward to my next visit to SA!