Based at Rake Farm, Kingsbridge, Devon, RJ Beer handles a general contracting operation alongside a contract farming workload that accounts for 6,000 acres of fertiliser spreading each season.
Until recently, contracting brothers Rob and Andrew Beer had been using a spreader with weigh cells, but soon found its limitations on the steep slopes around Kingsbridge.
“Our previous spreader was good at 20m but lost its accuracy at 24m, and it was never quite good enough on headlands or boundary work,” says Andrew. “We had seen enough stripes to know we had to find a more accurate way of applying fertiliser.”
“We wanted a five-bag capacity to improve logistics, and we also chose the IsoMatch Tellus GO terminal to give us a foot on the precision farming ladder,” he says. “And GPS has been brilliant – we’ll probably step-up to an IsoMatch Tellus Pro terminal next time, for greater field and job recording capability.”
Field sizes range from five to 60 acres, and forward speed is typically 13.5kph.
“It’s a really impressive piece of kit,” he says. “I just put the required rate in the terminal and the spreader does the rest. We do have our own trays, so we can double check what’s going on.”
But he says that the spreader can play mind games with you.
“And that’s because if I was controlling the spreader manually I would turn it on sooner, and turn it off later, but GPS has proved that I would be overlapping too much and wasting fertiliser. Our crops do look better, simply because they’re being better fed and our overlaps are non-existent.”
The increased accuracy has also helped the brothers to tweak field operations too.
“The spreader is so accurate, that we’ve been trialling a couple of fields without tramlines, to try to combat soil erosion and run-off on the steeper fields,” he says. “With GPS on the spreader, we know we won’t be compromising on application accuracy.”
14. May 2018