Strathmore Station using giant 200ft planter at Georgetown

Ben Harden
By Ben Harden
Updated May 12 2022 - 10:13pm, first published May 11 2022 - 8:00pm
A 200ft airseeder in action at Strathmore Station near Georgetown. Photo: Kerry Harris

A precision cotton planter in the north west that stretches 60 metres or 200 foot could be among the world's biggest.

The giant machinery is one of three recently constructed in Mareeba, along with two 200ft airseeders built for Strathmore Station at Georgetown.

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They're just five metres shy of the world's biggest planter, which Moree's Gav Zell claimed with his Baldwin 214ft airseeder some years ago, which plants a hectare per minute.

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Savannah Steel Fabrications workshop manager Glen Kraushaar, Mareeba, said the three seeders took 11 months to complete.

Mr Kraushaar said each project started off with a 100ft planter design.

"Our workshop fabricated four 100ft seeders for Strathmore in the past, but the sheer size and volume of these 200ft planters is quite impressive," Mr Kraushaar said.

A 200ft precision cotton planter being towed by a 1984 Old Versatile tractor at Strathmore station near Georgetown. Picture: Supplied

Scott and Kerry Harris of Strathmore Station own a mix farming enterprise on 35,000ha, growing sorghum, dryland cotton, as well as cattle.

Mr Harris said he commissioned the three 200ft planters because he wanted to cover more ground.

"We had to make these planters bigger, tougher and more robust to handle our country," he said.

"There's no new country coming into production, everyone has stopped building equipment that would handle it, because they're building equipment that would go into clean country.

"We've also struggled with a limited workforce and there's big areas we've got to get over and quick before it rains."

The precision planter sowed 11 seeds to the metre, 150ha before having to be refiled, with 60 bushel seed boxes each holding 45kg.

Having to manually fill each box with cotton seed, Mr Harris said it's not that time consuming.

"We've set up a little truck to distribute the cotton seed and it's worked really well for us," he said.

Scott said they still use several 1984 old versatile tractors to pull the planters.

"They handle it just as easy as the newer machines," he said.

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"We're actually going to put together another 200ft planter this year and that'll be the fourth one.

"The planters are quite easy to transport and store and we can fold them up to about 55ft wide, so we can keep them undercover in the shed."

Ben Harden

Ben Harden

Queensland Country Life Journalist

Based in Rockhampton, Central Queensland. Contact: 0437528907

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