Maestro Leigh Waser

Leigh and Jane Waser farm 2000 hectares with Leigh’s father, Graeme, at Strathmerton in Northern Victoria.

The operation is mainly dryland rotation cropping of wheat, barley and canola, and the family grows corn on 280 hectares of irrigated land.The farm is river plain country bordering the Murray River, with soils varying from black clays to red loam. Before the last planting season, the Wasers used contractors, but in October 2013 they bought a Horsch Maestro 8CC 8-row trailed planter on 750mm spacing. Leigh said the need to be able to plant at exactly the right time to take advantage of moisture conditions, and the planter’s ability to avoid doubles and skips led them to the top quality German product.

“We can plant other grains with the Maestro but we bought it mainly for the corn. It was delivered in October and we had it working that same week. “There’s a lot to like about the design, the overall build and the engineering. The accuracy of the metering system is very good and because of the design, the distance between seed and fertiliser always stays the same. “The metering devices are electrically driven and individually switchable, so it’s easy to turn rows on and off. It’s a really sweet feature to have for the seed savings alone. Many other machines don’t give you this option,” he said.

The Maestro 8CC has a 2800-litre fertiliser hopper and 8 x 70-litre seed containers. The grain sensor records the exact number and distance of the grains, providing all the information the driver needs to permanently control single grain planting. The big hopper allows him to put high rates of fertiliser on, and the flexible rubber roller that runs in the furrow behind the tube fixes the seed in the soil immediately even when working at high speeds. Press wheels arranged as a V-shape provide safe closure of the seed furrow, pressing the seed vertically and also from both sides. Leigh plants at range of depths on irrigated ground and said it is easy to change the depth if he wants to go deeper for the moisture.

The heavy double disc coulter with maintenance-free bearing is designed for high coulter pressures. Discs are cleaned on the outside by depth control wheels and scrapers and on the inside by scraper. Leigh uses the Maestro on a 170hp John Deere 7430 tractor and plants at approximately 7.5 kmph. “We can go faster but we were very happy with the flow of everything at that speed so we stayed with it,” he said. Germination, particularly on the 40 hectares under centre pivot irrigation, was as good as anything he’s ever seen. “We had very good establishment and a good strong crop that was already 7 foot high by early January.

The placement of the seed and the avoidance of doubles and missed planting is just so important with corn. “Our Elders agronomist, David Sutton, has just been out to take a look and he’s very happy with the seed placement and the way the crop is looking,” Leigh said. The Wasers bought their Maestro planter through O’Connors in Shepparton. Echuca-based Muddy River Agricultural import a range of high quality Horsch products for distribution throughout Australia. For more information, call Muddy River Agricultural on 03 5480 6789