May 19, 2017 Chris Bettschen
Australian Spring Visit
In October 2016, I assumed the role of International Business Manager to strengthen the link between Australia and the factory. In mid-March, 2017 I took my first trip back to Australia since taking on the new role. One of my key responsibilities now is refining and improving our export process to give our Australian customers the best experience possible. To start this process, I went over to meet with our importer, Landpower Australia, and some of our biggest Seed Hawk dealers in Australia. The feedback I gathered from the trip has already been used to start improving for the next round of shipments across the Pacific.
I also had the chance to meet with some Australian growers and hear about their experiences over the last few years. The Australian cropping area has been wetter than average this year until seeding, when the West dried out. That has delayed seeding somewhat, though the early starters were in the field mid-February. Some of our Australian customers seed larger farms at a higher rate of speed, even though we still recommend a speed of 4-5 mph. One of our iCon Seeding Systems in Australia will be expected to seed 25,000 acres this year with an 80’-12 toolbar and 660 air cart. Another system will be right around the 20,000-acre mark when finished. The larger farmers hit the field in mid-April and want to be done seeding by early June, with some growers owning multiple farms in different areas of the wheatbelt.
Crews worked hard through the early part of 2017 to update the 2016 iCon Seeding Systems and ensure the new 2017’s were ready to excel on their farms. Landpower and Seed Hawk teams completed the PQC updates on all the Australian iCons by late March of 2017. As we did in North America, someone from Seed Hawk stopped at each iCon system to ensure that the updates were complete and that the machines were ready for seeding 2017. Some of the customers had some first week glitches, which we were able to sort out fairly quickly with the help of Landpower and the local dealers.
After the initial startup, the Fenix III Meters are working as we expected them to with a combined 30,000+ acres seeded so far in Australia. Seeding is still rolling along, and the iCon Seeding Systems are too.