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Diverse Cropping Operation is Blooming on Tasmania’s North West Coast.

George Griffin's farm in the north western region of Tasmania has some of the most productive farm land in Australia. Massey Ferguson visited George to find out more about his diverse range of crops including stunning rows of lilies and tulips.

In rolling hills seamed with rows of iridescent tulips in full bloom, George Griffin runs a diverse farming operation that includes potatoes, onions, poppies, wheat and lilies, but predominantly stunning rows of dense tulips that contrast brilliantly against the lush green of his farm’s undulating landscape.

“We started doing tulips and gradually we’ve got bigger and bigger as the years have gone on and now tulips would be our number one crop” George says.

Situated in the north western region of Tasmania, and just inland from the coast, George’s farm takes in some of the most productive land in Australia, with rich soil and good water resources enabling George to run a diversified cropping program.

“We are growing probably eight or nine different crops together but we are also upping our hectares and acreage a lot so we are up around well over 400 acres”, George says

Originally a motor mechanic, George returned to farming in the year 2000 and says it was a natural transition for him to gravitate back to farming.

“We come from a family with a history in farming so it was not a big shot to move into farming. We gradually bought a bit of land as the years have gone by and we have got bigger and diversified”

“So that is keeping us pretty busy but the tulips are our number one main crop now, which takes up a bit of time and labour. We used to export back into Holland a little bit but that has dried up now so it is all for the Australian market,” says George.

Within a couple of years expanding on the farm, George bought an MF 6265 which he held onto for five years before moving up to a MF 7465.

“We went up to a six cylinder with the Dyna-VT transmission and we found that absolutely great, to have that capability from 20 metres an hour in the paddock and up to 50 km/h  the road - plus the front suspension and cab suspension,” George Says.

George Griffin

More recently George has expanded his line up to include a guidance ready MF 7618, again with a Dyna–VT transmission, later adding an MF 7716.

“The mf 7618 is a 165 horsepower tractor with all the bells and whistles, we find it really good, it was guidance ready and we put an RTK GPS system in the tractor, and we have been learning how to use that which has been really handy for us to have on straight rows and improves our efficiencies with our cropping,” says George.

With the farm’s expanding area under cultivation, George’s desire to enhance his operation’s efficiencies led him to further expand his line up with the MF 7716, which is set up on narrow wheels and used primarily for tulips and potato planting as well as some fertilizer spreading.

George says incorporating the new tractor’s headland management feature into working the paddocks has been well received by the farm’s operators.

“The technology in these tractors is really very good, the operators like the programmable headland management and you can program what you want the tractor to do”.

 “If you’re ploughing you can come up to the headland and the tractor will automatically lift the plough up out of the ground, then you can go back a little bit and then while you are doing that the plough will turn over because it’s a reversible plough, while you are actually turning around on the headland and then put it back into the ground again, then automatically select four wheel drive, diff lock if you want it and away you go again,” says George.

“It’s those sorts of features that are really great. It’s time saving. The operators really love it especially with guidance in there as well. With all the comforts of the cab, the quietness, it’s a lot less stressful, you can walk away from the tractor at the end of the day not feeling really tired.”

Supporting George and his expanding enterprise has been local Massey Ferguson Dealer Total Ag Solutions, “who have looked after us over the years, “says George.

 “We have a great relationship with our dealer. We can ring up with any issues and they get fixed, there’re done”.

George is optimistic about the future, and the role emerging technologies and innovation in the industry and the agricultural outlook for Tasmania.

“I think over the next five to ten years the agricultural scene in Tasmania looks really positive. While prices probably aren’t going to change very much, I think productivity is going to be a lot better, with the advances in technology but also just with the positive feel in Tassie at the moment and we think there is a great future in farming in the years to come.”