NEWS RELEASE   April 11, 2023

Warakirri Cropping - When the Going Gets Tough, the Tough Get Going

Crestmead, Queensland (11 April, 2023) — Like any Australian farming enterprise, Warakirri Cropping strives to make the most of a good season, right across each of its 11 aggregations throughout Australia, that collectively produces more than 400,000 tonnes of grain annually.

However, an extreme weather event like 2022-23's record wet in NSW has reinforced the value of the company's investment in John Deere technology to get jobs like seeding, sowing and weed control done quickly, in any available window.

Record breaking wet

The average annual rainfall of the company's 19,033ha NSW property 'Cowabbie-Mukoora' north of Narrandera is usually 400-500mm.

Warakirri Cropping Southern Regional Manager, John Stevenson, said last year it was 900mm, including the wettest October on record which meant the harvest period extended for two weeks longer than normal.

"Our southern and northern farms had an exceptionally challenging year and it didn't seem to matter if our machines were tracked or wheeled Seeding on 'Cowabbie-Mukoora' was done in the wettest conditions I've experienced in 20 years and we had similar conditions at harvest," Mr Stevenson said.

"In 2022, we invested in two John Deere X9 1000 Harvesters on tracks to add to our three John Deere 1890 seeding rigs, running 1910 Tow-Behind Air Commodity Carts pulled by two 9470RX and one 9470R Tractor. John Deere's SectionCommand™ technology helped us to minimise overlaps and skips across seeding and fertilising applications.

"It's our job to meet the challenges of what nature puts in front of us year-on-year, and all of this technology is assisting us to do that."

Fast machines prove value

'Cowabbie-Mukoora' is in a four-year, 25% rotation of canola, wheat, barley and pulses, and Mr Stevenson said the seeding rigs proved their value in getting crop in the ground whenever there was a break in the weather.

"With our previous seeding machines, during a 14-hour shift we would expect to sow 140 ha to 160 ha, whereas with the newer rigs we increased that to 200 ha per day," he said.

"The bigger capacity in the airseeder box also made a noticeable difference and we were able to travel faster at 12 km per hour, rather than around 8 km per hr."

Precision ag offers solutions

For Mr Stevenson, who oversees several aggregations, the implementation of precision agriculture across all of Warakirri Cropping's aggregations is part of the solution to rising input costs.

Each property is using John Deere Operations Center™, in conjunction with Agworld and PCT Agcloud, for enhanced connectivity and access to information, to make collaborative decisions work more efficiently and productively.

"These systems are helping us to identify where we should be spending money and optimising costs. Precision ag is helping us with soil amelioration and correcting soil constraints, as well as nutrient management, by allowing us to know what we've removed from where – and making sure we replace it," Mr Stevenson explained.

"Our business will always be aiming to expand but if you look at rising property values, it has become important to make the most of the land you have. With our farm data, we are obtaining the metrics needed to drive the business forward and our key focus is to improve productivity."

Ag tech attracts workers

Warakirri Cropping employs more than 100 full time staff across the country and 'Cowabbie-Mukoora' has a fulltime team of 13.

Mr Stevenson said access to the latest ag technology was proving to be a key incentive for attracting new employees, particularly younger operators who enjoy the tech offered by new machines.

"We've done a lot of training in the past six months on what's available in the tractor cab and how to interpret the information, and our workers are excited about it. Because it's connected through JDLink™ to Operations Center, the managers can monitor progress in the paddock and push jobs to the machines from their phones or computer."

"It proved its worth during this year's seeding. Employees just get in the tractor and it's ready to go. We can log in to any screen on our iPad or phone and change settings remotely or talk to them."

"Although we had a challenging seeding season and harvest this past 12 months, we noticed that team morale stayed high because the equipment enabled us to tick off jobs much more efficiently. Another positive is the data that comes back to us is a lot more useful because it's been entered in the right format, which integrates well with record keeping."

Improved weed control

As expected, the wet year has proved a challenge for weed control too. On 'Cowabbie-Mukoora', row spacing has transitioned from 12 inches with tines to 7.5 inches with a disc seeding system, to provide much better control.

"Implementing narrow row spacing with our new seeders has been synergistic," Mr Stevenson said.

"The seeders are ensuring accurate and even crop coverage and the row spacing has reduced weed emergence drastically. It has added another option to our toolbox for weed management."

He's hoping that after weathering such an extreme cropping year, the rest of 2023 will enable 'Cowabbie-Mukoora' and the rest of Warakirri Cropping aggregations to continue to build on the gains made through the adaptation of new technologies.

"Our approach is to operate efficient farms utilising industry best practice, sustainable farming techniques, and our machinery selection is integral to that."

About John Deere:

Deere & Company is a global leader in the delivery of agricultural, golf & turf, construction, and forestry equipment. We help our customers push the boundaries of what's possible in ways that are more productive and sustainable to help life leap forward. Our technology-enabled products including the John Deere Autonomous 8R Tractor and See & Spray™ are just two of the ways we help meet the world's increasing need for food, shelter, and infrastructure. Deere & Company also provides financial services through John Deere Financial. For more information, visit John Deere at its worldwide website at or in Australia at

For further information, the news media should contact:

Stacey Wordsworth
0438 394 371

Hannah Hardy
0421 196 004