Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Comments about 'The New Inventors', Stubble Star (7/Sept/05)

Stubble-Star was one of the devices on last night’s show.

Being a farmer son, I'm close enough to the subject to realise how inept most of the questioning about the product was!

Two of the panel had no idea about the subject. Just asking motherhood questions. The one that has closer knowledge was still far enough removed as not to be able to ask the hard questions.

The Star competitor technologies are tine and chisel ploughs (used for seed sowing), not the seldom used disc plough. Disc plough use has been declining since at least the 60's.

This also allowed the inventor/promoters to push as major selling point, sometime that is only a minor point. Stubble burning is a seldom used practice, it had disappeared from the northern wheat belt by during the 70s and largely disappeared from the southern wheat during the 80s.

The promoter talked about the stars being trialled in the Wagga Wagga area and in the sandy soil of the WA. Then made the sweeping statement that it was suitable for all the wheat belts. I'ld like to see it tested in the heavy red and black (basalt) soils of the Eastern Darling Downs, the Brigalow Clays of the Western Darling Downs and the Liverpool/Moree Plains.

It looks like an interesting bit of equipment. It has good potential, even if it only matches current methods, given its claimed fuel savings.

One last silly comment from the panel was about it being a good invention, going into a growing market. I want to know, what growing market? Given the current economic and polito-legal frameworks in Australia. At most, the amount of land under the plough is either plateauing or static. An 'out of touch' comment! If the wool market improves markedly, it may even start to fall as land in SA and NSW returns to wool!

I think the Show should get Subject Area Experts to prepare a background reports for the Panel.

Outlining area such as
- Competitive technologies/methods and the economics.
- Market state
- Pros and cons of the Invention & major competitive technologies

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