Flame Of The Month- Gary and Narelle McGill
Gary and Narelle McGill, along with their son Mark and key operator Richard Smith, manage their two properties ‘TOROBROOK’ near Calingiri 2hrs north east of Perth and ‘DAMBORING’ 75kms beyond in Ballidu, the North Central Wheatbelt of W.A.
The Operation and the Accufire units.
The McGill’s run a 100% cropping operation. Gary explains they use their Accufire units primarily for Harvest Weed Seed Control and for the removal of heavy stubble loads when necessary, which would be an impediment to the following seasons cropping operation.
Calingiri is a higher rainfall, higher production, smaller area property than Ballidu’s expansive 4000ha.
Thus, the environment they use their four Accufire units differs;
The higher volume stubble windrows are often baled and sold from TOROBROOK. There is still enough residue remaining to carry a fire along the rows here.
TOROBROOK’S higher production and undulating countryside with areas of existing native vegetation means the two Accufire units need to operate with speed and precision. This is while still dealing with the preservation requirements of the native vegetation and mitigating the risk of fire escape in such a high fuel load area.
Ballidu, on the other hand, is wide open country and the two Accufire’s up there need to cover the big area in the suitable and available time. For instance, Mark can send staff out to conduct the windrow burning operation at Ballidu because he has the confidence they have the tools to do the job precisely, safely and quickly when the conditions allow. The windrows at Ballidu are burnt to ensure temperature parameters are met to kill herbicide resistance weed seed.
How long have you been using the Accufire unit?
We bought our first unit in 2007 or 2008, since then we have purchased another 3 units. The purchases have occurred as our operation has expanded. The importance of the containment of herbicide resistance has driven the purchasing decisions.
So, does it have the goods?
Our approach to burning prior to purchasing the Accufires was inefficient, in hindsight it was amateurish, clumsy and half baked. We used to use multiple drip-torches with people riding on the back of utes.
It’s so vital to get the burning operation right.
You need to assess and choose the weather conditions to burn, it’s crucial management. Now, each of the four utes has its operator, an Accufire to ignite, and a firefighter unit on board. A fifth ute is setup with an operator, as a dedicated firefighter also.
The Accufire’s are “JUST BRILLIANT”, they are so well designed and refined. The quick setup means when conditions are right to burn you can go, BANG, get the job done. They have a high degree of manoeuvrability, they’re hands free and have lighting capability in forward or reverse.
The Accufires are a solid unit and I can’t say enough about the advantages.
“Stop Gary. Stop!” (John from Accufire).
No, there’s more.
Because of the Accufire units our burning process is much less stressful and the operation is far timelier in its execution. I consider the use, the application and the role of this piece of equipment is JUST AS IMPORTANT as the role of the major capital items of plant on the farm without the 100s of thousands of dollars’ price tag.