Fourth generation Nth Queensland sugarcane grower Gary Raiteri, bought his first Case IH Austoft sugarcane harvester in 1997.
In the almost 20 years since he has purchased another six.
“When our family first began growing sugarcane, they were cutting it by hand, but today good quality harvesters are the backbone of our operation,” Mr Raiteri said.
He estimates optimal productivity sits at approximately 800 to 1000 tonnes per day.
“Machinery breakdowns, maintenance and upkeep all add up to less hours in the paddock, Mr Raiteri said.
“The only way we can reach 85,000 to 95,000 tonnes a year is with equipment that gets the job done efficiently.”
Their latest Austoft 8800 series sugarcane harvester was added in 2013 and another is on order.
“We are always trying to improve our yield and related efficiencies through the latest and greatest technologies available – whether that’s to do with irrigation practices or machinery,” Mr Raiteri said.
He said the machine makes light work of a hard day’s work, thanks to joystick operation and easy-to-operate cab controls meaning he can comfortably do 800-1000 tonnes a day.
The automatic base cut height control (Auto Tracker) is also seen as a key feature for precise, uniform cutting with reduced losses and stool damage.
“With the Auto Tracker, the harvester does half the job for you, plus it’s better for the crop – and that keeps farmers happy when we’re contracting,”