CSIRO helped Roesner, Australia’s leading supplier of fertiliser spreaders, to develop a tool that enables them to analyse the effect of the spreader on customer's farms. This is set to add significant value to their business.

The challenge

Assessing the impact of fertiliser spread patterns

Roesner is the dominant supplier in Australia of fertiliser spreaders, which are used to spread solid fertiliser onto broad acre crops in large-scale farming. Based in Harvey, Western Australia, the company has an 80 per cent market share, with more than 8,000 of its Marshall Multispread units operating across the country.

Roesner recently developed new designs for its Marshall Multispread products. While these next generation spreaders offered great improvements, company director Matt Roesner recognised an opportunity to innovate them further and add even more value.

According to Mr Roesner, research and development (R&D) is integral to their business success – it’s about being one step ahead of the rest. “The market landscape is changing and competition is growing, our continued investment in R&D is critical to the sustainability of the business.”

“Traditionally our company has understood a lot about the technical aspects of spreading fertiliser, but we wanted to learn more about the impact it has on crop yields, soil sustainability and the surrounding environment so that we could offer our clients a superior product and service,” Mr Roesner said. “We were struggling to correlate that knowledge on our own, so we looked to experts in the field to see if they could assist.”

Our response

Developing a tool to analyse fertiliser impact

Roesner engaged our researcher David Gobbett and project leader Michael Robertson, giving them the expertise they needed to assess the impacts of fertiliser spread patterns.

Mr Gobbett worked directly with Roesner for three months to develop a tool that would enable the company to independently analyse the impact of the fertiliser spreader on its clients’ farms.

The results

Added value from tailoring spreaders to customer's crops

  • “The tool we’ve developed through the project will be used to drive the design process and improve the company’s products,” Mr Gobbett said.
  • Mr Roesner added that they are planning to produce a simple report that will be made available to their clients, so that they can also understand how the tool works. “We will be able to interact better with our clients. We will be able to provide details on how the spreader is impacting on their crops, and then tailor our products in ways that meet their unique needs.”
  • Mr Robertson added that the project will have a positive impact on agriculture: “By helping Roesner innovate with their products, we are improving farming productivity in Australia.”

This project was supported by the Enterprise Connect Researchers in Business program, which was an Australian Government initiative which provided funding to support the placement of researchers directly into businesses to help them develop and implement new commercial ideas.

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