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HARDI RUBICON owner makes a splash for Wimmera charity

Broadacre farming and water skiing may seem like an odd combination, but for Wimmera grower Mark Gaulke they go together perfectly.

Mark crops approximately 2,000 hectares of land east of Dimboola and leases another property west of Nhill. He farms with his wife Anne-Marie and their three sons Jake, Zachary and Mitchell.

They predominately grow wheat, barley, canola, lentils, vetch hay and beans – direct drilling the loamy sand to loamy clay soil, with some cultivation to help keep weeds and snails down.

The family took delivery of a new HARDI RUBICON 900 about three months ago, to help make spraying their land more efficient. Mark didn’t seriously consider other sprayer brands, mainly

All the time savings bring him a range of benefits – and not just on the farm.

Mark is also an active member of the Dimboola Boat and Water Ski Club.

He was President in 2017, when the club was approached by Barefoot Australia and the South Australian Barefoot Club to hold a Barefoot Tournament in memory of Peter Taylor. Peter had represented Australia in barefoot events all over the world, but had passed away from cancer earlier that year.

The club decided to hold the Barefoot Water Ski Tournament and Night Jump spectacular along the Wimmera River at the Dimboola Recreational Reserve. The event attracted skiers from across

“I’ve found that the RUBICON is far more efficient and time saving than my previous trailing boom”

because of the excellent service and reliability he’s always had from HARDI and his local dealer - Wimmera Mallee Ag in Horsham.

“We were looking at the RUBICON for its large tank capacity of 9000 litres and its 48.5 metre boom,” he explains.

By combining its larger tank capacity with higher spraying speeds and a wider boom in front, the self-propelled machine lets Mark be much more efficient with the timing of his spraying. 

He’s also found it more comfortable to operate, with excellent boom ride and no need to twist his back and neck thanks to a commanding view over boom.

Even though he elected to install a familiar John Deere Green Star GPS on his RUBICON, Mark still had to master the move up from a trailed machine.

“One-on-one HARDI training days on my property enabled me to become confident with its operation very quickly,” he says.

Depending on the season and the variety of crop planted, the sprayer could go over the one paddock 4-7 times. So in total, Mark needs to cover approximately 12,500 hectares with the sprayer per year.

“There are only so many days you can spray,” Mark points out. With the RUBICON he’s able to cover a lot more ground on those opportunities arrive.

“I’ve found that the RUBICON is far more efficient and time saving than my previous trailing boom,” Mark says. “We operated our previous HARDI boom sprayer for about 600 hours a year and I’m predicting that this machine will operate for about 350 hours a year.”

Mark also reports faster machine maintenance, thanks to the RUBCION’s convenient self-greasing system and easily cleaned stainless steel tanks and lines.

Australia and raised funds for WACK (Wimmera against Cancer in Kids).

It was such a success that a second tournament was held in 2018, while Darren Bone was president, with proceeds going towards Rachel’s Wish (Wimmera Cancer Centre).

Both events featured a night auction of goods and services and, in 2018, a hugely popular fireworks display.

The event enjoys support from local businesses and the surrounding community, other local clubs, plus wonderful support from the Hindmarsh Shire Council and Wimmera Catchment Management Authority.  

To date the club has raised over $9,000 for local cancer charities and is planning its next event for March 2020. While the benefiting charity is yet to be finalised, the event will again include skiers from around the world, the auction, fireworks display and Night Jump Spectacular – with barefoot skiers ‘flying’ up to 26 metres under lights.

Mark Gaulke promises the event is “not to be missed”.

In the meantime, he has crops to protect – with the HARDI RUBICON helping him make more of his time on the land and on the water.