Day 9 Thursday March 8, 2012 – Cruz Alta
We visited two local Cruz Alta factories, Favot and Pierobon in the morning. Roberto Peiretti and his son-in law hosted us at both locations and obviously had a close working relationship with them.
Favot is a family owned business with both father and son involved in the company. They are essentially a sprayer manufacturer with self-propelled, trailed and 3PL models. They have been involved in engineering for a considerable time and were well established in the town. Whilst we had a look at their manufacturing facilities and even went for a ride in a contractors machine, the most exciting time was spent looking at the manufacture, studying the drawings and talking about a new prototype self propelled sprayer. This new machine had a quite revolutionary design which would reduce the weight of the chassis to nearly half its predecessor.
We then visited the Pierobon seeder manufacturer plants. Again this is a family owned business which was established in 1958 by a local blacksmith, Jose Pierobon. They make double and single disc planting units. These were of high quality manufacture, and featured a number of units unique to the brand – easy end-tow, dual phasing rams on each travel wheel for self levelling whilst planting, simple unit lock-up mechanisms, crimped double disc unit allowing less relief angle of the discs and internal hub for the bearing system, double disc design which enabled a longer contact length between discs and better slot shape maintenance, front bar side shift capacity, a rotatable coulter depth adjustment to account for disc wear being amongst these features.
Lunch was held in Cruz Alta at a local restaurant. The food and hospitality was again exemplary. As Cruz Alta was a town which still had a “siesta” time we returned to our motel and were picked up at 4pm to go to Roberto Peiretti’s farm, 15km from town. He remarked along the way that whilst he had carted hundreds of thousands of tons of grain over the years from his 5000ha family owned farm, he still had to endure unsealed and poorly maintained roads. He also paused at a photo point which he had been monitoring over the years for the impact of no-till farming systems – a point in a field which had been severely eroded under conventional tillage systems, had been restored and was gainfully producing crops again.
Upon arrival at their farm which had recently reduced its workforce from 22 staff back to 11, we were shown through their machinery shed which again was tightly packed with tractors (15 mainly locally produced cheaper 2 wheel drive tractors for chaser bins), 2 new class 8 Case IH headers, 2 new Pierobon seeders (he believed in investing in technology which made him money rather than technology that just looks good), numerous groupers and (surprisingly) a single Metalfor self propelled sprayer.
We then ventured down the paddock where we inspected some early sown and later sown (uncommon) maize. He explained that it was all about risk management – spreading the planting time was enabling him to potentially miss any stressful time at silking-tasseling synchronisation. We also were able to dig the soil and found our first Argentinean worms, much to John’s delight.
We again endured another traditional Argentinean “asado” BBQ dinner late into the night discussing amongst many other things, Roberto’s forthcoming trip to Australia to present at the annual VNTFA and CANFA Conservation Agriculture Conferences in July 2012 at Ballarat and Griffith respectively and then potentially at the Forbes Grains Conference in August.