“We’re between Inglestone and Westmar in Queensland. My son is fifth-generation; we’ve been here since 1938.”
So says Phil Coggan on the family property, Enarra. It’s a sizeable operation, spread over 55,000 acres. Phil crops 30,000 acres and on the rest runs some 6,000 head of cattle, with a 1,000 head feedlot for ewes and 4,000 ewes overall. To top it off there are 650 to 700 breeders.
“We do all of our own earthworks and roadworks, much of the spraying, too,” he says. “Except when it’s wet and we get the big crop-dusters in. We do our own harvesting as well, apart from chopping silage. For us, it’s farming, planting and deep ripping.”
For such scale, a farmer is going to need machinery and plenty of it. Phil owns three Versatile tractors; ranging in horsepower, a DeltaTrack 620, a 570 HHT Scraper Special and a 320 FWA.
He bought the DeltaTrack initially, for deep ripping, and loves its CAT transmission and torque.
“Then we bought the 570 HHT for the dual Ashland scrapers,” he says. “I’d been having a few electronic issues with another tractor and the 570 hasn’t had those at all. Plus it gets power in the ground, whereas the John Deere and others derate heat in the lower gears with a loaded scraper. The Versatiles don’t do that – they just pull.”
He admits operating two buckets is challenging, but fine once the driver gets used to it. He also finds servicing a cinch because everything is accessible.
“There aren’t many spare minutes in the day,” says Phil. “So when I buy a tractor I want something that’s simple, doesn’t have too many electronics on it and is easy to service so we can do it ourselves. What we find with the Versatile machines is that we get the mechanics to come out from the dealership and do the 1,000 hours service and the rest we do ourselves.”
There are big plans at Enarra and Phil can see the Versatile 570 doing a heck of a lot more tough work. A new 1,500 mega-litre dam is on the agenda, likewise the repair of around 600 kilometres of contour banks which are coming up to being 20 years old. He uses the new Terra Cutta (GPS) software and reckons the scraper does “…a beautiful job.”
Naturally, with the kind of investment Phil makes in his farming machinery, a strong business relationship with those he is buying from is vital. In this regard, his words are unequivocal:
“Our dealer in Goondiwindi (SFM Machinery) is excellent; the best machinery dealer we’ve got.”