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Agricultural aviation business expands to South Canterbury

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John Bisset/staff

New Super Air aircraft hangar under construction at Richard Pearce Airport in Timaru.

The North Island-based top dressing company’s continued expansion to the South Island has landed in Timaru.

Super Air has been operating out of South Canterbury for several months and is currently building a new hangar at Richard Pearce Airport that can accommodate two aircraft.

“Timaru fits in nicely with our other (South Island) bases in Goa and North Canterbury, allowing local teams to help each other when needed,” said Superair general manager John Elliott. said.

“We have four aircraft on the South Island and 16 aircraft on the North Island.

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“We are moving our aircraft around so that we can meet the needs of all our customers in a timely manner.”

The company’s Timaru business supports loading equipment, centered around one AirTractor 602 aircraft, the largest capacity aircraft in New Zealand.

Until 18 months ago, Super Air was a purely North Island-based topdressing company, Elliot said, but decided to move to the South Island after receiving increasing calls from South Island farmers wanting to use the SpreadSmart system. Decided.

“In short, SpreadSmart starts by using artificial intelligence (AI) to map a farmer’s property to get a highly accurate spreadable area, stripped of all non-productive areas.

A new hangar under construction at Richard Pearce Airport in Timaru will house Super Air's top-dressing aircraft.

John Bisset/staff

A new hangar under construction at Richard Pearce Airport in Timaru will house Super Air’s top-dressing aircraft.

“This initial mapping creates a spreadable area that is on average 11% smaller than traditional top dressing, allowing farmers to relocate or not apply 11% of the fertilizer they apply. Farmers choose to relocate. Their farms are also mapped with slope, elevation and slope direction.”

All aircraft are equipped with computer-controlled hydraulics, which eliminates the need for manual fertilization decisions by the pilot, Elliott said, providing more accurate and consistent application and application than pilots operating seeding levers. , which allows variable amounts of spraying. He said, “Depending on the farming system, he could generate a profit of $99 per hectare per application.”

Elliott said he also realized that “large areas of the SI need to be ‘unlocked’ with lime because of the low PH.”

“When it comes to limes, costs can be high, and for farmers it’s all about sourcing the best limes at the best prices landed on the farm.

“The role to play here is to have a high-capacity aircraft.

“A typical top dressing machine in the South Island can carry 1-2 tons per load. Our aircraft based in Timaru can carry just under 3 tons of lime. , could change the economics of liming, and indeed pave the way for liming countries that were uneconomical to do so in smaller aircraft.”

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