WORLD MARKET LEADERS IN OPE BATTERY PRODUCTS Print Post Approved PP 100002231 www.power-equipment.com.au INSIDE Disaster Management Personalisation equals Profits Election 22 - the end is in sight Volume 43 No. 3 May - June 2022
THE WORLD’S FIRST FUEL INJECTED CHAINSAW ƒ PRESSURE AND TEMPERATURE SENSOR Weight and displacement optimised flywheel Find out more The STIHL injection technology enables the MS 500i to achieve extremely high performance with extraordinarily low displacement and weight – that’s market leading innovation.
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www.jakmax.com.au firstname.lastname@example.org P: 1800 604 281 F: 1800 199 758 taking the wor ld by st orm Archer Australia l Sold in 88 countries by 76 Archer distributors l 110 Employees - 10 QC staff, 6 engineers l 6000m2 Purpose built factory l 5000m2 Warehouse facility 100% Austral ian owned! l UL & ISO endorsed and audited l Precision engineered by qualified USA engineers l Premium German nickel alloy steel l Fully computer controlled manufacturing plant Archer AUSTRALIA Saw Chain
REGULAR FEATURES COVER SPECIAL FEATURES WORLD MARKET LEADERS IN OPE BATTERY PRODUCTS Print Post Approved PP 100002231 www.power-equipment.com.au INSIDE Disaster Management Personalisation equals Profits Election 22 - the end is in sight Volume 43 No. 3 May - June 2022 TheGREENWORKS® new42” zero turnmower is tough, compact, reliable and fully compatible with the entire 60V Gen II Pro range, making those larger lawns and gardens easier to tackle. Mow, blow, trimandcutwiththe interchangeable lithium-ion batteries and drop the decibels and emissions to levels that keeps everyone happy. JAK Max - your complete forestry parts supplier TOLL FREE email@example.com P: 1800 604 281 www.jakmax.com.au F: 1800 199 758 ARCHER’FY your dealership today! l Display stands l Ready to hang accessories l Easy to read packaging Become a JAK Max dealer today to gain access to our growing range of products across the chainsaw, lawnmower, brushcutter and finished units sectors. Exclusive to JAK Max Editor’s Column................................................... 6 News........................................................................ 7 Research & Development................................. 11 Operator Profile.................................................. 12 Computer Guru.................................................. 20 Marketing............................................................. 22 Tech Talk.............................................................. 27 Product Review................................................... 30 New Products...................................................... 32 Diary Dates.......................................................... 34 Get, set, go... lawnmowers on the racing track...................... 16 Kubota pumps up family business. ................. 24 Opinion - Election '22....................................... 28 MAY - JUNE 2022 | POWER EQUIPMENT AUSTRALASIA | 5
EDITOR’S COLUMN Welcome to the May/June issue. 2022 is fast evolving into a year of epic climate and manmade disasters. The sabre rattling I had mentioned in the April/May edition has turned out to be a cruel war. It’s heartbreaking to witness the atrocities that the citizens of Ukraine are experiencing. In the 21st century, whatever the political intent, behaving like marauders is avaricious, evil and unacceptable. We are already starting to experience the impact of this war on industry and trade, with the most recent inflation figures sitting at 5 per cent. I understand components were made in Ukraine for the European car industry, which has also negatively impacted production and supply globally. Russian timber imports are sanctioned in Australia (rightly so), which contributes to our ever increasing supply chain issue across all commodities and industries. Ukraine being the food bowl of Europe will shift food production to other nations which include Australia. I can’t help but feel the benefit to our farmers who need a break after all they have been through comes at a cost. On a positive note, I was honoured with an invitation to attend STIHL’s 50th anniversary celebrations in Melbourne. There are very few global family-owned companies that have reached thepenetration, stature and reputation of supplying quality product with a strong push to sustainability. I am especially impressed with STIHL’s introduction of BioPlus fuel (page 32) for their chainsaws. We at Glenvale Publishing wish Larry Blamer a well-deserved retirement and thank him for his support and recognise that he was instrumental in reviving the partnership with P.E.A following a two-year hiatus. We trust you will enjoy being back home in the US with your warm welcoming community. As we wish Larry goodbye, we have the pleasure of welcoming Wendelin Ganter – Director Sales Asia, Pacific, Middle East in his secondment as Managing Director, in an interim capacity. We also extend our condolences to the STIHL family on the passing of Eva Mayr-Stihl, whom we have honoured on page 7. This incredible lady made a difference and lived a “well lived” life. Rest in Peace. On our home front, the repeated flooding of towns up north is catastrophic following through from the bush fires before. To exacerbate the situation further, it is disappointing to hear proper disaster management and assistance is severely lacking. Refer to page 21 to read the article ‘Before disaster strikes’. In Research & Development on page11, we showcase a small pocket-sized portable generator - this stick-like water-based device can convert movement into energy and I can see this being part of disaster kits. On pages 30-31, Aussie Pumps’ product review of their new lightweight portable fire pump is another handy edition to the ever-increasing disaster kit. Most importantly, read in News on page 9 regarding the mandating of rapid shutdown of solar systems during disasters. We move on to the management of large gardens in a short-term accommodation setup by John Power on pages 12 -14. Tree maintenance on pages 18-19 on pruning and disease management focuses on plant health to build resilience into root stock which is so much better than using pesticides. Page 20 showcases Parklands’ latest ride-on and Stephen Fairbrother’s advice on keeping data safe and cost effective. Jo Katsos once again delivers best business practice advice on personalisation on pages 22 & 23. In Events on page 26, we congratulate Brad De Losa on winning the Australian trophy in Timbersports. On page 27, Eaton celebrates 50 years of Mlocker differential productionwhich utilizes a self-contained automatic engagement mechanism. Gary Fooks writes on Election 2022 on pages 24&25. Alex Pedemont caters to farmers to suit a varietyof agribusinessneeds on pages 24 & 25. Jackie Joy writes about the lawnmower races organised by the Western Australian Mower Racing Association on pages 16-17. This is my seventh year as editor and I thought it best to renewmy headshot as one needs to present honestly with the passing of time. All the best for now. Elaine Sharman Editor Glenvale Publications and Power Equipment Australasia are pleased to provide the articles contained in this publication to keep its subscribers up to date on issues which may be relevant to their businesses. This publication is supplied strictly on the condition that Glenvale Publications and Power Equipment Australasia, its employees, agents, authors, editors and consultants are not responsible for any deficiency, error, omission or mistake contained in this publication, and Glenvale Publications and Power Equipment Australasia, its employees, agents, authors, editors and consultants hereby expressly disclaim all liability of whatsoever nature to any person who may rely on the contents of this publication in whole or part. Published by GLENVALE PUBLICATIONS A.B.N. 31 218 591 688 11 Rushdale St, Knoxfield VIC 3180 PO Box 50, Mount Waverley VIC 3149 Phone: (03) 9544 2233 Fax: (03) 9543 1150 Editor: Elaine Sharman Phone: 0411 550 808 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Sub Editor: Jackie Joy Journalists: Jackie Joy John Power Gary Fooks ADVERTISING Alastair Bryers Email: email@example.com Mobile: 0498 555 085 Elaine Sharman Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Mobile: 0411 550 808 ACCOUNTS Melissa Graydon Email: email@example.com SUBSCRIPTIONS Melissa Graydon $60.50 – 6 issues firstname.lastname@example.org ART, PRODUCTION AND ONLINE COMMUNICATIONS Justin Carroll PageSet Australia Phone: (03) 9544 2233 PRINTING Southern Impact Pty Ltd 181 Forster Road,Mount Waverley VIC 3149 Phone: (03) 8796 7000
Are you a small engine mechanic looking for a change of scenery? We are looking for an experienced small engine mechanic to join our team. $50,000 to $60,000 per annum (experience dependant) + super + Overtime hours for Saturday mornings when needed 8.30 to 5.30 Monday to Friday plus some Saturday mornings 8.30 to 12.30 (3 hours=time and a half and 1 hour=double time) 12 RDO’s per annum. 4 weeks paid holidays with leave loading Happy go lucky atmosphere Established business, open over 25 years Advantages to applicants will be physically fit and keen to work. Experience with Toro and MTD ride on mowers Ability to provide customer service including answering phones and some sales. Competent computer skills and or experience with Biscount software POSITION VACANT Discretion will be given to all applicants Please email applications with a cover letter to email@example.com Central West Mowers Job Ad.indd 1 26/4/22 4:42 pm REMEMBERING EVA MAYR-STIHL Well-known businesswoman and philanthropist, EvaMayr-Stihl passed awayonApril 9, 2022.Mayr-Stihlwas adedicated entrepreneurwhowas instrumental in the success of STIHL and spent 33 years guiding the family-ownedbusiness as amember of its senior management team. Throughout her many years of service on the Advisory Board and the Supervisory Board, she kept close watch over the strategic direction of the company. Mayr-Stihl joined her father’s company in 1960. With her educational background in business administration and linguistics, she took on responsibility for advertising and market research at the family-owned enterprise. Her expertise and drive to assume a leading role at the company quickly bore fruit, when she and her four siblings were made limited partners in 1961. Two years later, her father gave her the power to represent the firm and enter into transactions on its behalf. After her father’s death in 1973, Mayr-Stihl became deputy chairwoman of the board of management, placing her in charge of finance and controlling starting in 1975. When she joined STIHL, the outfit employed 740 people and generated an annual revenue of EUR 12.8 million. Under her leadership, she and her brother Hans Peter Stihl helped the family-run business evolve into an international group of companies with a steadily expanding product line and production sites in Germany, the United States, Brazil, Switzerland, Austria, China, and the Philippines. In 2002, Mayr-Stihl and the family shareholders withdrew from the concern’s business operations. Following the appointment of an Executive Board outside the control of the family, she joined the STIHL Advisory Board. During her time at the helm, Mayr-Stihl focused her attention on monitoring the company’s finances. Hans Peter Stihl described his sister’s role on STIHL senior management team as “the voice of reason” who provided “a necessary sense of balance”: “Whenever I had too high-flying plans for investment, which would happen occasionally, she would bring me back down to earth.” Stihl’s time-consuming commitment to various German business associations would hardly have been possible without his sister, who wouldoftenstep inforhimandtakeonadditional duties at the company. The two shared an office for many years, helping forge a deep bond. The second mainstay in Mayr-Stihl’s life was her work as a philanthropist. In 1986, she and her husband Robert Mayr established the Andreas Stihl Foundation, a non-profit organization that would be renamed the Eva Mayr-Stihl Foundation in 2004. The foundation OUR FRONT COVER SHOWS… GREENWORKS® is an innovative global leader in battery powered outdoor equipment for DIY consumers and landscaping professionals. A well-known brand throughout the USA and Europe, Greenworks has made its way to Australia. Greenworks equipment delivers true performance in every voltage range – from 24 volt and 40 volt products for the everyday household all the way up to the professional 60 volt Gen II Pro range, Greenworks has you covered. Greenworks’ innovation, quality and product range is what makes it stand out from all its competitors. With products like garden carts, dethatchers, pressure washers, ride-ons/zero turns, side-by-sides/UTVs as well as your push lawnmowers and outdoor power equipment handheld products, Greenworks is the OPE lithium battery brand for your store. Greenworks - Get the job done faster, easier and quieter. MORE INFORMATION JAKMax www.greenworksaustralia.com WORLD MARKET LEADERS IN OPE BATTERY PRODUCTS Print Post Approved PP 100002231 www.power-equipment.com.au INSIDE Disaster Management Personalisation equals Profits Election 22 - the end is in sight Volume 43 No. 3 May - June 2022 OUR FRONT COVER SHOWS… NEWS MAY - JUNE 2022 | POWER EQUIPMENT AUSTRALASIA | 7
was set up to finance projects in the fields of animal welfare, education, science, research, the arts, and culture. Today, the institution supports a variety of programs, including an endowed professorship for forest genetics at the University of Freiburg and a research group on recyclable material cycles. On November 11, 2009, Mayr-Stihl received the Konrad Adenauer Foundation’s Social Market Economy Award at St. Paul’s church in Frankfurt am Main. In 2011, she received the 1st Class Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany and became the first woman to receive the key to the city of Waiblingen. In 2019, Mayr-Stihl was named an Honorary Senator of the University of Freiburg. The people of STIHL and their families aredeeply saddenedbythedeathofMayr-Stihl. DELIVERING AUSTRALIA’S AGRIFOOD INNOVATION TO THE WORLD When the AgriFutures growAG program and platform (growag.com) were launched by the Minister for Agriculture and Northern Australia, David Littleproud in April last year, the goal for the first-of-itskind innovation gateway was to connect users from around the globe to Australia’s agrifood innovation. Delivering on what it was set out to do, the bespoke website showcases Australian agrifood innovation research projects, organisations, research, investment and commercialisation opportunities online in one, easy to use location. It is supported by a unique concierge system to enhance connections and drive relationships and partnerships. growAG has been embraced by local and global agrifood communities with more than 39,000 users from across 167 countries visiting growag.comsince its launch. growAG. is a joint initiative by the 15 Research and Development Corporations (RDCs) and the Australian Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment (DAWE). Mr Littleproud said growag.com was developed as a shared vision to showcase Australia’s leading agricultural research, unique technologies, and commercialisation opportunities to drive investment, collaboration, and partnerships in a transparent manner. “This is an online window to showcase Aussie agricultural innovation and the results are showing for themselves how many countries across the world are interested,” Mr Littleproud said. “It also provides information to farmers the latest researchbeingdevelopedby the rural Research and Development Corporations including building a database for pollination dependency data, assessing a potential new source of resistance in tall wheat grass for Fusarium crown rot and regional specific GHG emissions mitigation practices in the red meat industry.” Since launching in April 2021, there has been more than 2,500 research projects and 100 commercial opportunities listed on growAG, and over 442 connections made. One in three visits to the platform have been international, from countries including the UnitedStates,NewZealand, India, theUnited Kingdom, China, Singapore, Germany, Canada, and Ireland, while the balance has been from local users. The transparency, accessibility and connections afforded by the platform are translating to meaningful discussions and partnerships. AgriFutures Australia’s Managing Director, John Harvey said the reach that growAG has achieved over the past 11 months is reflective of its capacity to bring together world-leading thinking, investment, and collaboration to drive innovation and prosperity acrossAustralia’s primary industries. The sole purpose of the growAG program is to help drive global collaboration and link researchers, investors, and commercial partners to our innovation. “Australian farmers and value chain stakeholders help to fund some of the most innovative agricultural research in the world and we should be very proud of our position as a global leader,” Mr Harvey said. “However, for this work to translate to real and tangible gains in efficiency, sustainability and profitability, capital and investment is required to commercialise the enormous amount of activity being undertaken across the agriculture, fisheries, and forestry sectors. “Over the course of the past year, growAG has laid its foundation as a global marketplace for agrifood innovation having attracted researchers, entrepreneurs, startups, scaleups, SMEs, corporates, investors, incubators and accelerators, industry bodies, agronomists, and farmers from 167 countries. We have also seen users growmonth-on-month. “This is a resource that does not exist anywhere else in theworld, andwe are looking forward to continuing to see the information being shared and the connections being made leading to on-the-ground benefits for Australian farmers and agrifood businesses.” If you have a research project, commercialisationopportunity or anorganisation you would like listed on growag.com, please visit growag.com/submit. ACTS OF APPLYING SULPHATE OF AMMONIA FERTILISER WITH LIME Do Western Australian grain growers risk decreasing the nitrogen use efficiency of their soil when they apply sulphate of ammonia fertiliser in close succession with lime? This is the burning question researchers from The University of Western Australia and Murdoch University aim to answer through a new Grains Research and Development Corporation project. Led by the UWA School of Agriculture and Environment Associate Professor Louise Barton, the research team includes UWA scientists Professor Zed Rengel, Dr Fiona Dempster, Paul Damon and Associate Professor Matthias Leopold, as well as Murdoch University Professor Daniel Murphy. Associate Professor Barton said WA grain growers wanted to improve their understanding of the interactions between sulphate of ammonia and lime. “The results of this study will directly respond to growing concerns that applying sulphate of ammonia to soil recently top-dressed with lime may promote loss of nitrogen gases and decrease nitrogen use efficiency,” Associate Professor Barton said. The project will provide new and quantitative data for WA growers to help with their decisions regarding the use of nitrogen fertilisers. The collaborative project will be carried out in two phases over 13months. In the first stage, the research team will complete a scientific review and agricultural consultant survey to compile the latest information about the impact of sulphate of ammonia and lime on nitrogen gases and crop yield and the extent to which this may be occurring inWA grain growing regions. NEWS 8 | POWER EQUIPMENT AUSTRALASIA | MAY - JUNE 2022
Secondly, a series of glasshouse studies will investigate the short and medium-term interactions between soil type, liming, and applicationof sulphate of ammonia ongaseous nitrogen losses, crop growth and grain yield. The multidisciplinary team includes members of the SoilsWest alliance, the UWA Institute of Agriculture and UWA Centre for Agricultural Economics andDevelopment. “A key strength is our combined experience in the design and delivery of field and glasshouse studies focussing on soil nitrogen cycling, nitrogen fertility and management of grains,” Associate Professor Barton said. “Additionally, members of our team have the proven ability to conduct industry surveys, more than 25 years’ experience measuring soil gaseous nitrogen emissions and extensive knowledge of WA cropping soils.” RAPID SHUTDOWN FOR SOLAR SYSTEMS DURING AN EMERGENCY NEEDED The flooding of thousands of homes on the East Coast has highlighted the need for Australia tomandate rapid shutdown technology on solar photovoltaic (PV) systems, warns industry group Safer Solar. With solar panels installed on one in four Australian homes, many systems lack a quick and easy way to shut down solar panels in the event of a fault or emergency, creating a serious safety threat for homeowners, first responders and tradespeople. Solar panels that were not shut off before the floods may begin generating electricity when the sun shines, potentially without the safety systems designed to protect people from uncontrolled high-voltage electrical currents. More than 90 per cent of rooftop solar PV systems installed in Australia include high voltage Direct Current (DC) wiring that is live whenever the sun is shining. This 600-1000-volt current, which cannot be shut off during daylight, can jump a 100mm gap between a system component and any earthed conductive material. Any break in wiring insulation or weather sealing of components can allow an electrical arc to form. Approaching 1000 degrees Celsius, this arc is hot enough to ignite fires - and does so more than twice every day in Australia. It can also deliver a lethal electric shock. This riskwas highlightedwhen a family in FarNorthNSWtied tent ropes to solar panels on their roof while awaiting rescue from the floods. If the sunhad come outwhile theywere on the roof, they faced the risk of a damaged solar panel or inverter causing a live electrical current to run through the roof. Safer Solar (safesolar.com.au) is an Australian solar industry-supported initiative to highlight the need for safer solar energy management systems that can: • Q uickly and easily shut down solar PV systems in the event of fire, flood or other disasters • I solate individual solar panels that fail to meet safety standards through remote management • M onitor solar panels remotely for problems to enable quicker post-flood recovery. Safer Solar member Enphase Energy Australia estimates that approximately 700,000 houses equipped with solar panels were in areas hit by the East Coast flooding, nearly half the total number of solar-equipped homes inNSWandQueensland. Wilf Johnston, General Manager ANZ, Enphase Energy said Australia lagged behind many other countries in mandating safer solar technologies such as rapid shutdown of solar systems. “Rapid shutdown is already mandated in the US so solar panels can be made to stop producing energy in the event of a disaster like fire, flood or tornado,” he said. “Even developing countries such as Thailand and the Philippines now mandate rapid shutdown systems. The risk in Australia is increased by the fact that many solar systems are now 10 or more years old, adding a decade's wear-and-tear to outdated technology. Australia needs to mandate that replacements for these old systems and all new systems meet the highest safety standards - which includes rapid shutdown.” Master Electricians Australia and Tigo Energy are also Safer Solar stakeholders. Master Electricians CEO Malcolm Richards supported the call for better safety measures for rooftop solar, saying serious injury or death was inevitable but also preventable. “Household roof-top solar panels are not new inAustralia, but thankfully we have had only a handful of major floods since the solar boom began around 15 years ago,” he said. “What that means is that we’ve been lucky so far in avoiding any serious injury or death from live solar panels during an emergency. However, without urgent action, it canonly be amatter of time until we do face a tragedy. In any flood, Master Electricians always steps up to warn homeowners of the dangers of climbing on to a roof, even if the power has been switched off. In the short term, it would be helpful for governments to join that effort with an information campaign ahead of flood season.” Tigo Energy Senior APAC Director Jeff Routledge said rapid shutdown was just one of the benefits of the Module Level Power Electronics (MLPE) that distinguishes safer solar technology. “MLPE allows panel-level remote monitoring and management, which means quicker and safer restoration of solar energy to homes after disaster strikes,” he said. “We’vehadsignificantdisastersduring the past two years including hailstorms, bushfires and flooding. When these catastrophes occur, people need to decide on priorities, which is where remote monitoring pays off. It allows you to review the solar PV systems, audit their status and safety and prioritise what to do next - without having to send an electrician out on site.” NEW INSIGHTS INTO HOW WHEAT ROOTS RESPOND TO SALINITY Researchers from The University of Western Australia have unearthed newdata about how wheat root tips respond to salinity, which is an important first step towards improving salt tolerance. The study, published in the Journal of Proteomics, was led by UWA NEWS Research Officer Paul Damon and Associate Professor Louise Barton in a UWA glasshouse Wilf Johnston, General Manager ANZ, Enphase Energy MAY - JUNE 2022 | POWER EQUIPMENT AUSTRALASIA | 9
PhD student Bhagya Dissanayake from The ARC Centre of Excellence in Plant Energy Biology and co-authored by The UWA Institute of Agriculture and School of Molecular Science’s Dr Nicolas Taylor and fellow UWA researchers Dr Christiana Staudinger, Emeritus Professor Rana Munns and Professor Harvey Millar. Bread wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) contributes almost 20 per cent of total dietary requirements worldwide, making it the most significant cereal crop for human nutrition. Wheat production is impacted by salinity in many parts of the world, accounting for up to 60 per cent yield loss, which in turn leads to food insecurity. Roots are the first plant organ to perceive salt, and the stunting (decrease in the length of axile roots) of the wheat root system is understood to be caused by the root tips’ higher sensitivity to salinity. Ms Dissanayake said the metabolic reasons for selective root tip sensitivity was largely unknown. “Intensive efforts in breeding salt tolerant wheat varieties have resulted in only limited success, because salt tolerance is a highly complex process that involves specific morphological, physiological regulatory and metabolic processes,” she said. The study compared the profiles of mature root versus root tip proteomes (set of proteins) when exposed to salt stress conditions. Professor Millar said the data improved understanding of wheat root responses under salinity. “This is an important step for further investigation of molecular traits underpinning root characteristics, which will lead to improving salt tolerance of wheat,” he said. JOHN DEERE LEADER REFLECTS ON CAREER Being raised and encouraged by her mother to challenge traditional gender roles inspired Steph Gersekowski to pursue a career in agriculture with no limits, and on International Women’s Day (March 8) she reflected on the diversity of opportunities available to women in the sector. A strong advocate of women in business, particularly in rural and regional Australia, Ms Gersekowski is John Deere’s Australia and New Zealand Production System Manager, Small Ag and Turf, and believes seeing her parents jointly own and manage a beef and grain property on Queensland’s Darling Downs helped set the foundations for a successful career inwhat has traditionally been a male-dominated sector. “I think a large part of my mindset has come from watching my parents run and manage their farming operation as equal partners. Mum was, and still is, my original role model, she raised me to ask ‘why not?’ and really challenge those traditional gender imbalances,” Ms Gersekowski said. She has also been inspired by Australian businesswoman Shemara Wikramanayake, technology entrepreneurMelanie Perkins and social entrepreneur Ronni Kahn. “The other one I’ll call out is New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, who really challenged the traditional narrative about being a mum and what that used to mean for your career,” she said. “I also feel fortunate to work for a company that allows me to have a balance to enjoy being a mother while building a career in an industry I am passionate about.” Ms Gersekowski began her career at John Deere as a graduate, with her current position now seeing her play a critical role in connecting businesses and families across Australia with technology and innovation to grow prosperity — and she delights in the impact this has on rural and regional communities. “There was definitely a time between leaving school and applying for graduate positions where I questioned what a career in ag could look like studying a business degree, but when I saw the John Deere graduate program ad it was a light-bulb moment for me,” she said. “I knew it would be a perfect fit as the opportunity to work for a global company while staying connected to my roots in agriculture was basically my dream career.” “When I started in the Territory Account Manager role based out of Canberra, New South Wales was experiencing one of the worst droughts they had seen inmore than 10 years,” she said. “It was a really difficult time for many of our customers in the area and it taught me a lot about resilience and the importance of community. My role really centered around helping our dealers deliver solutions to support customers through these challenging times.” It was also during this time that she took extra steps to overcome the challenge of being a woman working in an industry that was “historically considered male-dominated”. “I definitely experienced more than a few raised eyebrows, but I didn’t let this deter me and worked hard to change this bias.” In 2020, Ms Gersekowski returned home to Queensland for her current role, which she said was an exciting and challenging one, where “every day is genuinely different”. Ms Gersekowski said her career had also led her to many other “exceptional women” who have provided invaluable support and mentoring, something she too strives to offer her peers. “As women, we need to make sure we’re supporting each other and raising each other up, and I’ve been really lucky throughout my career to have this kind of support,” she said. “I think International Women’s Day is an opportunity to put a focus collectively on the conversation around equality, across all aspects of work and life. NEWS Steph Gersekowski is John Deere’s Australia and New Zealand Production System Manager, Small Ag and Turf. Bhagya Dissanayake with wheat plants grown under fully controlled conditions in the plant growth facility. 10 | POWER EQUIPMENT AUSTRALASIA | MAY - JUNE 2022
Introducing Kubota’s Engine Owner’s App. Simply register your engine serial number to access operation manuals, maintenance intervals and dealer locations. Find out more at: engineownersapp.kubota.com.au Call now for your nearest dealer. 1300 582 582 | kubota.com.au KUBOTA ENGINE OWNER’S APP DOWNLOAD Portable generator powers small safety devices The compact, lightweight device generates electricity when shaken and can power 100 LEDs. A new stick-like, water-based device can convert energy from movement into electricity. The technology, which was reported in the journal Science and Technology of Advanced Materials, could be used to power portable devices, such as safety lights. With the growing interest in the internet of things and small electronics, there is high demand for portable energy sources. One way to produce power is to harvest energy from the environment, such as thermal, solar or mechanical energy. To capture mechanical energy – the power an object gets from its position and motion – scientists have developed triboelectric nanogenerators, which can produce electricity through friction. “Triboelectric nanogenerators are one of the most effective tools for harvesting mechanical energy because of their high electrical output, low cost and easy accessibility,” said Professor Sangmin Lee of Chungang University in the Republic of Korea. Triboelectric generators are electrically charged when two dissimilar materials touch and then separate. For example, when a balloon is rubbed on clothing, the balloon becomes charged and can stick to things. However, friction between two materials inevitably causes damage, reducing device lifespan. Using liquids can reduce friction, but liquid-based generators have a considerably lower electrical output than solid ones. There is also a trade-off between making the device large enough for the liquid to move and generate electricity, while also ensuring it is compact enough to be portable. To overcome these problems, researchers at Chung-ang University, together with colleagues in SouthKorea and the US, developed a lightweight, compact, water-based generator that can produce electrical power when shaken. The device has a simple stick-like design and consists of 10ml of water, a polymer cylinder and electrodes. The container’s polymer material is negatively charged. The water moves up and down when the device is shaken, acquiring a positive charge that is transferred to the electrodes to generate a high electrical output. “Because of its simple mechanism and design, this small and lightweight device could be used in everyday life. Electrical power can be produced simply by pouring water into the generator then giving it a shake,” explains Professor Lee. The researchers tested different designs, changing the size and ratio of the electrodes, the physical space between the electrodes and the amount of water in order to determine the optimal combination. They found that the portable stick generator could generate a high electrical output reaching 710 volts when it had adequate space for water movement and a high electrode area. The researchers showed that the generator can power 100 LED lights, meaning it could be used as a traffic safety light baton that illuminates when shaken. This study demonstrates the potential for triboelectric nanogenerators to be used for a wide range of everyday applications. RESEARCH & DEVELOPMENT The portable stick generator can be used to power a safety traffic light baton with 100 LEDs. MAY - JUNE 2022 | POWER EQUIPMENT AUSTRALASIA | 11
Thousands of Australian property owners now offer short-term accommodation to holidaymakers, enjoying the financial and social rewards of interacting with guests from around the world. However, keeping large gardens permanently presentable, safe, and welcoming requires commitment and skill. BARBARA ATKINSON, who, along with husband Colin, owns and operates Beauty Point Cottages in Tasmania, outlines some personal experiences of outdoor property management… OPERATOR: Beauty Point Cottages REPRESENTATIVES: Property Owners Barbara & Colin Atkinson LOCATION: Beauty Point, Tasmania CONTACT: www.beautypointcottages.com.au Eleven years ago, my husband Colin and I drove into the little village of Beauty Point in northern Tasmania. We were looking for a Bed and Breakfast business to purchase, as our small farm near Boggabri, New South Wales, was being swallowed up by the Whitehaven Mine across the road! Imagine our delight as we drove down the winding driveway to find a fountain set in a sweeping garden, with the entire estate abutting a blue river: the kanamaluka (Tamar) river. It seemed like paradise to us after 17 years of droughts and flooding rains on the mainland. We found self-contained cottages nestled into the old garden, with beautiful water views and king-size beds, a spa bath in one and an easy-access bathroom in the other. It was an easy decision to purchase Beauty Point Cottages and we quickly learned how best to spoil our guests! It didn’t take long to find the garden was very overgrown. Some 90% of the vegetation required 50% of it to be pruned. Luckily, Colin had taught Agriculture and Horticulture – including chainsaw use and maintenance– for 17 years at Gunnedah TAFE, and he had a STIHL MS 171 and a telescopic Ozito pruner PPE 750 (240v) ready to start. OPERATOR PROFILE Eleven years ago… 12 | POWER EQUIPMENT AUSTRALASIA | MAY - JUNE 2022
TIP Always make sure your chain is sharp, touching it up after every tankful. Learning to sharpen your saw yourself will save you a great deal of money. Search for a copy of the OREGON maintenance and safety manual for chainsaws. REGULAR MAINTENANCE There was a mulcher on the property, but we quickly learned that we needed one with a large maw capable of eating branched limbs; reducing every branch to a single stem quickly lost its novelty, and the mulcher was given to a grateful neighbour. A large garden requires a lot of maintenance. We practice ‘finger weeding’ (well, I do), which is laborious and time-consuming, but essential in an old garden full of treasures. The garden beds flow around the wide lawns down towards the river. The beds are edged, and the edges are whipper-snipped before the STIGA 48” cut rideon mower can begin its work. Finishing the job with a STIHL VG56 leaf blower is especially useful during autumn leaf fall. TIP If you have a large tree in the middle of a lawn, always make the garden bed around it extend to the drip line of the tree, even if it is only mulched – it will then look right in its setting. ESSENTIAL TOOLS Recently I received a battery-operated STANLEY Fat Max V20 pruning saw for my birthday, which Colin has been enjoying using! The hedges must be trimmed three times each year, which is easier with a battery-operated Ozito 2.0 AH hedge trimmer. Another essential tool for us is our Kärcher K3 pressure cleaner, which is invaluable for maintenance of buildings and paved areas. Always go back after finishing a job and make sure everything is neat and tidy. Colin Atkinson keeps the ornamental gardens in top condition aboard his ride-on mower. Garden maintenance is a never-ending task, involving occasional heavy work transforming fallen trees into firewood. Beauty Point Cottages, abutting Tamar River, Tasmania, features a heritage homestead and two self-contained cottages.
SAVE RECEIPTS As a husband-and-wife business we don’t have many power tools. But the ones we have are carefully chosen and well used. Imagine our horror to find one afternoon that everything in the garden shed marked ‘STIHL’ had been stolen. We were also very surprised to discover our insurance company processed the claim and had the replacement monies in our account by the end of the week! TIP Make sure you keep your receipts attached to your manuals because prompt sending of these details to your insurer equals prompt payout (if you have the right insurance company, of course!) PLANT SELECTION I read years ago in an ancient gardening book these words: “It’s not a sin to buy a plant – or one hundred plants – from a nursery…providing you take cuttings from the plant BEFORE you plant it. Inevitably the parent plant will die, but the cuttings will live… because it is in your water, your soil, and your microclimate and they will thrive.” This anecdote always encourages me when I go into the nursery! Also, when you go into your garden shed once a year to wash your second-hand pots clean, do NOT count them and multiply each by $10, as you will be shocked at how much money you spend on plants each year! MAINTENANCE At Beauty Point Cottages we do our own maintenance where possible, and harder repairs are taken to our local STIHL dealership at Exeter in Tasmania, which is where we purchase any new power and machinery tools. We feel it is very important that each guest feels (even if it’s just for a moment) that this is their very own place, so we are careful not to do any work or maintenance whilst guests are in. Also, the cottages are cleaned and maintained to a high standard, so guests feel they are the very first guests ever to stay in the cottage: quite a feat considering the cottages were built in 2002. This involves regular upgrading of furnishings, etc. One of our main costs this year has been insurance, which has increased by 100%. Overall, the trouble with a husband-and-wife businesses is… there is ONLY the husband and wife, so one needs to become clever at planning jobs and remember to take time off to go for coffee and cake or fish and chips on the beach, or … OPERATOR PROFILE HOLIDAY ACCOMMODATION: HANDY TIPS Editor’s Note Opening an estate to the public for short-term rental accommodation requires forethought, ongoing work, and plenty of multi-tasking. Consider some of the following points: • Even if guest bookings are episodic, properties and gardens need to be ‘ready’ all the time. • Minimise workloads by doing the ‘right thing and the right time’; i.e., operate noisy mulchers when properties are vacant, be ready to burn off as soon as weather conditions are ideal, etc. • Plant non-toxic vegetation if you intend to allowpets onto your property. • Remove low-hanging branches from mature trees to prevent injury to guests. • Place garden bed border ties or stakes on the inside of edges to prevent snagging on whipper snipper cords. • Leave plenty of space between garden beds for easy access by ride-on mowers or other heavy equipment. • Consider the need for autumn leaf collection and composting when planting deciduous trees; evergreen trees might be preferable near guttering, verandahs, or outdoor spas. Guests are free to enjoy the grounds and gardens for sightseeing, relaxing… or even playing bagpipes! Manicured gardens are an important backdrop to the well-maintained cottages. 14 | POWER EQUIPMENT AUSTRALASIA | MAY - JUNE 2022
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Get, set, go... lawnmowers on the racing track EVENTS Kicking up dust on the track with crowds cheering and the adrenaline pumping, the recently held lawnmower racing at Greenbushes inWA was an action-packed event all the way. Organised by the Western Australian Mower Racing Association (WAMRA), the lawnmower races were a big draw with participants coming in from across the state. “This is the second year that we have held the event in Greenbushes and we aim to make it an annual event,” said Joost de Caluwe, President, WAMRA. “We are a strong family-orientated organisation and our aim is to organise events that bring everyone together. Many of our members are FIFO workers and lawnmower racing has become very popular here,” said Mr de Caluwe. With their racing season running fromMarch to December, the Association perseveres to roll out races every three to four weeks. THE BEGINNING Mr de Caluwe informed that the first lawnmower race was held at the Boddington Rural Living Expo on March 2016 under the Australian Ride On Lawn Mower Racing Association (AROLMRA) flag. “This was organised by our first unofficial committee comprising BradHewton, Jeff Hewton, TiaMitchell, Loren Bryant, Tahnee & Tim Forbes, Mal & Tona Jewell, Nic Ellis & Robin Smart,” said Mr de Caluwe. “The Boddington Ride on Racing Mowers (BRRM) was formed in April 2016 and formally associated in June 2016. The first official race was held at the Boddington Rodeo Grounds on June 5, 2016. We raced in Boddington for one season and then started to get some traction with the club and ventured outside our town. “In 2018, we partnered up with the Western Australian Tractor Pulling Association (WAPTA) in Beverley to run our next championship season and we also changed our name in late 2018 to Western Australian Mower Racing Association (WAMRA). “We organised our first national event in 2018 with five mowers coming across from South Australia to race at Beverley.” CLASS REGULATIONS Currently, WAMRA has around 30 members that are active racers across six different classes: A-Class (modified mowers from 300CC up to 450CC) 4 stroke B-Class (modified mowers from 200CC up to 250CC) 4 stroke C- Class (modified mowers from 110CC up to 200CC) 4 stroke Standard / Standard Modified Junior (Competitors between the ages of 8 and 16 years) Ladies Class To provide all its members with accessible, safe and sustainable mower racing, WAMRA has listed the safety regulations on its website. Full of fun and thrilling action, lawnmower racing is picking up speed across the country. The team at Western Australian Mower Racing Association (WAMRA) share their journey this far with JACKIE JOY.
RACING IN TIMES OF COVID-19 According to Mr de Caluwe, organising the lawnmower races in times of COVID-19 has proved challenging. “It had been very hard to organise races because we didn’t have a permanent track and we were always looking for locations to race. This is how we ended up in Greenbushes with our first race held here in 2021,” informed Mr de Caluwe. “We have two members that live in Greenbushes and they are very active members within the local community. When they mentioned that they wanted to host the lawnmower racing in Greenbushes, they received a lot of support from the locals. “Our first event at Greenbushes was a great success and saw 300 spectators. As a committee, we decided to try to do this again in 2022. So we ended up at Greenbushes over the past Easter long weekend.” “This time we faced some challenges given the last wave of COVID and the restrictions placed by the WA government regarding gatherings and larger crowds. Our event was nearly cancelled but a couple weeks prior to the event, some of the rules changed.” The recent lawnmower races held at Greenbushes, said Mr de Caluwe, saw a surge in interest towards lawnmower racing with a crowd of around 500 to 600 spectators. “We now have a couple of members heading to Meningie in South Australia to compete on June 12,” said Mr de Caluwe who himself races in the B-class and has a 250cc Kawasaki engine in a modified Greenfields mower. For more information, log on to www.WAMRA.net. EVENTS MAY - JUNE 2022 | POWER EQUIPMENT AUSTRALASIA | 17
TREE MAINTENANCE For the Royal Botanic Garden’s horticulture and arboriculture teams, this time of year calls for an ‘autumn reboot’ to revive plants after the hot summer. “In Australia, we have summer dormancy due to heat and dryness,” says John Arnott, Horticulture Manager at the Gardens. “Autumn is the trigger for things to start to regrow and rehydrate,” he adds. From March through to May, moderate rainfall ensures plenty of moisture in the soil. This makes it a great time for tree maintenance, as STIHL’s resident garden expert Charlie Albone found out recently. TREE PRUNING There are a number of good reasons to prune in autumn. It’s a balance of safety, aesthetics and trying not to fight a tree’s natural instinct to grow. It comes down to removing the three D’s – dead, damaged and diseased. “For Australian trees, a lot of their active growing season takes place throughout autumn. It’s an ideal time to prune,” says Charlie Carroll, Arboriculture Manager at the Gardens. Canopy and weight reduction The Gardens undertake frequent thinning of eucalypts in autumn. This reduces fire risk, whilst canopy separation is a great way to manage possums by ‘breaking the bridges’ they use to scurry about. Weight reduction of limbs is also a major focus for the team, who take a preventative approach to tree management. Weight reduction of larger limbs can improve the structure of a tree and reduce the likelihood of limbs failing. Structural pruning With the dropping of leaves and debris in autumn, arborists and gardeners can get a good look at the structure of a tree. “We start by looking on a ground level and then our inspection level goes up as we ascend,” Mr Carroll says. “Or, we use different types of machinery to do other assessments depending on what we see on ground level.” Formative pruning With plenty of sunlight and soil moisture, autumn is a good time to plant and pot. With this comes the process of formative pruning. It’s a great way to set young trees up for future success. Plant selection is also key. “A sensible practice is establishing tree stock. Picking the right healthy stock from the get-go is key to developing good trees,” says Mr Arnott. Autumn is an important time in the management calendar of any garden, and it’s especially significant for the Royal Botanic Gardens Cranbourne in Victoria. Tree maintenance, pruning and disease management 18 | POWER EQUIPMENT AUSTRALASIA | MAY - JUNE 2022
TREE MAINTENANCE The Bonsai Technique Royal Botanic Gardens Cranbourne has a world-class reputation and this extends to their pruning methods. A prime example is the Seaside Garden. Lining the large body of still water are melaleuca trees, pruned using the Bonsai Technique. “An iconic element of the coast is the breeze and that prevailing wind that shapes and leans plants over because of the salt spray,” explains Mr Arnott. The technique begins as a formative prune, overseen by Nursery Team Leader Mandy Thomson. Mandy and the team plant seedlings at a 45 degree angle, then use secateurs to prune them to a couple of leaders, which encourages lateral growth. Dead-wooding Whendead-wooding, it’s tempting to get rid of everything, but that can give you a staged look. The trick is to find a happymedium, in line with the objectives of your garden. Mr Carroll says, “We try to address a balance between people’s safety, fire loading, ecological concerns, and then the aesthetic look of the tree.” DISEASE MANAGEMENT The management of pests and disease is key part of the Gardens’ operations. “We have quite stringent bio-security protocols that try to minimise the incursion of new pests and diseases,” says Mr Arnott. “Prevention is better than the cure.We focus on good hygiene practices. We have an acquisition policy that means we only buy from accredited nurseries. So it’s about the quality of plant material coming in, and monitoring.” Myrtle rust Outbreaks of Myrtle rust is an ongoing threat to plants in the Myrtle family. As such the gardens have a stringentmonitoring programwhere sentinel plants are regularly inspected. The gardeners are quick to jump on any incursions – especially when the weather is warm or humid. If it’s a small incursion, they’ll remove and bag it, then spray all myrtaceae in and around as a preventative. Monitoring is the key to ensuring any outbreaks are addressed swiftly, before they become a bigger issue. Armillaria Armillaria is a fungi that is very difficult to control because it moves from root system to root system. It can move around a metre a year if the conditions are right. In fact, armillaria is documented as the world’s largest living organism – making it the biggest threat Royal Botanic Gardens’ collections. “It’s a wicked dilemma because it rots wood but it’s also a parasite,” says Mr Arnott. “It has the capacity to kill woody plants and trees. We have incursions in and around the site which we’ve documented and mapped, so we know where it is. We’re running an interesting research project and trial to see if improving the general health of plant material can keep armillaria at bay. If the plant is healthy, it may have improved capacity to be resilient against armillaria infestation – the armillaria will be present in its system, but it won’t take over and kill it.” This process of building resilience into the tree stock is a revolutionary one, as many gardens around the world still rely on chemicals to treat armillaria. These are counter intuitive when you’re trying to build up soil biota, because they tend to kill all the organisms in the soil including the good ones. “You can also dig out root systems and remove all infected material, but for us that’s not practical at this scale.We’re hanging a lot onbuilding resilience in plants for a way of living with armillaria,” saysMr Arnott. GARDEN SYSTEMS AND PROCESSES Maintenance calendar The management calendar is key to the care of any garden collection. “There’s an overall program we run with an inventory of all the trees and tasks that need to be done. That’s the programmed work,” says Mr Carroll. “Then there’s always unprogrammed work – especially after storm events, there’s clean-up,” he adds. Treemanagement tools The horticulture, arboriculture and nursery teams at the Gardens use everything from secateurs, loppers and hand saws through to chainsaws of all varieties and sizes. The tools used by these professionals is shifting with the evolution of new technologies. “We’ve gone battery at the gardens almost exclusively, until we absolutely need something bigger in cases where we are doing removals or larger work,” says Mr Carroll. Not only is it easier on the body (reducing fatigue), but battery chainsaws don’t require a drop start, which is not ideal when they’re up a tree. “The STIHL MSA 161 T has changed my climbing life,” he says. Another key benefit is that they don’t spill fuel, which can erode climbing ropes. It is why, when a petrol saw is required, Mr Carroll likes to use STIHL BioPlus Chain and Bar Oil. “It’s biodegradable. So, if it spills, it’s a little gentler on the environment,” he says. When working from the ground, the team use STIHL pole pruners which allow for longer reach. To receive more professional autumn gardening tips from Charlie Albone’s visit to Royal Botanic Gardens Cranbourne, subscribe to the STIHL newsletter at https://newsletter.stihl.com/ au/en/stihl-newsletter MAY - JUNE 2022 | POWER EQUIPMENT AUSTRALASIA | 19