Based on the Yorke Peninsula and servicing clients across South Australia, Agbyte is centrally located in one of Australia’s premier cropping and wine regions.
A large portion of the nation’s quality wheat, barley and lentils are produced here as well as canola, chickpeas, faba beans, field peas and oaten hay. Throughout the Clare and Barossa valleys, some of the world’s finest wines are produced in rich clay loam soils. Average annual rainfall ranges from 350mm on the costal fringes of Yorke Peninsula to 750mm in the higher parts of the southern Barossa Valley.
Director and agronomist Leighton Wilksch has a long history of being involved in innovative agricultural practices. Growing up on a dryland cropping farm at Yeelanna on Eyre Peninsula, Leighton saw his father Max implement practices such as full stubble retention, pulse rotations and continuous min-till cropping many years before they became mainstream. Leighton’s brothers, Randall and Jordy, their wives Julie and Kylie and parents Max and Julie currently crop 3600 hectares between Yeelanna and Karkoo.
Leighton spent an enjoyable year attempting a bachelor of agricultural science at Adelaide Uni before deciding that his hands were better suited to more practical tasks and spent two years doing a vehicle body-building apprenticeship in Adelaide. An opportunity to take up a job with IAMA as a research agronomist at the start of 1999 saw him move to Paskeville on Yorke Peninsula. Leighton then spent 14 years researching leading agricultural products and practices by conducting a multitude of replicated plot trials for Landmark, spread across the state of South Australia. An advanced diploma in Ag business management was completed in 2012.
An opportunity to be involved in distributing soil moisture probes and other related technology saw Leighton form Agbyte in 2009. Leighton believes that using such tools to help quantify, interpret and log soil moisture data will be of great assistance in making water related management decisions in both dryland broadacre cropping and viticulture. In more recent years, Agbyte has moved into distributing automated weather stations to compliment the soil moisture probe offerings and has developed unique services based around weather data such as harvest Fire Danger Index alerting systems.
In conjunction to distributing sensing technology into the broadacre and viticulture markets, Leighton also offers innovative agronomic services based around increasing water use efficiency of crops. He also continues to provide contract services in the field of replicated plot trial work. His wife Meg and their children Indy, Layla and Maya live on a farm at Paskeville, Yorke Peninsula
Leighton is heavily involved in the farming systems group network in broadacre agriculture. He is executive officer and lead researcher of the Northern Sustainable Soils group on Northern Yorke Peninsula as well as being a member on the Ag Excellence Alliance committee www.agex.org.au