You may already know about GPS-activated sprayer shut-off, whereby the nozzles are automatically switched off one-by-one as you hit the headland at an angle. But what about maize drill auto-shut-off?

That is about to become a possibility for Devon contractor Troy Stuart, who has been using the latest eight-row Accord Optima E-drive maize drill with electric drive. Instead of the usual land-wheel and chain-drive, which involves changing a cog if you want to alter seed rate (and can’t be done on the move), the Optima E has electric drive.

GPS

With this set-up Mr Stuart can change seed rate easily on the move just by pressing a button. And because the drill is ISOBUS-compatible it can use the tractor’s own monitor to display settings and performance.

The electric drive also means that each row can be switched off independently of the others. Using the GPS technology on the Deere tractor and drill software from Accord, it means that each row shuts off in turn automatically as it hits an angled headland. So no overlaps or gaps.

The electric drive adds about £6000 to the £21,000 cost of the Optima eight-row maize drill, but brings a degree of flexibility and precision that, says Mr Stuart, makes the extra cost more than worthwhile.