The sun was shining and there was plenty of new kit on show at this year’s Normac cultivation demonstrations held at Brettenham Manor Farm, Thetford, Norfolk last week. James Andrews was there

Biodrill coulter platform

Väderstad almost managed to sneak this new drill platform for its Topdown cultivator in under our radar.

Build by Väderstad’s UK arm, the frame attachment means seed from the Biodrill unit can be properly drilled, rather than broadcast on the surface. This means better seed to soil contact, which should be particularly useful when there are large amounts of straw on the surface. The coulters are also split into three rows with 25cm spacings to prevent material clogging up between them.

Although the frame is custom built, but the rest of the components look to have been raided from Väderstad’s parts bin. It fits on the back of a Topdown with no other modifications required and shouldn’t take any more power to pull either. The drill platform should be available as an option on next season’s machines.

 Vaderstad Biodrill platform

Re-engineered Tillerstar

A re-engineered version of George Moate’s one-pass cultivator, destoner and bed former was drawing in the crowds at Brettenham Manor Farm.

Built to turn a stubble into a finished bed in just one pass, the Tillerstar is said to do the same job as a separate bed former, bed tiller and destoner put together.

The new machines have had a few tweaks including simplifying the hydraulic drive to the separation rollers. Instead of using one motor for each roller, there are now two Sauer Danfoss units that drive two rollers each via a compact gearbox.

Prices start at £27,000 for the single bed machine and go up to £77,000 for the three-bed.

 George Moate Tillerstar

Citan 6000

Launched at the Cereals event a few months ago, Amazone’s Citan Solo 6000 drill was seen working for the first time at Normac.

Amazone says there is increasing demand for solo drills that separate cultivation operations from drilling. This is because a small tractor can pull a relatively wide machine at high speeds and there are significant fuel savings.

A 3,000-litre hopper means long runs between fill-ups and there is a lower link mounting system that transfers weight on to the back of the tractor to improve traction.

Electronic metering comes as standard and it is fitted with the firm’s Rotec plus disc coulters. Forward speeds of 20km/h are possible, and Amazone says a 6m machine can comfortably cover 80ha a day.

The firm was also demonstrating its new GPS drill switch which will automatically turn the seeding mechanism on and off at the headlands.

 Amazone Citan drill

Rotar spader with drill

The prize for the most aggressive cultivator drill at the event has to go to this rotary spading machine from Dutch maker Farmtec.

Churning up soil to a depth of 50cm, the Rotar spader unit can create a seed-bed out of any soil in almost any condition, says Gloucestershire-based importer Farm-well. This is followed by an Alpego powerharrow to further beat the soil into submission and an Accord Pneusej disc drill (Branded Kverneland in the UK) with front-mounted tank brings up the rear.

Power required to pull the 3m machine is about 150hp on light ground and 230hp on heavy soils. But despite the workload, the firm reckons it only costs £40/ha to establish a crop on light ground and £60/ha on the heaviest.

The 3m spader unit including the powerharrow costs £40,000 and the drill will set you back another £15,000 to £20,000. There are also 4m and 6m versions available.

 Farmtec Rotar spader

4m Versa Plus Drill

The 4m version of Sumo’s new Versaplus drill was also in the ground for the first time at Normac.

Designed to be as flexible as possible, different sections can be lifted out of the ground hydraulically.

Available in 3m, 4m and 6m widths, it has a row of trash-cutting front discs that cut a slot for the loosening legs that follow.

Further back are two sets of hydraulically adjustable scalloped discs and a row of press wheels.

Moore coulter assemblies are positioned at the back of the machine and can be lifted independently on hydraulic rams.

Cost of the 3m unit is £51,500, the 4m will set you back £67,500 and the 6m is £78,500.

 4m Versa Plus Drill

RW6 Plough

Designed for tractors up to 200hp, the new RW6 plough from Gregoire Besson was being demonstrated for the first time on the Ben Burgess stand.

Borrowing many of the fancy features from its bigger RW8 and RW9 siblings, the RW6 comes complete with suspended headstock, front furrow width adjustment, side-to-side levelling and a double-depth wheel. This also doubles up as a dual transport wheel for better stability.

Cost is £25,000 for the five-furrow machine.

RW6 Plough

Solo NS 2311

Bolstering the solo drill revival was KRM’s new Sola NS Plus 2311.

Claimed by KRM to be the only 6m folding double disc drill in the UK that’s three-point linkage mounted, it is capable of thundering along at 18kph.

The double disc coulters have one disc set slightly ahead of the other to prevent stones and trash getting trapped between them. There is also a steel seeder pipe that runs to the bottom of the disc meaning the seed is accurately placed.

The 6m machine comes with a 1,500- or 2,000-litre hopper and costs £35,195.

Solo NS 2311