Pottinger has launched a versatile one-machine-does-all drill designed for sowing both cereals and maize.
The Aerosem Duplex is aimed at mid-sized farmers and contractors and should avoid the need to own more than one drill to get different crops in the ground.
Its capabilities also extend to cover crops, which can be sown at the same time as maize to save making a second pass.
The drills are bolted together at the firm’s factory in Bernburg, Germany, and are built with the core purpose of getting cereals in the ground, with the maize kit coming as an add-on.
Converting from cereals to maize mode is a fairly straightforward task that involves fitting slot formers and firming rollers. The Intelligent Distributor System (IDS) is controlled from the cab and adjusts tramline and crop wheel centres, but it can also be used to blank off coulters and make rate adjustment on the go.
Duplex is Pottinger’s double row maize drilling option that has been given a new metering unit designed in-house by Pottinger.
The system removes the need for the vacuum-type arrangement used by most other maize drill. Instead, using a finger metering unit located under the hopper, it picks out single seeds and drops them into the air stream.
The maize seed is planted in 12.5cm staggered rows with 75cm between the double rows to suit a standard maize header.
A stainless-steel firming roller immediately follows the coulter to prevent the seed being blown out of the channel and fertiliser is placed a coulter’s width apart from the seed to avoid crop scorching.
Individual pressure of 55kg per coulter should be achievable, says Pottinger, and each coulter section can move individually to follow lumps and hollows while planting the seed at a consistent depth. Travel speeds of 12-14kph are realistic, too.
A split three-way hopper allows the operator to place fertiliser in the 600kg centre section, flanked by two 300kg compartments for maize seed.
The drill can also be used to sow crops between the maize rows using the same hopper configuration. Recent trials of this system at Reaseheath College, Cheshire, have suggested that drilling a second crop at the same time has no negative affect on maize yields but has a big benefit for soil structure.
Aerosem 3002 ADD IDS on paper
- Width 3m
- Rows 24 rows at 12.5cm
- Hopper 1,250 litres
- Crops Cereals and maize
- Travel speed 12-14kph
- Cost £39,000
There’s currently no small seed metering system for crops such as oilseed rape, though it may be available as an option in the future.
Pottinger has developed a new 510mm disc to fit on the front of its flagship 3m to 9m Terrasem range.
The disc is not scalloped like a standard cutting disc, instead having a wavy profile angled straight in the direction of travel.
The idea is to loosen a 45mm wide strip of soil to a depth of about 60mm.
Each disc runs directly in front of the seeding coulters loosening the ground in the vicinity of the seed, rather than wasting diesel cultivating across the entire with of the drill.
According to Pottinger, this means that only 36% of the ground is moved on 12.5cm row spacings and 27% when working in 16.7cm rows.
The upshot of that is less diesel burnt and less horsepower required – the company claims it needs 15% less power to pull than the traditional disc system – but also fewer weed seeds disturbed.
The disc throws soil across the untouched ground between the coulters, which covers any weed seedlings that would otherwise compete with the planted seed.
Pottinger insists that it is a low disturbance machine rather than a strip till design, which means in theory you can still drill into ploughing, autumn cultivations or as a direct drill into untouched land.
Terrasems start at £64,200 for the three-metre and ramp up to Vaderstad territory for the C6 Wavedisc at £89,300, but pleasingly there’s no extra cost by picking the Wavedisc rather than a standard arrangement.