27 September 1996

Maize drilling crucial – maker

AS with most other crops, maximising forage maize yields and quality, requires a certain attention to detail – seed-bed preparation, accurate drilling, suitable amounts of fertiliser, correct weed control, and so on.

In short, it is a crop which, grown correctly, can produce high volumes of valuable forage or, in the worst scenario, be an abject failure.

According to drill maker Amazone, one of the key controlling issues lies in the drilling technique. The aim, says the company, should be for even germination, even plant spacing and a correct population target.

Last November, Amazone launched its ED range of maize drills (Machinery, Nov 17), which comprised individual seeder units attached to a tool bar at the rear of a fertiliser hopper. The range has now been increased to include an eight-row version and a power harrow/drill combination for the four-row model.

The eight-row, as with the existing six-row has hydraulically folding wing sections which, when in the transport position, reduce the overall width of the drill to 3m (9ft 9in).

The ability to work the four-row – the ED301 model – in combination with a power harrow is seen as a route to single-pass operations. A tyre packer to consolidate the ground is positioned beneath the fertiliser hopper.

As before, seeder units are designed to place seed at intervals of 4.1-26.9cm (1.6-10.6in) even when the drill is travelling at 5.6mph, says the company.

Recent DLG tests with the drill working at 5mph are claimed to have resulted in a drilling accuracy of 98% with less than 1.3% of doubles being placed and single gaps of 1.7%.

Seed rate is adjusted by altering gear ratios – the drive being taken from a land wheel.

Fertiliser is delivered to the seeders pneumatically and the coulters are designed to place it 5cm (2in) below and 5cm to one side of the seed, a feature which is said to be in line with current research on nutrient requirements.

Clearly aimed at the contractor market, the eight-row ED 601-K drill costs £30,000.

Eight-row maize drilling with Amazones ED 610-K drill. The outer wings fold hydraulically to create a 3m (9ft 9in) transport width. Inset: Seed is sucked on to the holes of the green plastic disc which turns and deposits the seed at intervals out of the bottom of the unit when the suction is released.