17 November 1995

Maize tackle market grows with the crop

TOTAL area of maize grown in the UK now exceeds 40,000ha (100,000 acres) and is rising by about 20% a year. Earlier maturing and more temperature tolerant varieties now mean the crop can be grown further north than ever before, writes Andy Collings.

Hand in hand with such an expansion has been the development of machinery, most aimed at the contractor, such as big self-propelled forage harvesters and drills.

Looking to take a slice of the drill market is Amazone, which is set to introduce its ED range of maize drills offering tractor-mounted four-, six- and eight-row versions.

A combined fertiliser and seeder drill, the seeding units are mounted on a tool bar at the rear of the 0.5t capacity fertiliser hopper using a parallel linkage to ensure they always remain at the same angle to the ground. Row width can be adjusted by loosening clamp bolts and sliding the units along the tool bar.

The seeding mechanism uses a suction system. Seed is sucked into holes on the circumference of a rotating polyethylene plate and released when the suction is broken at the lower point of its rotation. A series of colour-coded plates allows the drill to be used to sow other seed types, such as sunflower, beans and peas.

Seed space adjustment, from 4.1-26.9cm (1.6-10.6in), is either controlled mechanically through a 36-ratio gearbox or, as an option, by an infinitely variable hydraulic drive. Sowing depth is controlled by an adjustable rear-mounted depth wheel on each unit.

Fertiliser on the four-row model is metered conventionally to each coulter but on the hydraulically folding six- and eight-row models the outer seeder units are fed pneumatically. Air is supplied from a second fan on the same shaft as the vacuum fan. Application rate is controlled by an infinitely-variable-speed gearbox.

Price of the four-row ED 301 starts at £7000, while the full-spec six-row ED451-K carries a list price of £14,750. &#42

Both seed and fertiliser row widths are adjustable on Amazones ED range of maize drills. Four-, six- and eight-row versions of the drill are available.