25 December 1998

More rows a bed with new seed drill

BRITAINS sole precision seed drill maker, Stanhay Webb, continues to develop its Singulaire intensive seeding system for vegetable and salad crops. The latest version has slimmer hoppers and seeding unit chassis allowing each three-row unit to be spaced closer together.

"Previously, growers using the Singulaire could sow three rows at 50mm (2in) spacing with a 100mm (4in) gap between each set," explains Allan Marshall of Stanhay Webb. "With the High Density version, row spacing is equal all the way across, so growers can get extra rows per bed – which, with high value crops, makes a big difference to cropping density and output."

Standard configuration is six units on a toolbar sowing 18 lines in all.

Stanhay has also developed tramline and seed rate kits for its Rallye sugar beet drill.

"Im not convinced that tramlining will take off in a big way for sugar beet – it can be quite complicated to put an integrated system together," says Mr Marshall. "But at least we can offer the facility for those who want to try it."

Continental competitors Kverneland-Accord and Kleine have gone for high-tech systems with electric motor drive to each seeding unit. Stanhay prefers a simpler (but less versatile) approach with electrically operated wrap clutches in the main drive shaft. An electronic control box, developed in-house by the Exning, Newmarket-based company, enables the required tramlining sequence to be programmed and regulated automatically.

The equipment can be fitted to Rallye drills already in use, provided they are no more than about five years old.

The same clutch design is used to switch between two different seed rates – giving an easy way of drilling at a higher rate on headlands, for example.