29 March 1996

Nordstens all ready for precise farming

By Peter Hill

IMPLEMENT manufacturers are preparing for satellite-guided precision farming techniques. The latest Nordsten seed drills, for example, are geared up to deliver variable seed rates.

"We think there is a big future in precision farming technology," says Mervyn Hutton of Nordsten importer Lemken Tri-Ag. "But, before they get too deeply involved, many farmers want to know that suitable equipment is or will be available."

So, instead of the new Vario-Exact stepless gearbox being introduced with the NS2000 and NS3000 drills, buyers can opt for electric motor drive to the metering rollers, which can be linked to a GPS-regulated controller to give infinitely variable seed rates. This arrangement, costing about £1500, is already proven on the firms NS5000 pneumatic seeder, which has been used in precision farming trials at Shuttleworth Farms to sow different rates across fields.

The NS2000 is a conventional mounted drill for use on its own or on a powered or tine cultivator equipped with three-point linkage. It comes in 3m, 4m and 4.5m sizes.

Compared with the Nordsten CLR drill it replaces, the NS2000 has a larger hopper, making it easier to fill from big bags, a broad hopper back edge to support 50kg seed sacks and a stepless seed-rate gearbox in place of the 60-speed lever and cassette unit fitted before.

This metering roller transmission is also fitted to the NS3000, a piggy-back drill for power harrows, rotary tillers and tined seed-bed cultivators. One option is a cable-operated control to increase seed rate by up to 10%, to bolster the crop on thinner ground on the brow of a hill, for example.

Compared with the CLP model, the NS3000 is mounted further forward on its host implement, is lower and has a larger hopper for easier filling. Twin metering roller drive wheels, one at each end, replace the one central metering unit (though this remains a factory-fit option).

The drill can be coupled using either rigid or hydraulic linkage, the latter allows the drill to be raised out of work when extra cultivation is needed – on a headland, for example. This can be achieved with the rigid linkage simply by raising the metering roller drive wheels but the coulters remain in soil contact.

But the cultivators crumbler or packer roller carries most of the weight of the drill so the tillage implement can quickly lift clear of boulders and other obstructions without having to lift the drill as well. This arrangement also results in a more consistent working depth and added soil consolidation, claims Nordsten. And the hydraulic linkage also allows some weight to be transferred to the cultivator, where this will improve penetration on hard ground.

As with the NS2000, each of the NS3000s coulters has its own compression spring for pressure control, with each half of the drill adjusted separately. There is also a depth limiting bar that allows a high coulter pressure to be used for penetration or bounce control without the risk of the coulters working too deep in easier going. &#42

Nordsten drill models and prices

Modelhopper£ with Euro£ with











4.0m81010, 05112,042


*Grain and fertiliser.

Compact hydraulic linkage can lift drill clear for cultivator-only working. Note vertical supports which transfer drills weight to the packer, the stepless gearbox and end-mounted metering roller drive wheel.

Nordstens NS3000 piggy-back drill has drawn on UK user experience of combination working, says the company. Prices start at £8817 (2.5m).