21 June 2002

Precision drill with wide appeal

Cereals 2002 may claim to be Europes premier

arable event but it could also now claim to be one

of its key machinery events. Andy Collings reports

GROWING in popularity with visitors and exhibitors alike, the Cereals event continues to take on ever-greater importance in the farming calendar.

From a relatively modest beginning, when the event was dominated with plots of new cereal varieties, the emphasis has moved year on year towards greater machinery input, with many manufacturers now considering the event to be the main shop window for their wares.

While minimal tillage equipment continues to dominate the cultivation scene there are those companies which maintain a healthy market share with more traditional cultivation machinery.

This is particularly true in the production of ploughs with major manufacturers, such as Gregoire Besson, Lemken and Dowdeswell, reporting respectable sale volumes. But there have also been some significant developments in the design of the conventional drill.

In this department, Stanhay used Cereals 2002 to launch its new precision drill designed to sow crops such as oilseed rape, cereals and peas or beans.

Drawing on the companys experience in developing precision drills to handle sugar beet and vegetable seeds, the Stanhay Dart is claimed to be the first precision drill to be capable of handling all combinable crops.

Available on 3m and 4m widths, work rates are said to equal those of more traditional design. Principal advantage of the system, says Stanhay, is the ability to save up to 60% of seed, without loss of yield due to the better spacing of the seed.

A front-mounted seed hopper supplies seed pneumatically to the rear seeder unit – the pipe divides into three to feed into three cyclones, each of which provides a flow of seed to six coulters.

It is at the coulter end the metering and precision planting takes place. As with a sugar beet drill, the system uses a vacuum to suck seed towards holes placed in the circumference of a rotating circular disc. Excessive seed is removed by a small scraper unit.

When the seed reaches the lowest point of its rotation, the vacuum is released and the seed is released into a drill formed by the coulter shoe.

Seed rate is governed by the speed of the chain driven plate – a wheel sensor relays the forward speed of the drill and alters plate rotational speed accordingly. &#42

The worlds first precision drill capable of sowing all combinable crops is the claim by Stanhay for its new Dart drill. Operating speeds of up to 14kph are possible, says the company.