25 July 1997

Recon drills cut price alternative to buying new

As farmers continue to fight rising machinery costs, a Bedfordshire dealer reports strong interest in his seed drill refurbishment business. Geoff Ashcroft reports

IN the past two years, the Lodgeway Tractor Company has kept its workshop busy during the slack winter months by refurbishing Accord pneumatic seed drills.

It is a venture that has seen about 15 machines pass through the Chicksands, Shefford-based workshop, the latest an Accord conversion on a Carrier cultivator drill.

"There are a lot of older Accord units that are no longer used. They are simple, accurate machines which can be cost-effectively reconditioned," explains Lodgeways managing director, Chris Rook.

As part of the drill refurbishment programme, seed tubes are replaced, as are suspect bearings, coulter springs, drive belts and coulter bushes. Coulters are either renewed or reconditioned according to their condition.

Seed metering equipment is reconditioned and rebuilt as required, while hoppers are shot blasted, along with the rest of the mechanical structure, before being repainted. Any parts used are genuine, insists Mr Rook. The finishing touches, he says, are new decals and a new handbook.

"A full refurb is a 250-hour process. But it means we can offer a fully reconditioned 6m Accord drill with one seasons warranty for £9000. And it works as accurately as a new one," he says.

The most recent to pass through the workshop was more of a conversion than a refurb. A customer who became increasingly dissatisfied with the performance of the drilling element of his 6m (20ft) trailed Carrier cultivator, approached Mr Rook for a solution.

"We stripped off all the Carriers drilling components to leave just the cultivator," explains Mr Rook. "Then it was a matter of matching up an Accord system to fit on top of the cultivator, but still keep the machines original folding transport system."

With anything, the first conversion is always the most trying and Mr Rook reckons this one was no exception. Getting around the Carriers transport system meant the two Accord hoppers had to be turned through 90í.

Then fan capacity had to be worked out and a hydraulic fan drive put into place. "We had a lot of assistance from Ferrag over fan selection, but mechanically, what we could not buy, we had to fabricate," he says, pointing to a gearbox at the rear of the machine which splits the landwheel drive to provide two output drives for the twin seed metering units.

"The drill has also been up-specced with Ferrags ESC electronic tramline control system. It means when a wing section is raised, the drill selects half-width shut-off," he says.

Proud owner of the converted Carrier/Accord cultivator drill, Mr Gibson of Bell Farm, Colesden, Beds, is now anxious to see how the machine performs this autumn. &#42

This Carrier cultivator drill has been stripped of its original drilling equipment, with the exception of the coulter tines. Accord sowing gear sits atop the frame and is easily distinguishable by its red livery.

Chris Rook of Lodgeway Tractor Company: "There are a lot of older Accord drills that can be refurbished at a fraction of the cost of buying new."

Workshop fabricated gearbox provides two outlets to drive duel seed metering units "the right way round". Because the drill is trailed, land-wheel drive also needed a freewheel device so the drill could be reversed without turning seed wheels backwards.