Opico’s HE-VA Sabre-Seeder offers ultra low-cost cereal establishment

If getting your cereal establishment costs down is a key objective then you’ll be interested Opico’s latest drilling development.

Delegates at a conference last week learnt of the firm’s three year testing programme of a disc harrow/seeder capable of high-speed stubble cultivation, cereal seed broadcasting and seedbed consolidation in one pass.

The Sabre-Seeder has been developed in association with Danish company HE-VA – which supplies Opico with most of its cultivation kit.

Its launch follows Opico’s extensive promotion of its low-cost ‘Till-Seeding’ concept for oilseed rape. The principal has now been extended to cover any crop and operation where cultivation and seed distribution takes place.

Establishment Costs Compared




 Cost per ha


Cost per ha

 Autocast from combine header 






Disc & Seed (1 pass)


 Cultivator Till-Seeding


 Cultivate, Broadcast & Harrow


 Sub-soiler Till-Seeding


 Disc & Seed (2 passes)


 Combination Till-Seeding


 Typical Min-Till


 Typical Min-Till


 Plough-based establishment


 Plough-based establishment




“The concept is a simple one, but has taken a number of years to perfect,” explains Opico’s managing director James Woolway.

“For a while we’ve had farmers asking us why cereals can’t be established off the back of a cultivator if you can get rape going in the same way.”

“One particular customer found that wheat spun on late in a wet season with a fertiliser spreader actually yielded better than that which had been drilled conventionally.”

“Of course it is not quite as straightforward as that and there are a number of agronomic factors to take into consideration.”

Opico Sabre-Seeder 2

The Sabre-Seeder uses a fairly well-recognised layout employed for numerous shallow stubble cultivators.

Two rows of angled, serrated discs are responsible for cultivation and seeding. For this purpose an outlet is positioned on the convex side of the disc to drop seed in the freshly worked soil.

A 1500-litre hopper supplies a Rauch metering system – also used by Kuhn – and seed is blown to the outlets by a hydraulically-driven fan.

A rubber press-roller follows the discs to consolidate the seedbed.

Opico says the setup can be used direct into stubble or for a two pass approach, first incorporating trash and then producing the final tilth as well as drilling the crop in the second pass.

“On the right land, you could adopt a broadcast-only extablishment approach,” says Mr Woolway.

“Subsoil and seed on your rape ground to maximise the brassica’s rooting potential.

“Then cultivate and sow the land going into cereals – that’s Total Till-Seeding.”

Cereals 2007 logo

To see plots of wheat established with the Sabre-Seeder visit the Independent Soil Services stand at the Cereals event on 13th and 14th June near Royston, Cambs. For more info visit www.cerealsevent.org.uk

NB Costings based on Nix contractor charges 2006

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