Combination drill buyer’s guide

Min-till, strip-till and no-till may be all the rage but the once ubiquitous combination of power harrow and piggy-back seeder still retains a place on many farms.

In fact, manufacturers report a recent surge in sales of such implements, particularly of the less sophisticated mechanical or gravity type drills reviewed here, which have a full-width seed box.

Improvements in metering wheel design have improved seed selection and delivery accuracy – although a pneumatic system is still regarded as the best solution for achieving accurate in-row seed spacing at high working speeds.

These implements are mainly used ‘on the plough’ so remain especially popular on mixed enterprise farms and in northern England and Scotland, where mintill and other non-inversion techniques are more difficult to manage thanks to a tighter window between harvesting one crop and sowing the next.

Further south, the power harrow-seed drill can also perform a valuable role in partnership with a mouldboard plough when dire autumn weather sends mintill plans out of the window.

Many a grower facing that situation has been thankful for a combination’s ability to work in less than ideal conditions and get crops in.

Not that the power harrow-seed drill combination is confined to ploughed land – certainly not to the extent it once was. Thanks to the development of single- and double-disc coulters with increased working pressure from typically 35kg to 50kg, there are machines that can readily handle trash-laden seedbeds.

This type of drill can therefore be part of a reduced tillage approach that eliminates expensive ploughing and instead uses speedy tine or disc cultivation to produce a stale seedbed. A single pass with the combination then completes seedbed preparation and sows the crop.

It may not be the speediest way to get grain and oilseed crops established but it offers a viable option when a combination seeder is considered the best option for other cropping situations, such as wheat following sugar beet or potatoes.

While most of drills are mounted on power harrows, they are certainly not confined to this implement.

Amazone, Kongskilde, Kverneland and Kuhn are among suppliers with fitting kits for rotary tillers but it is a less common application. A more popular approach is to install a box drill on a tine cultivator designed for this purpose and so create a faster-working, cheaper to run combination for use on lighter soils.

On power harrows it used to be the case that integral drills were carried on the host implement’s headstock and gear trough; today, the disadvantages of that approach are avoided by carrying the drill on the packer.

This does mean that a pretty substantial packer is needed – usually 500mm diameter minimum, with 600mm generally recommended – but at least the weight is carried where it can do most good – and also least harm.

There is less stress and strain imposed on the harrow structure and it is free to move independently when necessary – upon hitting a boulder or other buried obstruction, for example.

Manufacturers mostly produce fitting kits to suit their own power harrows, as well as tillers and tine cultivators if they make them.

Sulky distributor Reco has fitting kits for the Breviglieri harrows is supplies in addition to those for Sulky implements, while Kongskilde has an extensive list of mountings to install its MasterLine seeder on Howard, Kuhn, Lemken, Kverneland and Lely/Tulip harrows, as well as the leading Italian makes and a number of other implements.

In alphabetical order:

Amazone AD

Amazone AD Special

AD Special

Key features: Star-wheel mechanical or optional hydraulic drive through Vario-Control stepless seed metering gearbox; combined normal and small seed metering units; choice of Suffolk-type WS and RoTeC single disc coulters with up to 35kg loading and integral depth control disc; manual or hydraulic coulter pressure adjustment; tramliner-controlled hydraulic bout markers; flexible tine or roller wheel finishing harrow; Amalog+ controller with electronic hopper level indicator.

Prices

Width Hopper Coulter 125mm spacing 166mm spacing
3m 450-850l Suffolk £23,185 £22,785
3m 450-850l Single disk £26,300 £25,120

 

Options: Prices include Amazone KE 3000 Special power harrow priced individually with 500mm steel tooth packer roller at 3m £11,900, 4m £17,295. Amatron+ controller for on-the-move seed rate adjustment; 600mm tooth packer roller – 3m £1120, 4m £1230; track eradicator tines – rigid £1015, sprung £1235; 850-litre hopper £705; hydraulic star wheel lift £235; hydraulic coulter pressure adjustment £370; road lights £430.

Options: Prices include Amazone KE 3000 Special power harrow priced individually with 500mm steel tooth packer roller at 3m £11,900, 4m £17,295. Amatron+ controller for on-the-move seed rate adjustment; 600mm tooth packer roller – 3m £1120, 4m £1230; track eradicator tines – rigid £1015, sprung £1235; 850-litre hopper £705; hydraulic star wheel lift £235; hydraulic coulter pressure adjustment £370; road lights £430.

AD Super

Key features: Star-wheel mechanical or optional hydraulic drive through Vario-Control stepless seed metering gearbox; combined normal and small seed metering units; choice of Suffolk-type WS and RoTeC single disc coulters with up to 35kg loading and integral depth control disc; manual WS coulter pressure adjustment, hydraulic for RoTeC coulters; independent hydraulic bout markers; flexible tine or roller wheel finishing harrow; Amalog+ controller with electronic hopper level indicator.

Prices

Width Hopper Coulter 125mm spacing 166mm spacing
3m 450-1000l Suffolk £25,380 £24,980
3m 450-1000l Single disk £28,865 £27,685
4m 830-1380l Suffolk £32,860 £32,205
4m 830-1380l Single disk £37,220 £35,690

 

Options: Prices include Amazone KE 3000 Special power harrow priced individually with 500mm steel tooth packer roller at 3m £11,900, 4m £17,295. Amatron+ controller for on-the-move seed rate adjustment; 600mm tooth packer roller – 3m £1120, 4m £1230; track eradicator tines – rigid £1015, sprung £1235; 3m 1000-litre hopper £705; 4m 1380-litre hopper £890; hydraulic star wheel lift £235; hydraulic coulter pressure adjustment £370; road lights £430.

Kongskilde MasterLine

Kongskilde MasterLine

Key features: Features: Ground-wheel drive through stepless gearbox; choice of three coulters – Euro (Suffolk) at three different row widths, single disc at 130mm row spacing or double disc at 125mm spacing; optional hydraulic coulter and metering drive wheel lift for cultivator-only working.

Prices

Width Hopper Coulter 120mm spacing 125mm spacing 130mm spacing
3m 741l Suffolk £7,178
3m 741l Single disk £10,233
3m 741l Double disk £12,218
4m 1,052l Suffolk £8,321
4m 1052l Single disk £12,872
4m 1,052l Double disk £15,240

 

Options: 29-row 3m Euro (Suffolk) coulter at 103mm £7459; 37-row 4m at 108mm £9695; press wheel for Suffolk and double disc coulters £110 each; hydraulic coulter lift £881; hydraulic drive wheel lift £324; pre-emergence markers £996; independent hydraulic disc bout markers £1263 (standard with double disc coulters); hydraulic coulter pressure adjustment £525; flexible tine coverng harrow 3m £574, 4m £766; harrow fitting kits £860-£1481

Kuhn Combiliner

Kuhn Combiliner

Combiliner Integra

Key features: Harrow-mounted seed drill with Hector 3000 controller for tramlining and seed distribution plus hopper level alarms; ground-wheel drive with twin drive standard on 4m, optional on 3m; choice of single disc coulters with up to 35kg pressure and optional individual press wheel or Suffolk-type coulter, both in two rows at 125mm or 150mm spacing; central crank arm or hydraulic adjustment of spring pressure; adjustable stop bar to regulate maximum sowing depth; infinitely variable seed rate by adjusting flute opening on spiral-fluted seed metering rollers for regular and small seed; optional hydraulic top link moves drill weight forward and increases clearance for headland turns and transport, and to operate harrow alone

Prices

Width Hopper Coulter 125mm spacing 150mm spacing
3m 600-1,200l Suffolk £10,643 £10,388
3m 600-1,200l Single disk £13,217 £12,533
4m 800-1,200l Suffolk £13,544 £13,299
4m 800-1,200l Single disc £16,397 £16,301

 

Options: Power harrow mounting kits £950-£1048; double-acting hydraulic coulter pressure adjustment £405; second ground-wheel drive 3m £988; hydraulic side markers 3m £1003, 4m £1034; harrow-mounted bout markers 3m £1469, 4m £1564; disc coulter press wheel £122 each; hydraulic top link £328; hopper extensions 3m £302-£604, 4m £355; pre-emergence markers £1097

Combiliner Sitera

Key features: Integrated seed drill with Hector 3000 electronic controller providing tramline control and seed distribution plus hopper level alarms; infinitely variable seed rate by adjusting flute opening on spiral-fluted seed metering rollers for regular and small seed; Seedflex double disc coulters with offset discs for penetration and handling trash; press wheel for individual coulter depth control after central adjustment; hydraulic top link moves weight forward and increases clearance for headland turns and transport, or to use power harrow alone

Prices

Width Hopper Coulter 125mm spacing
3m 780-1080l Double disk £19,834
4m 1080-1,480l Double disk £25,538

 

Options: HR Series power harrow mounting kits 3m £646, 4m £824; hydraulic rate adjustment (+10% or 20%) £572 (variable adjustment with Quantron S-V controller); side markers standard; harrow-mounted bout markers 3m £1469, 4m £1564; pre-emergence markers £1307; hopper extension 3m £310, 4m £364; covering harrow and lighting standard

Kverneland MC-Drill Pro

Kverneland MC-Drill Pro

Key features: land wheel metering drive via stepless gearbox; mechanical or electronic hopper level indicator; hydraulic bout markers; Suffolk-type coulters in two- or three rows, or CX single disc coulters with flexible plastic cleaning disc in two rows; manual or hydraulic pressure adjustment; flexible tine following harrow and road lights.

Prices

Width Hopper Coulter 125mm spacing
3m 600-1,200l Suffolk £10,195
3m 600-1,200l Suffolk* £10,430
3m 600-1,200l Single disk £13,240
4m 800-1,490l Suffolk £8,321
4m 800-1,490l Suffolk* £14,255
4m 800-1,490l Single disk £15,420

Options: Electronic controllers with low hopper level indicator – Basic Tramline £1420, Signus (including calibration) £2460; electric seed rate adjustment with Signus £758; track eradicator tines £642; 3m 1100-litre hopper £747, 4m 1490-litre hopper £932; hydraulic coulter lift 3m £1314, 4m £1330; hydraulic disc coulter pressure adjustment 3m £1149, 4m £1164; disc coulter press wheels – 3m £2136-£2664, 4m £2848-£3552; ; pre-emergence markers £1265; road lights £536; parking legs £624. * Suffolk coulters in three rows for extra trash clearance

Lemken Saphir

Lemken Saphir

Saphir 7

Key features: Land wheel metering drive via oil bath stepless gearbox; two-piece Conti Plus seed wheels for small and regular seed with spiral flute metering; quick-change device for fitting one-piece Mono Plus metering wheels for large seed;Easytronic electric control for tramlining, area recording and calibration assistance; mechanical hopper level indicator; Suffolk coulters with S harrow or double disc coulters with depth/press wheel on parallel linkage

Prices

Width Hopper Coulter 125mm spacing 150mm spacing
2.5m 650l Suffolk £8,815 £8,570
2.5m 650l Double disk £12,665 £12,084
3m 800l Suffolk £10,473 £10,145
3m 800l Double disk £14,676 £13,903
4m 1,050l Suffolk £15,111 £14,700
4m 1,050l Double disk £20,652 £19,685

Options: Integrated drilling kit for Zircon 8 or 10 power harrows – including Trapeze packer roller, bout markers and track eradicators 3m £2651, 4m £4302.

Saphir 8

Key features: Electric motor metering drive giving seed rate adjustment through Solitronic electric control or ISOBUS controller; oil bath stepless gearbox; two-piece Conti Plus seed wheels for small and regular seed with spiral flute metering; quick-change device for fitting one-piece Mono Plus metering wheels for large seed; electronic and mechanical hopper level indicators; parallel-linkage mounted double disc coulters with depth/press wheel.

Prices

Width Hopper Coulter 125mm spacing 150mm spacing
3m 800l Double disk £18,862 £18,089
4m 1,050l Double disk £24,839 £23,871

Options: Integrated drilling kit for Zircon 8 or 10 power harrows – including Trapeze packer roller, bout markers and track eradicators 3m £2651, 4m £4302.

Maschio Dama

Maschio Dama

Dama DC Combi

Key features: Combination with Maschio Drago DC power harrow; mechanical hopper level indicator; land wheel metering drive and stepless gearbox; hydraulic bout markers; Suffolk-type or single disc coulters with manual or hydraulic pressure adjustment; flexible tine following harrow, road lights and parking stands.

Prices

Width Hopper Coulter 125mm spacing
3m 500-780l Suffolk £21,787
3m 500-780l Single disk £24,195

Options: Prices include Maschio Drago DC power harrow with 500mm tooth packer roller priced individually at £9097 with packer roller, £10,058 with rubber roller. Genius Lite electronic controller £2441; track eradicator tines – shear bolt £490, sprung £650; 780-litre hopper £267; hydraulic coulter pressure adjustment £331; pre-emergence markers £1350; 600mm rubber packer roller £1506 with disc coulters, £3153 with Suffolk coulters.

Dama DC Rapido Combi

Key features: Combination with Maschio Dominator DM power harrow with Rapido quick-change tines; mechanical hopper level indicator; land wheel metering drive and stepless gearbox; hydraulic bout markers; Suffolk-type or single disc coulters with manual or hydraulic pressure adjustment; flexible tine following harrow, road lights and parking stand.

Prices

Width Hopper Coulter 125mm spacing
3m 500-780l Suffolk* £24,509
3m 500-780l Single disk £26,916
4m 650-1,050l Suffolk* £30,719
4m 650-1,050l Single disk £33,928

Options: Prices include Maschio Dominator DM Rapido power harrow priced individually with 450mm tooth packer roller at 3m £11,861, 4m £14,675. Genius Lite electronic controller £2441; track eradicator tines – shear bolt £490, sprung £650; 3m 780-litre hopper £267, 4m 1050-litre hopper £303; hydraulic coulter pressure adjustment £331; pre-emergence markers £1350; 600mm rubber packer roller 3m £3155 with disc or Suffolk coulters, 4m £4060 with disc coulters, £4080 with disc coulters. * Suffolk coulters in three rows for extra trash clearance.

Pöttinger Vitasem ADD

Pöttinger Vitasem ADD

Key features: Mounts on Lion power harrow roller frame; Compass electronic control; mechanical hopper level indicator; land wheel or electric motor metering drive; Dual Disc double disc coulters with central pressure adjustment to 50kg and standard press wheel.

Prices

Width Hopper Coulter 125mm spacing
3m 1000l Double disk £22,260
4m 1,400l Double disk £28,575

Options: Electric variable seed rate adjustment £635; bout markers 3m £1575, 4m £1645; pre-emergence markers £1395.

Sulky Tramline

Sulky Tramline

Tramline CE

Key features: Choice of three electronic controllers including 10% manual seed rate adjustment and GPS variable seed rate options; land wheel metering drive via stepless gearbox; mechanical or electronic hopper level indicator; hydraulic bout markers; Suffolk-type coulters in two rows with up to 20kg pressure and optional band sowing attachment or Unidisc single disc coulters in two rows with 30kg maximum pressure and manual or hydraulic adjustment; both coulter types available with 40mm wide plastic press wheels; flexible tine following harrow.

Prices

Width Hopper Coulter 125mm spacing
3m 550-800l Suffolk £13,375
3m 550-800l Single disk £16,395

Options: Electric tramline control £490; electronic controllers with low hopper level indication – Medion £1275, Ultron MS (rate adjustment) £2145, Vision (disc coulters only; data transfer and GPS variable rate) £4260; mechanical hopper level indicator; track eradicator tines £???; 800-litre hopper £400; hydraulic disc coulter pressure adjustment £340; press wheel kit £4000; pre-emergence markers £1445; road lights £285; parking legs – standard; Bervi and Maschio fitting kits £345-£820.

Tramline CX

Key features: As above.

Prices

Width Hopper Coulter 125mm spacing
3m 800-1000l Suffolk £14,850
3m 800-1000l Single disk £17,235
4m 1,100-1,350l Suffolk £17,620
4m 1,100-1,350l Single disk £21,320

Options: Options: As above plus 3m 1000-litre hopper £340, 4m 1350-litre hopper £520; 4m hydraulic disc coulter pressure adjustment £1185; press wheel kit £5385.

Vogel & Noot SuperDrill A

Vogel & Noot SuperDrill A

Key features: Features: Flexible roll-back hopper cover; land wheel metering drive with multi-speed or optional stepless gearbox; electronic tramlining control; sickle or 300mm diameter double disc coulters with hydraulic coulter lift and manual or hydraulic pressure adjustment; flexible tine following harrow, road lights and parking stands.

Prices

Width Hopper Coulter 120mm spacing 125mm spacing
3m 645l Sickle £6,451
3m 645l Single disk £8,214
3m 645l Double disk £9,273
4m 870l Sickle £8,539
4m 870l Single disc £10,868
4m 870l Double disk £12,261

Options: Options: Double disc coulter press wheels £80 per row; tramlining £858-£998; covering harrow 3m £851, 4m £1098; hydraulic coulter pressure adjustment £512; marker discs £1054-£1126; infinitely variable gearbox (factory fitted) £604; in-cab seed rate adjustment (for variable gearbox) £964.