Companies cut costs for rape establishment

Finding the ideal way to drill oilseed rape is something that seems to be exercising the mind of every arable farmer in the land. Whether it’s retaining moisture, improving establishment or lowering costs, the search is on for the perfect rape drill.

Machinery companies are doing their bit to come up with improved designs and this month’s giant Cereals Event promises to give a chance to see the latest designs in the flesh.

The latest makers to offer new rape drills are UK firms Claydon and Techneat, both of whom will be showing equipment at Cereals. Direct drill specialist Claydon’s V Rape Seed drill is designed for quick, low-cost establishment straight into stubble. The 5m folding seeder has a V-shaped frame and strip-till legs mounted at 600mm row spacing to make sure that trash flows smoothly between them.

The company uses its two-tine seeding system, which can work up to 18cm deep and creates a drainage channel below the seed to encourage quick establishment and rooting. Following behind the first breaker tine is a second leg fitted with a winged A-blade. That lifts the soil up and creates an 18cm wide band so the rape seed can then be placed either side of the drainage channel.

Mounted on top is a 120-litre seed hopper controlled by a GPS unit from the same company.

Claydon says it’s a particularly lightweight system. In fact, compared to the 300hp that might be needed to pull a 5m cultivator with breaker tines, the V rape drill has a power requirement of 180-200hp.

Techneat’s Intelli-Rate precision seed controller, also launched at Cereals, takes the high-tech route. Designed to provide low-cost accuracy, the system uses information from a precision mapping system to control the GPS-guided variable rate seed metering system.

The company says it can be operated at very low seed rates and the metering system adjusts in 0.1kg steps. The Intelli-Head controller will then automatically adjust the seed rate on the move depending on seed-bed quality, drilling date and conditions.

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