Direct drills revisited: 4m Novag TForcePlus 440 improves soil

Since we visited Andrew Tucker last year, he has put another autumn and spring season’s worth of work through the farm’s 4m Novag TForcePlus 440 drill.

It has performed well and got all crops off to a good start. However, like many growers, yields are down this year, particularly spring beans, which struggled with the dry weather from April to June.

See also: Driver’s view: Andrew Tucker’s Novag T-ForcePlus 440 no-till drill

Andrew Tucker

Andrew Tucker © James Andrews

Novag T-ForcePlus440 (2020)

  • Width/spacing 4m/190mm
  • Coulters Discs with T-shaped openers
  • Hopper Split main tank with 2,000-litre/1,000-litre capacity plus 2x 120-litre rear hoppers
  • Price paid £100,000 – purchased as a one-year-old ex-demonstrator

Soil condition is improving nicely, with the drill getting easier to pull each time it passes through a field.

Fuel use of the Fendt 724 is dropping too, going from 17 litres/ha to as little as 8 litres/ha.

He has also noticed that it saps considerably less power when spring drilling into a cover crop rather than an overwintered stubble.

After two full seasons, the tungsten carbide-tipped T-shaped coulters are now showing signs of wear and Andrew is planning to replace them.

They’re pricey at about £100 each, but he reckons they’re well worth the additional outlay over the conventional versions, which wear out alarmingly quickly.

When they get thin, there’s also the risk of them springing away from the disc and blocking with soil.

The expensive ones aren’t immune to snapping in stony ground though, and he recently broke three in one 40ha field.

There has been an ongoing problem with the drill fan pulsing which, although sounding less than ideal, thankfully doesn’t affect the flow of air to the coulters.

An engineer has recently been out to the drill and adjusted a flow valve, which he is hoping will do the trick.

He has also run the tractor battery flat twice due to the hopper light not switching off with the screen, and there is a slightly inconvenient delay in seed reaching the coulters after starting work.

Likes and gripes


  • Creates a good environment for seed
  • Effective down-pressure system
  • Improves soil condition
  • Reliable parts supply


  • Delay in seed reaching coulters
  • Hopper light doesn’t switch off with screen
  • Coulters can snap in stony ground
  • Some coulters are hard to access for maintenance

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