Vaderstad has developed a new precision drill that can be adapted to accurately sow cereals, oilseeds, legumes, and maize.
The semi-mounted Proceed uses several elements from Vaderstad’s established Tempo, which is already a popular choice among UK maize growers.
These include the hopper and coulter assembly, which have been combined with quick-change metering discs.
There are 20 discs available with different hole spacings and sizes, accounting for every mainstream single-grain crop – from wheat, barley and rice, through to oilseed rape, sugar beet, soyabeans and sunflowers.
This, says the company, means it can place small seeds at “millimetre precision”, making it possible to sow cereal crops with consistent in-row plant spacings.
As a result, Vaderstad claims to be able to halve winter wheat seed rates without affecting the final yield.
Adjustable row widths
The design sees row units mounted on two beams, offering working widths of 5.4m or 6m.
The position of these can be adjusted to suit the crop type, leaving rows 225 or 250mm apart for cereals, 450 or 500mm for sugar beet or oilseed rape, and 750mm for maize.
Each row leads with an individually mounted “pre-consolidation wheel”, which has a hydraulic downforce system to maintain pressure.
This means it should be able to slot into any establishment system, from plough-based to zero tillage.
A debris-cleaning wheel is mounted at the front of the opener. Behind this, seed is fed from the 3,000-litre hopper via an adapted version of the Tempo-sourced PowerShoot singulation system.
This uses constant air pressure to propel the seeds through tubes to the combination of disc coulter and rubber press wheel. Pairs of closing wheels in a V formation finish the job.
Downward pressure can be varied on each seeding unit from 0-350kg via Vaderstad’s iPad-based E-Control system.
This can also be used to manage individual row shut-off and variable rate, with information sent from the cab to the drill wirelessly.
The company’s trials have shown winter wheat drilled at a rate of 150 seeds/sq m produces 102% more plant biomass, 72% more root biomass and 62% more tillers compared to a crop sown with a conventional drill.
This, it says, is down to more uniform and reliable establishment and less competition for nutrients between plants as a result of the more accurate seed placement.
The other advantage of reduced seed rates is a saving both in seed cost and the associated treatment.
However, plenty more trials are scheduled before the Proceed is made available to buy, with the first models expected to be released in 2024.