FW Inventions Competition 2021: John Phizacklea’s seeder harrow

Cornish farmer and contractor John Phizacklea has built a neat, low-cost seeder harrow for patching grass in small fields and paddocks.

His creation mounts to his front loader, which ensures it can be lifted over hedges and fences, allowing him to negotiate tight entrances.

The seeding element of the machine is a pair of Solo hand broadcasters that would typically be used in gardens.

These have a relatively sophisticated spreading mechanism, making them more accurate than many small agricultural broadcasters.

They also have an adjustable drop point, which means he can accurately spread seeds of different weights.

See also: How to sort out grassland compaction

Originally, these were hand-operated, so Mr Phizacklea removed the handles and fitted electric motors with a flexible drive to the gearbox to take out any vibrations.

Teaming them with a variable-speed controller also means the disc speed can be adjusted to suit different seeds.

The units have been set to throw the seed out in front of the tractor with a double overwrap spread pattern for improved accuracy. 

To help the machine ride smoothly, he fitted suspension to the front wheel and the table, plus his loader has soft-ride accumulators that should help prevent tractor movement affecting the spread pattern.

Seeder harrow in the workshop

© John Phizackle

Underneath the seeders, he’s fitted four rows of double tines – the angle of which can be adjusted from the tractor cab.

Rather than use hydraulics, he opted for a 12V, 6,000Nm linear ram to power this linkage.

These harrow the seed in, before a 12in flat roller mounted at the rear of the implement levels and consolidates the surface.

Working height is adjusted via a turnbuckle on the front wheel and the height of the rear roller can also be altered to keep the outfit level.

Finishing touches included adding a compartment to house six pattern test trays, a test tube kit and a digital weigh scale for calibration.

He plans to use the machine in conjunction with a rear ballast roller that he entered into 2020’s Farm Inventions Competition.

This, too, has a harrow with two rows of tines that drop in to work with a hydraulic ram when required. He also fitted a towing kit, so the roller can be lifted or lowered as required.

As well as patching paddocks in a single pass, Mr Phizacklea plans to use it for overseeding, stitching in clover and planting winter forage crops.

He built the machine over the winter and has just completed it. It cost about £1,600 to put together.

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