Though best known for its grass overseeders, Vredo has also been making slurry injectors since the late 1980s. These use the same disc system as the seeders, cutting a 5cm-deep slit into which the slurry flows, minimising smell and putting nutrients in the right place for the grass roots to take them up.
Models like the high-spec ZB3 injector have primarily been aimed at big contractors, but Macclesfield-based importer JC Machinery plans to start importing the farmer-spec version too.
These come in working widths from 5.2m to 7.2m and row spacings of 175mm, 200mm and 225mm.
Up to 38cu m/ha of slurry can be injected in this way and the discs are individually sprung-loaded to protect them from stones. A cutting filter that moves downwards against a comb also keeps stones out of harm’s way.
Costs are kept down by fitting a lighter frame and a single ram for folding (rather than a pair) as well as offering standard greasing points rather than the auto-lube system on the contractor machines.
The 6.4m unit would be suitable for fitting behind a 10cu m vacuum tanker, says the firm, with a modestly powered tractor of 100hp able to pull it.
Cost is expected to be between £16,300 and £24,400.
Chris Gardner of Ashorne Agricultural Contractors looked at several different drills before opting for 5.8m Vredo Agri-Twin overseeder.
Vredo is already well-known in the UK amenity sector and its products are commonplace on everything from rugby pitches to golf courses. “But it’s a relative newcomer to agriculture,” explains Mr Gardner.
“We had been looking at slot seeders for the last two years, as we were having more and more enquiries about them. But we needed to do our research before choosing which model.”
Mr Gardner looked initially at Aitchison and Moore-type drills. “So many of the drills we looked at had been derived from the arable sector, but the Vredo is a completely grass-orientated machine,” explains Mr Gardner. “Two V-shaped discs cut a 5-10mm slot. After the discs, seed is blown into the slot and a large ballasted flat roll closes the slot back up.”
Each set of discs is individually sprung to follow the contours of varying terrains Ð a must on permanent pastures that aren’t as flat as the average arable field. Cast packer ring rollers are available for undulating areas, too.
“It’s a waste of diesel to plough up grassland just to reseed it,” he adds. “The Vredo needs a firm existing seedbed, and is ideal for stitching a new variety or different crop into an existing ley.”
“We wanted a folding machine rather than a fixed so as to be able to cover a large acreage,” he explains. “It’s also a good way of establishing clover in permanent pasture, which has been popular for our organic customers.”
“Because the seed is blown into the slot and re-covered, it’s not susceptible to trampling or bird damage, and land drilled can continue to be grazed without a break.”
Although it’s possible to drill into stubble, you have to be careful. “It really depends on the ground conditions, as sometimes it will go and sometimes it won’t. And you can’t really see a difference in conditions either way. However, we have successfully planted clover into oat stubble and grass into stubble, as well as game crops.
Depending on the conditions, the outfit can manage in the region of 4ha/hr. It’s mounted on a JCB Fastrac 3190, which is chipped to 200hp. “It needs a big tractor because of its weight. Once on the ground it doesn’t need a lot to pull it.”