Our guide to low-cost, simple drills

The first Tillage 2009 event takes place at Cirencester on 15 September, Peter Hill took the chance to look at low-cost, low-complexity drills

For some growers, tine coulters are an essential element of a seed drill, usually to cope with a large quantity of stones in their soils.

But with a relatively simple structure, few moving parts and soil-engaging components that do not cost a fortune to replace, they also have relatively modest purchase and running costs in their favour.

Tillage events 
The two Tillage 2009 events take place at Down Ampney, Corencesterm Gloucestershire on 15 September and Kelso, Roxburghshire on 1 October. For more info go to www.aea.co.uk/events or ring 0845 644 8748.

True, it is possible to rack up a sizeable price ticket by going for the largest sizes and ticking all the option boxes. But for operators who are happy with a modestly-equipped machine that will get crops established without a lot of fuss, there are tine drills to be had at modest prices.

That also makes such machines a candidate for another role – as back-up to a bigger, more specialist seeder. Especially for odd corners and small fields but also for times when bad weather throws up conditions that make it difficult for minimum tillage units to work effectively.

Taking an arbitrary £40,000 price ceiling as the cut-off point provides a big choice of seeders from basic models costing less than half that amount to ones with the sort of equipment fitted as standard that are listed as options on others.

low cost drill 1 
An affordable drill from Weaving Machinery.
If a modest starting price is a priority, then the Aguirre RS drills from Weaving Machinery and KRM‘s Soladrill range – both built by Spanish makers – fit the bill.

The Aguirre range kicks off with a 3m plain drill, while the Soladrill line-up goes from 4m with plain drills and versions that include a tine cultivation unit incorporated into the build. There is also a piggy-back version for use on a power harrow or a tine cultivator.

Coulter control comes in for close attention on these seeders, with French manufacturer Techmagri adopting a similar principle to that on the Soladrill of using a coil spring at a shallow angle. The idea is that any movement at the coulter tip requires only a small deflection of the spring and therefore more consistency in spring rate.

Seeders using a spring tine for the coulter include the newly-introduced Kuhn Megant and Kongskilde Vibro Seeder, and Köckerling’s cultivator-based Allseeder.

The latter comes complete with a paddle tine levelling unit across the front and a flexible steel roller across the back, plus other features that are optional on drills with a lesser starting spec.

Kverneland’s freshly revamped Accord Tine-Seeder is another drill that can have paddle tines across the front to crush and level clods ahead of the coulters. These are also of the spring tine type, but deflecting against a leaf rather than coil spring and arranged in five rows for maximum trash clearance rather than the three- and four-row choice offered previously.

Band sowing is the technique favoured for the Dale All-Till and Simba-Horsch Sprinter ST – the latter being the only trailed unit in this selection. The SimTech T-Sem, meanwhile, takes Aitchison coulter technology, producing an inverted “T” slot primarily for direct reseeding of grass, and applies it to the cereal sowing scenario.

Simtech drill 
 The SimTech T-Sem uses Aitchison coulter technology for cereal sowing.

John Dale All-Till

For direct drilling or sowing into min-till or plough-based seedbeds. Four 12mm tines with integral rubber press wheels for depth control and seed consolidation mounted on parallel linkage subframes able to float laterally and vertically to follow surface contours. Line or band sowing in 200mm, 250mm or 275mm rows with optional fertiliser placement below seed. Uses spider wheel metering drive, hydraulics for the fan.

Key info

All-Till mounted 

  • 1000kg hopper
  • 4m (25-60mm bands) £22,000

(larger trailed models also available)

Note: seed/fertiliser version £25,000

Contact John Dale Drills

Kockerling Allseeder

Based on Allrounder heavy-duty spring tine cultivator with hydraulically adjusted paddle-type levelling tines ahead of four rows of spring leaf “S” tine coulters at 166mm spacing. Steel packer with soil-fill rings for low wear soil-on-soil consolidation. Rauch metering unit and external distribution head; pto-driven fan.

Key info 

 Allseeder mounted

  • 1200-litre hopper
  • 3m (18 row) £28,370
  • 4m (24 row) £36,020

(larger trailed models also available)

Contact: Kockerling UK

Kongskilde Vibro-Seeder

Vibro Tilth spring tine cultivator based seeders with “S” tine coulters in four rows for line sowing at 150mm spacing. Metering roller for each coulter frame-mounted seed distribution head is land-wheel driven via stepless gearbox, with hydraulic or pto drive to distribution fan. Reekie-type vertical or low-angled finishing tine harrows.

Vibro-Seeder mounted rear hopper

Key info

  • 1100-litre hopper
  • 4m (26 row) £19,190
  • 5m (32 row) £20,224
  • 6m (40 row) £22,296

Note: following harrow £1010, £1106, £1204; bout markers £1780, £1793, £1815; tramlining kit £2430. Electric drive metering and two or four hopper outlets optional.

Vibro-Seeder mounted front hopper

Key info:

 1500- or 1900-litre hopper

  • 4m (26 row) £18,045
  • 5m (32 row) £26,940
  • 6m (40 row) £29,012

Note: 1900-litre hopper £345; other options as above.

Contact: Kongskilde UK

M Soladrill 799

Square-section coulter arms with individual coil spring tensioning arranged in three or four rows at 125mm spacing. Optional four-stage two-row tine cultivation toolbar integrated or along front of drill. Seed metering with braked land wheel drive or optional electric drive; pneumatic distribution head mounted in hopper with pto- or hydraulic-drive fan.

Key info 

Soladrill 799 mounted three-row

  • 1575 or 1750-litre hopper*
  • 4m (32 row) £16,895
  • 4.5m (36 row) £17,495
  • 4.8m (38 row) £18,025
  • 5m (40 row) £18,125
  • 6m (48 row) £20,750

Key info 
 Soladrill 799 mounted four-row

  • 1575 or 1750-litre hopper*
  • 4m (32 row) £17,395
  • 4.5m (36 row) £17,995
  • 4.8m (38 row) £18,550
  • 5m (40 row) £18,650
  • 6m (48 row) £21,750

Note: Tramlining kit, bout markers, following harrow standard; 1750-litre hopper standard on 6m +£150 on others; electric metering drive £poa; pre-emergence markers £950.

Key info: 
 Soladrill 799 4-Stage Integrated

  • 1575 or 1750-litre hopper
  • 4m (32 row) £19,850
  • 4.5m (36 row) £20,065
  • 4.8m (38 row) £21,450
  • 5m (40 row) £21,550
  • 6m (48 row) £24,750

Key info: 
Soladrill 799 4-Stage Front

  • 1575 or 1750-litre hopper
  • 4m (32 row) £19,925
  • 4.5m (36 row) £20,750
  • 4.8m (38 row) £21,425

Note: Four-stage models have two rows of spring-loaded cultivation tines either beneath (Integrated) or in front of the seed hopper, the latter with hydraulic fan drive; 1750-litre hopper +£150; electric metering drive £poa; pre-emergence markers £950; tramlining kit, bout markers, following harrow standard.

KRM Soladrill 1706

Power harrow or cultivator mounted with three-rows of square-section coulter arms at 125mm spacing with individual coil spring tensioning. Seed metering by braked land wheel or optional electric drive; pneumatic distribution head mounted in hopper with pto- or hydraulic-drive fan.

Key info 

Soladrill 1706 piggy-back

  • 1200 or 1575-litre hopper
  •  3m (24 row) £12,995
  • 4m (32 row) £15,895

Note: electric metering drive £poa; pre-emergence markers £950; hydraulic fan drive £925; 1575-litre hopper £375;tramlining kit, bout markers, following harrow standard.

Contact: Keith Rennie Machinery

Kuhn Megant

Single row of paddle-type levelling tines precedes four rows of tine coulters at 125mm to 155mm spacing. Curved spring steel coulter arms clamped to frame with rubber dampers for controlled flexing and 200mm lift clearance. Spider wheel driven seed metering unit feeds external distribution head; pto-driven hydraulic motor drives fan allowing 750 to 1000rpm engine speeds.

Key info

 Megant mounted

  • 1800kg hopper
  • 4m (32 row, 125mm) £21,863
  • 4.5m (32 row, 140mm) £22,455
  •  4.8m (36 row, 133mm) £22,981
  • 5m (36 row, 139mm) £23,596
  • 5.6m (36 row, 155mm) £24,560
  • 6m (40 row, 150mm) £25,706

Note: Levelling bar 4m + 4.5m £1758, 4.8m + 5m £1931, 5.6m + 6m £2442; half shut-off standard on 4m, 5m, 6m; tramlining kit standard on all models.

Contact: Kuhn Farm Machinery

Kverneland Accord Tine-Seeder

Optional paddle tine clod bar precedes five rows of spring steel “C” tine coulters at 125mm or 150mm row spacing with leaf-spring pressure control and damage protection, followed by optional press wheels. Accord ground-driven seed metering unit feeds internal distribution head with air from hydraulic-drive fan. Spring tensioned frame on parallel linkage carries two-row covering harrow.

Key info 

Accord T-S Evo mounted (125mm)

  • 1200, 1700 or 2200-litre hopper
  • 4m (38 row) £24,085
  • 5m (40 row) £24,325
  • 5.6m (44 row) £25,800
  • 6m (48 row) £26,690

Note: Tramlining systems Basic £1340, Signus seed return-to-tank £2330, ESA Isobus electric metering drive £4075; hydraulic fan drive £1135; half width shut off £285; 500-litre hopper extension £425.

Key info: 
Accord T-S Evo mounted (150mm)

  • 1200, 1700 or 2200-litre hopper
  • 4m (26 rows) £21,190
  • 4.8m (32 row) £23,195
  • 5m  £23,730
  • 5.6m (38 row) £24,835
  • 6m (40 row) £25,600

Note: Options as above.

Contact: Kverneland UK

Simba-Horsch Sprinter ST and CO

Depth control or packer tyres precede three rows of coil spring auto reset tines carrying Duett band coulters at 250mm centres; spring tine and other coulter options also available. Followed by covering harrow, staggered depth control/packer tyres and finishing harrow. Electric motor-driven Horsch seed metering unit, external distribution head; hydraulic fan drive. Optional pressurised seed/fertiliser hopper with Duett coulter placing 50mm below seed.

Key info 

Sprinter ST trailed

  • 3000 or 3700-litre hopper
  • 3m (12 175mm bands) £34,148

(larger mounted and trailed models also available)

Note: 3700-litre hopper option +£432; pre-emergence markers £1464; covering harrow £966, 3800-litre seed/fertiliser hopper £3756; seed blockage monitor £1129.

Contact: Simba International

SimTech T-Sem

Single row of plain discs work ahead of each spring tine-mounted Aitchison coulter spaced at 150mm. Creates inverted “T” shaped slot direct into stubbles or can sow into mintill or conventional seed-beds. Tilth firmed by Springflex roller followed by chain covering harrow. Mechanical-drive individual row metering from full-width Aitchison seed box.

Key info: 
 SimTech T-Sem mounted

  • 3m (20 row) £15,750

Note: Roller to replace leading discs on plough seed-bed £1600.

Techmagri Samourai Contour

Three rows of rigid knife coulters at 166mm spacing for min-till or direct seeding carried on straight tubular coulter arms with coil spring pressure control (hydraulic for next year) and depth/press wheel. Preceded by flexi-tyre consolidating roller and followed by sweep-type following harrow. Pto or hydraulically-driven fan and Accord land-wheel or electric drive metering rollers feed distribution head inside hopper.

Key info

 Techmagri Samourai Contour mounted

  • 1300-litre hopper
  • 3m (18 row) £19,000
  • 4m (24 row) £23,000
  • 4m fold (24 row) £26,000
  • 4.8m (29 row) £31,000
  • 1600-litre hopper
  •  6m (36 row) £36,000

(larger trailed model also available)

Note: tramlining kit, area measurement etc standard; pre-emergence markers £1200.

Contact: Techmagri UK


Coil-spring tensioned “C” tines in three rows at 125mm on coulter frame with screw adjustable parallel linkage mounting to main frame. Seed metering with braked land wheel drive, a distributor head in the hopper, and a pto-driven fan.

Key info 

 Weaving mounted

  • 1700-litre hopper
  • 3m (24 row) £9580
  • 4m (32 row) £12,455
  • 4.8m (38 row) £13,875
  • 5m (40 row) £13,875
  • 6m (48 row) £15,925
  • 6.6m (48 row) £16,800

(larger trailed model also available)

Note: radar electronic metering £2925; pre-emergence markers £720 single, £1145 double; half-drill shut off £1655.

Contact: Weaving Machinery


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