Planters at Cereals 2013

Planting seed correctly is essential for good yields and cost-effective grain production. Joe Spencer reports.

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The invention of the grain drill by Jethro Tull in 1701 helped transform agriculture by enabling the planting of seeds in neat rows, making weeding easier. Since then, planting methods have continued to evolve steadily. The very latest seeding technology was on display at Cereals 2013 at Boothby Graffoe in the UK. Here are a handful of examples.

The Sumo deep tillage seeder (DTS)
The DTS is based on the principle of ‘strip-till drilling’ – loosening and preparing only a narrow band of soil for the seed. Because the soil in between the bands is not disturbed, less power is required. Working widths range from 3m to 12m, with nine to 36 rows spaced at 333mm.

The 24-row Sumo deep tillage seeder.

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Weaving’s Big-disc drill
This implement can sow all seed sizes, from oil seed rape to beans. The double-disc coulters comprise a big scalloped disc to cut through crop residue, and a plain disc to create a V-shaped furrow for the seed. No other cultivation is required. The coulters are mounted on a parallel linkage, with pressure adjusted by a mechanical spring. Weaving claims that the Big-disc can maintain accurate sowing depths at speeds of up to 15km/h.

Weaving Big-disc direct and minimum-till disc drill.

The Mzuri Pro-Til sub-surface strip tillage drill

This British-made machine cultivates a uniform seedbed and places the seed at a controlled depth, providing the ideal soil environment for each seed to germinate quickly and grow to its full potential. The Pro-Til is specifically designed as a single pass ‘stubble to seed bed’ drill, but is claimed to be equally at home with inversion systems. Being so versatile, whether drilling direct into stubble, used on minimum-tilled land or even used after the plough, the Pro-Til should simplify the transition towards permanent direct drilling.

Celebrating 10 years of development
The Claydon Hybrid is the latest drill to incorporate the company’s patented sowing technology. A product of more than a decade of direct seed drill development, it is proving popular on all soil types throughout the UK and Europe. Features include centrally mounted depth wheels for optimum seed depth and narrow, tungsten carbide-tipped long-life tines for minimal soil disturbance.

Väderstad: now in South Africa
After only a year on the market in Europe, Väderstad’s Temp F planter has already proved popular because of its ease-of-operation, speed and high precision. The latest version allows the farmer to adjust the rate of seed, fertiliser and pesticide on the go. Väderstad equipment is now available in South Africa, where it is marketed by Vitamech of Bellville in the Western Cape.