FARM EQUIPMENT REVIEW: November 06 W
By Top Crop Manager
Tillage and seeding
Over the last year, dozens of new models and designs of farm machinery have
been introduced by manufacturers. Many of you will have seen these introductions
at farm shows and in various industry announcements – but, can you remember
the details? This feature provides a reference for you.
While Top Crop Manager editors make every effort to be objective
when reporting on new products, they cannot be held responsible for claims made
by companies. Readers are encouraged to contact the companies for more details.
The widest brings efficiency
The new 80 foot Seed Master drill was designed and built for a Saskatchewan
farm family that decided it made more sense to seed their crops with one extra
wide seeding unit rather than the two 54 foot seeders the have pulled in the
"We thought if we could eliminate some iron in the field, we would save
on equipment costs and burn less fuel," explains Alfred Bechard, who operates
Be-ver Farms, a 10,000 acre grain farm near Sedley, Saskatchewan, with his son
Ron, his son-in-law Joel Cavers and his grandson, Ben Cavers.
Bechard says they can now operate with one less tractor and seeding unit in
the field, Be-ver Farms is saving about $1.00 per acre over its 10,000 acres,
plus crops were seeding in 17 days with the 80 foot drill: just one day longer
than it took to do the same job with two smaller drills the year before.
Be-ver Farms pulled the 80 foot Seed Master with one of the same 450 horsepower
tractors that pulled the 54 foot drills. Bechard estimates he only fuelled up
every 16 hours compared to every 12 hours with the smaller seed drills last
spring. He says the Seed Master's seed depth control is the reason it is so
light pulling. Its dual knife openers attach to separate shanks with packer
wheels on the end that follow the ground independently of the frame, setting
the seed depth for each row.
"One of the challenges of building wider drills is the need to reinforce
the structural strength of the wings," says Norbert Beaujot of Straw Track
Manufacturing. As they pull through the field, the drag on the openers flexes
the wings back which can cause metal fatigue. Beaujot solved that problem by
designing an active wing brace for the 80 foot Seed Master. Instead of using
a fixed piece of steel which would eventually break at the weld points where
it attaches to the frame, Beaujot created a moving brace. It consists of hydraulic
cylinders attached to the end of steel cables on each wing. The active brace
pulls the wings forward to match the backward pull of the openers as they drag
through the soil.
Straw Track Manufacturing
John Deere has introduced two new air hoe drills that increase productivity.
The 1835 air hoe drill applies fertilizer and seed in one pass. The openers,
integrated with a 1910 air cart and variable rate seeding and fertilizer system,
accurately place nitrogen, potassium and sulphur based fertilizers separate
from the seed.
Placement systems feature active hydraulic down-force, depth gauging at the
opener, low soil and residue disturbance and a positive closing system to lock-in
dry, liquid or gas forms of nitrogen. The opener ensures accurate application
of nitrogen precisely when it is needed and helps to reduce overall fertilizer
cost by 10 to 15 percent.
Another big change for both the 1830 and 1835 air hoe drills is the frame design,
which has undergone an advanced and rigorous testing program to ensure durability.
John Deere is backing these air hoe drills with a three year frame warranty.
The new design has robust ball joints to enable the frame to flex diagonally,
relieving stress on solid frame members and avoiding frame failures.
The drills seed smoothly over uneven terrain because of the flex-frame design.
The diagonal mainframe and wing flex help the openers hold their depth over
varying soil conditions. The end result is uniform crop emergence, which is
essential to meeting maximum yield potential.
Depth control settings are made easy with the new drills. The operator has
a choice of two depth control options. Base equipment on the drills includes
indexed depth shim packs and the new air hoe drills feature a reduction of adjustment
sites by 60 percent. Another option is the convenient TouchSet depth control
which allows the operator to make depth adjustments from the cab of the tractor
on-the-go. This is an easy adjustment and very important in variable field conditions
to help maintain consistent seed depth.
Growers have three choices for standards on the air hoe drills. The TruPosition
standard, with a 550 pound trip force; the TruPosition standard, with a 350
pound trip force for rocky fields; and the spring cushion standard for light-duty
Another feature of the air hoe drills includes a simplified hydraulic lift
circuit with a reduction in the number of hydraulic cylinders. This system ensures
consistent depth from mainframe to wing and maintains excellent seeding performance
throughout the entire width of the machine. No re-phasing of the cylinders is
needed and there are fewer hydraulic components and hoses to maintain.
Flexible frame improves seed depth
New Holland's SD550 air hoe drill delivers simple, precise seed placement with
a working width up to 70 feet. A fold-up system allows the SD550 to fold up
to a 17ft8in transport width for safe, more convenient transport on roads. Single-point
depth setting provides consistent control across the entire machine for exact,
repeatable seed depth.
The SD550 features a flexible frame that allows each wing and press wheel to
follow the contours of the field independently without affecting adjacent sections.
Depth accuracy is assured from the front to the rear of the machine with a two-wing
piece. The front two ranks follow terrain at a depth set by the nearby caster
assemblies, and the rear two ranks follow the ground on which the press wheels
run. The flexible frame also dissipates frame stress, which provides more durability
as compared to traditional welded joints.
- The SD550 features numerous configuration choices to match a variety of
- A variety of Stealth openers for single-shoot, double-shoot side-band and
paired row allow operators to match anhydrous application according to seeding
style. Operators can put seed and anhydrous right where it is needed with
one piece of equipment.
- Multiple packing choices, including gang-style press wheels in semi-pneumatic,
steel or walking beam pneumatic, allow the operator to match the drill to
specific conditions. A patented, variable packing pressure system allows the
operator to easily change packing pressure from field to field.
- Customized soil closing options include single bar, heavy harrow or disc
- For extra tough conditions and double-shoot operations, there is a choice
of 350 pound standard trips or 550 pound trips.
- Transporting the SD550 is easy due to the innovative design that utilizes
all tires during transport for an extremely smooth ride when moving from field
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