The launch by Great Plains of their new minimal disturbance Saxon 3-metre and 4-metre drills follows hard on the heels of the company’s new Centurion 3-metre and 4-metre cultivator drill models.
With the advent of the Saxon range, Great Plains says it can now meet the need for minimal disturbance, operation in heavy residue and, where the soil structure allows, operation in no-till conditions alongside the need for more aggressive cultivations in a plough-based or reduced tillage system.
What is really interesting, however, is that where those different needs exist on the same farm or within the same enterprise, Great Plains claims that only one drill is required whereas previously the customer may have had to consider buying two.
This is because the Turbo Coulters fitted as part of the base specification of the Saxons are, in fact, fully and easily interchangeable with the angled notched cultivation discs which are an integral part of the Centurions’ base specification.
David Holmes, Great Plains UK Sales Director, explains how this could be of major benefit to certain farmers and contractors alike: “What we have found is that, on many farms, the farmer may require a drill that can operate efficiently on a plough-based or reduced tillage establishment system but, depending on his crop rotation and the time of year, he may also want to drill with minimal disturbance and work in heavy residue. He can now perform all of those tasks with just one drill.
“This new concept of total flexibility offers the customer a drill that, on the one hand, only cultivates where the seed is being placed with no disturbance between the rows and, on the other, has full width cultivation as required within a traditional European cultivator drill.
“Both systems operate in front of the 00 Series opener with adjustment providing total control of coulter pressure by maintaining the geometry between the coulter disc and press wheel for consistent depth and seed covering,” he added.
Other than the interchangeability of Turbo Coulters and cultivation discs, the two drills share the same features around seed delivery, seed placement and consolidation.
Both the 3-metre Saxon 300 displayed in June at Cereals and the 4-metre Saxon 400 feature the same 3000-litre capacity hopper as their Centurion counterparts. A 4000-litre hopper is available as an option with the 4-metre models.
A full-width tyre packer offers highly consistent consolidation in front of Great Plains’ well proven 00 Series openers.
The 3-metre drills sow 18 rows (at 167mm spacing) and 24 rows (at 125mm spacing), whilst the 4-metre versions sow 24 and 32 rows respectively. Each 00 Series coulter incorporates a seed flap guiding seed close to the opener bottom to eliminate seed bounce.
Hydraulically adjustable down pressure in the range of 40kg to 160kg ensures the coulters operate at consistent depth in all soil types. New opener rail geometry maximises the accuracy of seeding depth and control over down pressure. New opener rail geometry maximises the transfer of weight to the coulter and press wheel by keeping the coulter arm parallel to the ground. This ensures accuracy of seeding depth and control over down pressure, especially in difficult conditions.
The seed distribution system is variable rate ready. It comprises injection-moulded seed distribution heads with optional tramline shut-offs and seed blockage monitors to accurately deliver seed to each coulter with the ability to shut off each row individually for wider row spacing if required.
The new Saxons and Centurions fold to 3m for transport, the transport weight being carried on the packer with two wheels each side for stability and clearance fitted with 420/55 17 tyres. A full European lighting kit is fitted.
Hopper weigh cells can be fitted as an option. Working via the hydraulic control system, these ensure the hopper’s weight is evenly distributed right across the drill’s width no matter how much grain it contains.
Other options include new hydraulic sprung track eradicators, hydraulic full-width levelling board, press wheel scrapers and harrows, hydraulic bout markers, pre-emergence markers and air or hydraulic brakes.
Control is via a Mueller ISOBUS-ready system and a choice of display terminals is available.