Pottinger, the Austrian machinery giant, has showcased its latest advancement in seed drilling technology – the Aerosem PCS Duplex.
The company, which is probably best known to Irish farmers and contractors through its range of silage wagons and other forage equipment lines, has invested heavily in its tillage and seed-drilling products in recent years.
Tillage and drilling equipment, says Pottinger, accounted for 28% of its sales during the 2015-2016 financial year. In fact, revenue from sales of seed drills alone increased by 20% compared with the previous year.
One of the most recent innovations from Pottinger is the PCS (Precision Combi Seeder) Duplex system, which can be specified on Aerosem 3002, 3502 and 4002 drills.
Pottinger’s Aerosem PCS Duplex seed drill has been described as a 'true' multi-purpose machine – as it can sow a wide range of seeds, including cereals, grass and maize.
Switching from one crop to another is apparently easy; you just adjust the number of seeds per m² on the operator's terminal, fold over a partition in the seed tank and, finally, fit 'firming' rollers and slot-forming devices.
What sets the machine apart?
Christoph Schuerz, Pottinger's Area Sales Manager for Northern Europe, touched on some of the key features of the newly-developed seeding system.
The system, he explained, uses a well-known American-designed maize seed metering system and is not reliant on a vacuum.
“This approach allows for the controlled and accurate distribution of maize seeds,” he said.
"The feed-bin on the Aerosem machines can be split into multiple compartments, allowing for the application of fertiliser and the sowing of crops simultaneously.
The Aerosem's coulters typically deliver 55kg of pressure, but additional springs can be used [on the coulters] when depositing the maize seeds.
"These springs provide an additional 15-20% of downward pressure, to ensure that a firm seed-bed is created."
Another key benefit of Pottinger's coulter system, he said, is the absence of grease nipples. On other machines, he explained, these can block – which can cause damage when used in dry weather conditions.
Double-row planting of maize
Schuerz also discussed the facility for double-row planting of maize crops – a key feature of Pottinger's Aerosem PCS Duplex system.
This system, he said, plants maize seeds in a triangular pattern – at a seed spacing of 12.5cm between each individual row in the 'doubled-spaced' seed-bed.
Each 'double-spaced' row is 75cm apart, which allows for “optimum crop growth and ease of harvesting”.
This method of sowing has enabled maize silage yield increases of 11%, the company claims.
Shaun Groom, the company’s UK General Manager, added that the system can also be used to sow an additional crop either side of each row of maize. The use of white fescue grass varieties, he said, in between each row of maize has been shown to improve soil conditions and trafficability at harvest time.
New system to hit Irish shores in 2018
Irish farmers can expect to see the Aerosem PCS Duplex seed drill here in Ireland next year.
Diarmuid Claridge, General Manager for Pottinger (Ireland), said: "I hope to bring in one of these machines next spring – with a view to conducting trials in maize somewhere in south of the country".