Offering a full range of equipment, Austrian firm Pottinger has big plans to grow its business further. James Rickard reports.
Aiming to grow its turnover from a current 301m Euros to 450m Euros by 2022, it is fair to say Pottinger has big plans for the future. And with 10.3million Euros spent on its drill factory alone, development of seeding technology is no exception.
A recent trip to the drill factory in Bernberg, Germany revealed just how serious Pottinger is with its future plans, and provided us with a look at its latest drill developments including a low disturbance variant of its Terrasem trailed drill and a dual row maize planting option for its Areosem combi-drill.
Established in 1853, the Bernberg facility is Europe’s longest running drill factory. Pottinger acquired it in 2001 from its previous owner Rabe. Since then investment has gone towards modernising facilities, improving work flow, increased use of automation and the building of a new assembly hall.
Following on from the development of its Precision Combi Seeder (PCS), which enables Pottinger’s Aerosem pneumatic drill to plant both cereal crops and maize, the machine is now capable of planting dual rows of maize in a diametric staggered pattern (see diagram).
As before, the Duplex system uses the same type of mechanical singulation metering units, but just twice as many. Similarly, dual rows of maize are achieved by using pairs of the drill’s double disc coulters.
Benefits of this staggered row spacing include better light interception, more efficient nutrient use and more space for roots to develop, says Pottinger. It claims yields can be increased by about 5 per cent.
While not a problem to disc-type Kemper maize headers, the firm says the 125mm row spacing of the pairs of rows still fits in well with combine maize headers.
By making alterations to the distribution head, either electronically or mechanically, the drill’s split tanks allow maize to be drilled with fertiliser applied at the same time or a companion crop.
With single row maize planting, forward speed is limited to about 8kph, but with work shared between twice as many singulation units, forward speeds of the Duplex system are up to 12kph.
The Aerosem drill can be piggy backed onto a power harrow, disc or tine cultivator. Price of the PCS system adds about £4,000 to an Aerosem or £8,000 for the PCS Duplex version.
Extending the capabilities of its trailed Terrasem cultivator drill range, Pottinger has developed a low disturbance version using a novel wave disc design as its cultivator element.
Instead of the conventional two rows of cultivator discs, low disturbance versions are fitted with two rows of waved discs, with each disc lining up with a seed coulter – either at 125mm or 167mm row spacing.
Discs are mounted in pairs and do not run at an angle as their cultivator disc counterparts do. Ideally used after another cultivation method used to encourage chitting, which is then subsequently sprayed off, the aim of the wave discs are to create as little soil disturbance as possible, and prevent further germination of weed seeds.
It is the wave design of the disc which holds the key to Pottinger's latest low disturbance drill development.
For this, the discs run at a shallow working depth, preparing only the seed bed, not the root zone. Disc diameter is 510mm and the wave pattern is said to create positive traction, keeping the disc turning. This allows it to work in a wide variety of conditions, says the manufacturer, unlike straight cut discs which can smear the slot in wet conditions. It also reduces the amount of soil being thrown up.
Depending on row width, wave disc versions of the Terrasem can be about 5 per cent cheaper than cultivator types, and require about 14 per cent less pulling power.
Wave discs cannot be retrofitted to cultivator-type Terrasems; the drill has to be ordered as one or the other.