With Agritechnica looming, many manufacturers have taken the opportunity to preview their latest products with dedicated events, not least Vaderstad with new drills and a clever automatic calibration system. James Rickard reports.
Now available in working widths of 3m and 4m, Vaderstad has extended its trailed Spirit drill offering with the addition of smaller models.
However, they are more than just a scaled down version of the current Spirit range which goes up to 9m, says the manufacturer, and have been redesigned from the ground up with a lighter frame using a central beam design, more suited to this size of drill.
Like their bigger brothers, the new R 300S and R 400S (R for rigid) can be equipped with the firm’s tablet-based E-Control system and its newly developed SeedEye (see panel) automatic calibration system.
Comprising a row of levelling paddles, two gangs of discs, a tyre packer and disc coulters, row spacing can be either 125mm or 167mm.
The two gangs of discs are configured in an ‘X’ formation, designed so that they pull straight and true behind the tractor. Disc diameter is 450mm and their working depth adjusted hydraulically on the move.
Offset packer/support wheels are now more offset compared to the larger machines, fitted with 400/55-15.5 radial tyres. This allows for better soil flow and use in tricky conditions, says the firm. A new tyre design also affords better self cleaning.
A moulded seed hopper has a capacity of 2,800 litres and features a large lid for easy filling, along with a platform located to the side of the hopper.
The drill’s fan is located high up and integrated into the front of the seed hopper to minimise the intake of dust, and at the same time protect sensitive components.
Air distribution has also been adapted for smaller tractors, 110hp plus, with low oil requirements, says the manufacturer.
A highlight of the new drill is the electrically-driven Fenix III feed system. Able to handle everything from 1kg up to 500kg of seed per hectare of speeds up to 15kph, its design sees a flexible, rubber seed metering unit used, which creates a seal between the hopper, which is gravity fed, and the air flow to the distribution heads, which are pressurised. It is essentially like using a pressurised seed hopper and allows for the more efficient use of air to distribute seed.
The feed is distributed between two small distributor heads, allowing half width shut off.
Keeping the triangle beam to mount coulter on, seed placement is performed with a 380mm offset ‘V’ disc and 380mm by 65mm consolidation wheel.
Heavy duty or light duty following harrows can be specified.
Harrow and coulter pressure can be adjusted on the move from the cab.
Production of the Spirit R begins in 2016 with availability from next autumn.
Designed for use with Vaderstad’s Spirit R 300-400S, Rapid A 400-800S and Rapid A 600-800C drills, the firm has developed a new, automatic calibration system.
Without the need to perform a traditional calibration test, users can now just set the desired number of seeds per square meter and let the technology/machine take care of the rest.
The system requires sensors placing in each seed hose which use six optical transistors each, illuminated with infrared light. When a light beam is interrupted by a seed passing by, the optical transistor registers a break in the flow of light.
The total number of breaks is registered and processed, enabling the seed volume to be specified with high accuracy, says the manufacturer. Vaderstad claim it can count rape seed with approximately 99 per cent accuracy. The value for wheat and other grains is about 98-99 per cent at 250 seeds per second. SeedEye can also compensate for dust and residue which can gather in the sensors.
Vaderstad’s founder, Crister Stark says; “Counting seeds is more exact than calculating quantities based on weight. However, should the system go wrong, calibration can always be done in the traditional method.”
To work, the operator sets the desired seed volume per square meter via an iPad, using the firm’s E-Control system, without needing to climb out of the cab. Regardless of tractor speed, the drill’s radar then measures seed drill speed, and E-Control continuously calculates seed volume and adjusts the electrical seed feed to match the desired seed rate.
If a blockage occurs in the seed hose, SeedEye will also detect this and sound an audible warning in the cab.
SeedEye will be available from autumn next year. Prices TBC.
Since its introduction in the early 90s, the Rapid drill has gone on to be one of Vaderstad’s greatest success stories, and now it has been updated once again incorporating a facelift and several elements to increase reliability.
As well as the incorporation of SeedEye (see panel), its fan is now integrated into the front of the seed hopper and placed higher up, minimising dust intake and consequently wear.
The seed hopper has also been redesigned with integrated work lights and its platform steps tweaked to provide better access. New steps over the drawbar also make it safer and easier to get from one side of the drill to the other without having to walk all the way round.
New hubs on the machine’s discs are now fully sealed and require no maintenance, claims Vaderstad. It also gets a new wing lock mechanism, making it easier to switch from transport to working position.
Its wheel press now features a stronger design which incorporates individual suspension for each wheel providing up to 100kg of pressure. This, says the firm, provides better consolidation packing for the wings and steadies the drill.
Production of the updated Rapid A 400-800S drills start this autumn.
Following its introduction last year, Vaderstad is adding smaller models to its range of Opus tine cultivators.
Adding to the Opus 600 and 700 are the new smaller 400 and 500 models. As alluded to by their model names they offer working widths of 4m and 5m respectively. Both are trailed and fold for transport.
Built on the same frame as their bigger brothers, the new models feature three rows of tines, a set of levelling discs and a choice of rollers.
Tine spacing is 270mm with a clearance of 800mm. A wide assortment of points and shins are available allowing the cultivator to be adapted to various conditions. Tines have a variable break back force of up to 700kg and can work down to 400mm deep. A parallelogram linkage allows the levelling unit to be kept level in relation to the rest of the machine.
At the rear, the firm’s SoilRunner U-profile, double packer roller affords soil-on-soil consolidation. As an alternative, Vaderstad’s SteelRunner packer roller, with pivoting scrapers, can be specified, ideally suited to medium weight to clay soils, says the manufacturer.
Production of the new models starts this autumn.