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Sunday 22 October 2017

Duplex drill doubles up for cereals and maize

Pottinger's new two in one drill, the Aerosem Duplex, is aimed at mid-size farmers and contractors and will be priced at around €48,000.
Pottinger's new two in one drill, the Aerosem Duplex, is aimed at mid-size farmers and contractors and will be priced at around €48,000.
Derek Casey

Derek Casey

Pottinger also used the Bernburg press launch to unveil a versatile one-machine-does-all drill designed for sowing both cereals and maize.

The Aerosem Duplex is aimed at mid-sized farmers and contractors and should avoid the need to own more than one drill to get different crops into the ground. Its capabilities also extend to cover crops, which can be sown at the same time as maize to save making a second pass.

The drills are being assembled at the firm's factory in Bernburg, Germany and are built with the core purpose of getting cereals in the ground, with the maize kit coming as an add-on.

Pottinger says converting from cereals to maize mode is a fairly straightforward task that involves fitting slot formers and firming rollers. Pottinger's new Intelligent Distributor System (IDS) is controlled from the cab and adjusts tramline and crop wheel centres, but it can also be used to blank off coulters and make rate adjustment on the go. Duplex is Pottinger's double row maize drilling option that has been given a new metering unit designed in-house by the firm.

The system removes the need for the vacuum-type arrangement used by most other maize drills. Instead, using a finger metering unit located under the hopper, it picks out single seeds and drops them into the air stream.

The maize seed is planted in 12.5cm staggered rows with 75cm between the double rows to suit a standard maize header.

A stainless-steel firming roller immediately follows the coulter to prevent the seed being blown out of the channel. Fertiliser is placed a coulter's width apart from the seed to avoid crop scorching. Individual pressure of 55kg per coulter should be achievable, maintain Pottinger, and each coulter section can move individually to follow lumps and hollows while planting the seed at a consistent depth. Travel speeds of 12-14kph are attainable.

Hopper options

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A split three-way hopper allows the operator to place fertiliser in the 600kg centre section, flanked by two 300kg compartments for maize seed. The drill can also be used to sow crops between the maize rows using the same hopper configuration.

Pottinger say recent trials of this system in the UK have suggested that drilling a second crop at the same time has no negative affect on maize yields but has a big benefit for soil structure. The new Aerosem Duplex drill is expected to be priced at around €48,000.

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