John Deere drill aids blackgrass control

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With the 740A Min-Till drill and the 750A All-Till drill, John Deere has two machines to cover the range of drilling systems from conventional to zero tillage.

Featured on the John Deere stand at Cereals 2016, the 750A All-Till seed drill is available in 3, 4 and 6m versions. This versatile drill has a field proven Accord air seeding system, and is designed with large clearances for no-till drilling into stubble, working after minimum or conventional cultivations, and single pass operation for grassland and rough pasture renovation.

Single pass drilling offers several advantages over a conventional ploughing regime, including lower establishment costs, reduced nitrate leaching and increased conservation of moisture within the soil. In addition, the 750A’s minimal soil disturbance at the point of drilling offers huge benefits for the control of blackgrass.

The 750A requires a minimum of 80 to 140hp and can work at up to 6ha/hr, depending on conditions, at seeding depths from 13 to 90mm. Seed is applied at a rate of 1 to over 400kg/ha via a central 1000-litre hopper and single metering system on the 3m version, 1800-litre hopper and single metering system on the 4m unit, or a 2300-litre hopper and twin metering units on the 6m model, which folds down to 3m for transport.

A single 46cm angled disc opens the furrow at 16.6cm row spacings, and has a depth gauge wheel mounted alongside to provide excellent seeding depth control. A semi-pneumatic press wheel pushes the seed to the bottom of the furrow for perfect seed to soil contact, and a cast iron closing wheel completes the job. There are 18 openers on the 3m model, 24 on the 4m and 36 on the 6m version.

There is also adjustable hydraulic down pressure of up to 250kg on each furrow opener, to handle the toughest soil and crop residue conditions – typically this would be below 50kg for most situations. This means the drill delivers consistent seed depth and excellent seed to soil contact for maximum germination. Fore-to-aft clearance is 1.2m, and under-frame clearance 60cm, to allow a virtually unobstructed flow of crop stubble and soil residues through the machine.

In operation, the 750A creates very little soil disturbance outside of the small slot opened by the single disc. This makes it ideal for drilling into stale seedbeds created for blackgrass control, where unnecessary soil movement could encourage further competitive weed seed germination and subsequent yield loss.

Other features include row marker and automatic tramline systems, micro metering for fine seeds, and an integral two-point hitch. All models incorporate hydraulically actuated brakes or an optional air braking system. The 750A All-Till drill also features the Signus electronic seeding control as standard, with all functions operated and monitored from the tractor cab.

The tractor monitor assists with calibration and gives a variety of readouts including forward speed, area worked (field and total), area worked per hour and tramline rhythm control, which is triggered by the drill coulters lifting out of the ground. This tells the operator which tramline run the drill is on as it moves across the field.

Deere’s optional AMS GreenStar ISOBUS precision farming system offers all the same features plus up to 16 memory fields, electronic calibration, variable seed rates and extra tramlining controls that allow the operator to lock the rhythm control on and off, for example. With a StarFire satellite receiver fitted to the tractor, the operator can utilise GPS guided parallel tracking or AutoTrac automatic steering for even greater accuracy, without the need to use the drill’s hydraulic tramline markers.

The 740A Min-Till drill is available in working widths of 6, 8 and 9m, with hopper capacities of 2300 or 3500 litres and a common transport width of 3m. Use of this drill can save farmers time and free up larger tractors for other, heavier work, compared with conventional primary plus secondary tillage and drilling systems.

It also features an active hydraulic system and John Deere’s patented double disc openers. The drill can be used with lower horsepower tractors for high output drilling at working speeds of 8 to 14kph in minimum tillage conditions, as well as in more conventionally prepared seedbeds. Row spacing is from 15 to 15.3cm depending on model; the 6m version has 40 openers, the 8m version has 52 and the 9m has 60, staggered for better residue flow through the machine.

The double disc openers are made from cast aluminium and feature 1.25cm offset high-strength steel disc blades to cut the seed slot, with large dimension rubber press wheels to accurately control seeding depth. A simple, tool-free adjustment provides working depths of 12 to 70mm, and there is adjustable hydraulic down pressure of up to 50kg on each opener, ensuring good soil penetration.

All models feature track eradicators, to take out the tractor and drill wheelings so that the machines can drill into a more even seedbed. In addition, the two larger models’ floating flex wings feature a dual or triple gauge wheel option for extra stability and to prevent the drill digging in at headlands.

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