A precision-sowing option for a popular brand of strip-till drill brings the benefits of minimal-disturbance establishment to row crops such as maize.
Strip-till systems, like the one from UK manufacturer Mzuri, is proving popular as farmers look to discourage grassweed seeds from germinating by only cultivating strips where the seed is placed. However, one limitation up to now has been a lack of a precision-seeding option.
The conversion available from Mzuri for its Pro-Til grain and oilseeds drills comprises electric motor-driven seeding units attached to existing coulter arms and fed from a hopper divided to carry seed and fertiliser.
Fertiliser is transported by flexible tubes to the back of the narrow soil-loosening tines attached to a toolbar across the front of the tractor-drawn drill. A row of tyres arranged in a staggered formation for trash clearance and stability consolidates the narrow strip of tilth they produce.
Slim winged coulters carried on trailing arms then open a slot for the seed, after which a pneumatic press wheel firms the tilth for optimum seed-to-soil contact to encourage prompt and even germination.
Mzuri explains that using an individual electric motor for each of the singulating precision-seeding units not only simplifies the drive mechanism, it also provides accurate compensation for varying ground speed to maintain a consistent seed rate.
Mzuri says moisture retention, fertiliser placement and reconsolidation of tilth immediately after sowing have been proven to play a key role in successful crop establishment and that the Pro-Til is configured to deliver that, working direct into stubbles.
The Pro-Til is available as 3m mounted and trailed units and in 4m and 6m trailed sizes.
All trailed versions are available with divided steel tanks – the 3,400-litre size on all but the 6m drill is split, with 2,040 litres for seed and 1,360 litres for fertiliser. Select versions can also retract alternate tines and coulters to double the standard 333mm row spacing.
Mzuri’s new precision-sowing option will be available on new drills and to retrofit to machines already in service.