Min-till drill offers faster drilling speeds from low hp

Kuhn Farm Machinery has made its official UK launch of a new 6-metre minimum tillage drill that is capable of being pulled by a 200 hp tractor and drilling accurately at forward working speeds up to 17km/h.

Speaking at the 2015 Cereals event at Boothby Graffoe in Lincolnshire, Duncan McLeish, UK Sales Manager for Kuhn Farm Machinery explained that forward operating speed is a key priority when drilling new crops. “The ability to drill quickly is vital to ensuring that crops are sown at the optimum time and when soil conditions are at their best,” he said. “But this speed should never be at the expense of accuracy. Nor should it compromise overall operational efficiency, which means horsepower requirements should also be a consideration.”

Kuhn’s new ESPRO minimum tillage drill has a 6-metre working width and has been designed with an equal focus on three key aspects of the drilling process: speed, accuracy and efficiency. The new machine uses the best of Kuhn’s existing seed drilling technologies and expertise as well as a selection of innovative design elements.

“Two rows of 460mm concave discs open the soil, incorporate all residues into the surface layers and create a fine tilth, even in heavy conditions,” Mr McLeish continues.

“These discs are followed, in the centre of the drill, by a row of 900mm diameter press wheels which create an evenly consolidated soil profile for consistent soil-to-seed contact.”

The large diameter of the press wheel helps to reduce the overall rolling resistance of the ESPRO, with the deep-treaded tyres also augmenting improved soil crumbling for a finer tilth. The tyres also feature a specially designed square profile to ensure uniform consolidation across the machine’s full working width. The press wheels are also arranged in a front-to-rear offset design to further reduce rolling resistance, with 85mm inter-wheel spaces helping to minimise soil bulldozing and maintain good soil flow.

Further innovation comes with the CROSSFLEX seed bar, which has coulter arms mounted on polyurethane blocks that provide a secure fixing but with sufficient spring movement to maintain a precise seed depth at high working speeds. Double disc coulters, as used on Kuhn’s successful SEEDFLEX system, provide the precision seed placement required for optimum crop performance.

The ESPRO is ISOBUS compatible and can be operated via Kuhn’s CCI200 (ISOBUS) or VT50 (non-ISOBUS) terminals. A joystick is also available as an option. Regardless of the control box selected, the operator is provided with an easy to use interface combining touch screen and soft keys.

To facilitate headland turns, the drill is equipped with a headland management mode whereby, at the touch of a button, the working elements are lifted in sequence on approaching the headland to allow drilling to continue right up to the field edge. The metering unit stops when the front tools are lifted to ensure that seed in the delivery hoses is placed in the soil before the elements are lifted: thereby avoiding any seed being left on the soil surface. Once the turn is completed, the sequence is reversed.

Calibration is simple and can be completed in less than five minutes, and the front working discs, seeding depth and coulter pressure can all be set and adjusted using easy to access clips on hydraulic cylinders; there is no need to climb in or over the machine to make adjustments.

The ESPRO has also been designed to be easy to maintain and provide reliability throughout the season. Front working and seeding discs have sealed bearings (zero maintenance) and elsewhere there are a minimum number of pivot points and moving sections which require attention.

Additional options include track eradicators, front press wheels, pre-emergence markers and hydraulic or pneumatic brake systems.

“All in all, the ESPRO features all the elements required to enable time-critical seed drilling operations to be carried out quickly and accurately,” Mr McLeish concludes. “And with a power requirement of less than 35hp per metre of working width, the ESPRO can be used with tractors with just 200hp, making it suited to the majority of modern farming businesses, as well as larger scale arable contractors.”

The 6-metre ESPRO 6000 R and a 3-metre ESPRO 3000 version will be available in limited quantities from summer 2015. Other models and working widths will follow in the coming years.

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