Reduced passes with Kverneland f-drill

Spreading weight and managing compaction is an important aspect of seedbed production for A & PR Sykes based at Greenside Farm, Rawcliffe, Humberside. 

Reduced passes with Kverneland f-drill

Across its sand and silty loam soils, the 250-acre family-run farm produces around 20 different vegetable crops for local and wholesale markets, alongside winter wheat, winter barley and sugar beet.

“We had been using a 4m pneumatic folding drill for combinable crops, with land ploughed and power harrowed to get the seedbed quality we need,” explains Patrick Sykes, pictured, who farms with parents Allan and Beryl.

“A five-furrow LD85 is used to plough quite deep to restore soil structure after sugar beet, then we’ll work down the land ready for drilling,” he adds.

Patrick says that most of the farm gets power harrowed twice each season ahead of drilling, so when the time came to replace the farm’s 20-year-old drill, a power harrow drill combination was at the top of his wish-list.

“We reasoned that a combination would enable us to drill while making our second pass with a power harrow, instead of having to come back and drill separately,” he says. “It would save a pass, which meant burning less fuel, and we could get the job done in fewer hours, with less labour.”

With modest tractor power to consider, the Sykes’ looked at the f-drill combination, which operates with a front-mounted seed tank and a harrow-mounted toolbar. But rather than opt for a 4m folding version, Mr Sykes opted for a 3.5m fixed width to accommodate 21m tramlines, based around an NG-H power harrow using a 28-row toolbar with CX-II disc coulters and press wheels.

“A 4m folding machine would have been too heavy on the back of our John Deere 6830, so we chose a 3.5m width that enables us to get around local roads without compromising on output,” he says. “We already use a 3.5m power harrow, so having another one to match was always going to be beneficial.”

“Up front, we opted for the 1,600-litre f-drill Compact hopper, as we don’t have a telehandler. The low loading height of the hopper meant we could fill using a tractor loader, or with our masted forklift truck.”

Patrick says that with seed in the hopper, the outfit balances extremely well, and given the farm’s small field sizes, output is up to 25 acres/day.

“The power harrow and its toolbar is quite heavy on its own, so it made sense to split the weight between the front and rear of the tractor,” he says. “We had to get a front linkage fitted to the 6830, and have added wheel track eradicators.”

“And without a hopper on the back, I have a really good view across the toolbar,” he says.

Patrick Sykes says that seed placement has been impressive, with he and Allan noting the even germination across all its cereal crops.

“We’ve gone from Suffolk coulters that lacked control, to disc coulters and press wheels with easy pressure adjustment,” he says. “There are no odd rows appearing here and there, it all came up in one go, removing any variation from growth stages.”

“And if I want to vary the seed rate for those poorer areas in a field, I can move +/- 10% on the Tellus GO+ control box,” he says. “It’s quite easy to operate.”

Want to speak to a specialist?

E-Mail Simon Wills, Kverneland seeding specialist:

Kverneland Satio - the new solo drill

Kverneland Satio - the new solo drill

Satio is a new model of pneumatic drill. Tractor-mounted, this lightweight, close-coupled solo unit has been developed for smaller tractors and is avail...

Kverneland Qualidisc goes wider

Kverneland Qualidisc goes wider

The Qualidisc compact disc harrow range now extends to a 12.25m working width, following the arrival of the trailed Qualidisc T.

Do you require more info?