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However, the arrival of a new, Horsch Avatar single-disc (SD) direct drill should help the Canterbury business provide customers with greater flexibility and more drilling capacity.
Having researched several machines, Payne purchased one of the first units to arrive in New Zealand, collected it from the South Island Agricultural Field Days in Kirwee in March and has been using it ever since.
The Avatar SD drill uses a single-disc coulter set-up that is ideal for direct seeding due to its high (9300kg) tare weight. Individual coulter pressure up to 250kg is said to guarantee excellent soil penetration, while the strong coulter frame eliminates sideways movement and promotes consistent sowing depth, even on uneven soils.
A press wheel catches the seed and ensures optimal seed-to-soil contact, then the closing wheel seals the seed furrow and consolidates the seed row.
Coulter depth control is maintained using a stronger version of the rubber suspension from the Horsch Pronto, while daily maintenance is virtually eliminated due to the rubber suspension and fully sealed coulter setup.
Despite the Avatar’s weight, which is necessary for good penetration, power requirement remains low, helped by 36-disc coulters arranged on two bars.
The 6m and 8m versions of the Avatars, using the extremely accurate and reliable metering system of the Pronto DC drills for its seed distribution, can be specified with a 3500L single hopper (seed only) or a 5000L double hopper (seed and fertiliser).
A smaller 4m Avatar is available with a 2800L single hopper or a 3800L double hopper. The drill features a half-width shutoff for the seed and fertiliser bins, further improving the versatility for tramline set-up or for section control. All options allow for an additional 200L small seed box.
“The thing I like the most is the precision of the metering system. It’s the most accurate drill I have ever seen and I was really impressed with that,” Payne says.
“It has a pressurised hopper and it gives an even calibration when you are using different product in the different bins. The split hopper can still be filled with seed if required, giving 5000L capacity and helping reduce the number of fillings during the day.”
Payne also notes that the ability to place fertiliser while drilling gives him and his customers more options.
“My clients have the choice to drill with both seed and fertiliser. We can put the fertiliser in under the soil next to the seed, so it is going to act quickly,” he adds.
“Drilling is more accurate than truck spreading and it will give the farmer savings on fertiliser.”