When Peter Norman of B E Norman & Sons, Hall Farm, Wisset, Nr Halesworth, ordered his new 4 metre DP400A Moore drill in May 2004, he had never even seen one in the flesh. “I liked the look of the coulter system” he said “and knew that because it was in effect, a similar principle of depth control to a sugar beet drill, but much more heavy duty, it would easily cope with our variations of soil type from kind easy worked soils through to heavy clays.”
“I also liked the fact that the Moore drill could be used as a direct drill as well as work on minimum and conventional cultivations. My father and brother saw the drill at work for the first time at Cereals, and were suitably impressed that we had made the right choice.”
The new drill went to work on 250 acres of rape and 350 acres of wheat in September 2004, after and indeed during a fairly challenging harvest.”
The rape was established following three different tillage regimes. Some direct drilled, some following the farm’s Flat Lift and some following a Cousins type 28 cultivator. This consists of 2 rows of tines, a spring levelling board, and two rows of packer razor rings.
“On kinder land there was no difference in the establishment of either system, which will encourage us to direct drill more next year, but on the heavier soils it was better behind the Flat Lift, probably due to the compaction from the wet harvest.”
“We intended to carry out more minimal cultivations with the Flat Lift and type 28 for wheat this year, but due to the harvest damage, ended up ploughing followed by the type 28 on the majority of the 350 acres, and resorting to plough and power harrow on the worst of it, but it was all drilled with the Moore in some pretty appalling conditions.”
“The simplicity, and fact that the drill moves very little soil whilst keeping the seed covered at a constant depth meant we could keep going.”
“We normally plough, roll, power harrow, drill and roll but this year we didn’t use rolls at all and I have to say that the drill never blocked once with trash and I particularly like the two section folding wings for road transport which also makes maintenance very easy, with no need to climb underneath.”
“So even though we didn’t use min till for wheat as we would have liked, we still saved on passes and the associated costs, and establishment is superb.”
The 4 metre drill was pulled by a 135 hp McCormick which was quite adequate for the job.
“The drill might seem like a very expensive piece of kit on 600 acres, but I reckon that it will have paid for itself in 5 more seasons and it’s built to last a lot, lot longer that that.”
Variable soil types persuaded North Lincolnshire farmer Richard Marris to try a Moore Tandem Unidrill in Autumn 2004 on demo. A light sandy field following lupins was prepared using a variety of techniques, ranging from direct drilling, one pass of a Vaderstad carrier and a carrier on two passes.
Establishment and subsequent harvesting, showed no difference in yield, and so the decision was made to purchase a DP400A to replace a 4.0m power harrow/drill combination for the Autumn 2005 drilling campaign.
More than 600 acres were established in a variety of seedbeds at Cockthorn Farm, Scotton, Near Gainsborough, and the results have been impressive.
Drilling rates have nearly doubled to 80 acres/day, compared to the combination unit, using the same tractor, a Case MX135, with the same amount of diesel.
Seed rates have been dropped by 30% and establishment has been superior, especially on the heavier clay land.
“The individual heavy rear press wheels really follow the ground contours, closing and pressing the seed furrow in a way that a conventional Cambridge roller never can,” said Richard Marris. “This has not only given superior seed/soil contact, which is necessary for good establishment, but has also cut down on our slug problem, with pellet application down a further 40% on normal.”
Moore Unidrill has also been playing with the big boys, with its recent field trial of the first Tandem Unidrill DP800H. Spring barley has been successfully drilled in County Louth, Republic of Ireland, where Moore Unidrills’ Martin Ramsay got his hands on a 930 Fendt using the new 8.0m Unidrill featuring a Horsch seed tank and radar seed drive. The machine folds to 3.0m
“This drill shrinks fields,” Mr Ramsay said.
For more information contact 02872 664444.
Vale of York-based farmer and contractor CC Allison & Sons took delivery of a new Moore 4m Tandem drill in August 2006. The firm farms 700 acres, plus contract work, growing combinable crops on variable soils ranging from sand to heavy clay.
“Since August 2006, the drill has covered almost 2,000 acres sowing oilseed rape, cereals and grass with no problems,” said Colin Allison.
“With a large acreage to sow, we need a drill that can cover the ground quickly and efficiently, which the Tandem achieves with its low horsepower requirement and high working speeds.”
High speed operation is possible because the weight of the drill is carried on rolling parts consisting of the front press wheels, the discs and the rear press wheels, which means there is very little drag on the soil. Only the soil in which the seed is to be placed is disturbed, which means that a 4m metre Tandem can be pulled at speeds of 15km/h with 140hp and cover 80- 100 acres in a day.
“As contractors we get asked to drill in a wide range of conditions and soil types following various types of cultivation equipment from direct drilling to shallow cultivations and flat lifting to plough and power harrow systems,”
Mr Allison said. “The majority of our heavy land is prepared using a Shakaerator before or after a disc roller, which mixes in the trash whether it is stubble or chopped straw and creates a good tilth.”
The Tandem system deals with the trash very effectively by firming the ground first with the front press wheels, which carry much of the weight of the drill. Then the disc and coulter can cut through the trash and place the seed at an even depth on varying soil types.
Because each pair of disc coulters has a large amount of independent movement, the seed is placed accurately on uneven and undulating ground. The seed is then pressed firmly into place by the rear press wheels which means rolling is not usually needed unless slugs are expected to be a problem.
The Moore Tandem has the ability to work in varying conditions with minimal adjustments, which can be made without the need for any tools. The depth of the drill is adjusted by simply adding or removing various sized wedges from the front of the press wheels.
The pitch of the drill is also adjusted in the same way on the ram at the front of the drill, which can be used to transfer more weight to the front press wheels or put the weight to the rear press wheels.
This option can also be used to put more weight on the front of the drill in wet conditions and reduce the pressure put on the rear press wheels. Then, when sowing into very dry seedbeds or sowing small seeds shallow, more weight can be put on the rear press wheels to achieve good seed-to-soil contact, which results in good even germination and reduced slug problems.
This method of drilling has established some very even crops of oilseed rape by being able to set the drill very shallow and still be able to cover the seed and leave it pressed firm, especially if the seedbed is rolled before the drill.
“We have used the Tandem in many different situations this season – including direct drilling, min-till and ploughed seedbeds – from the dust in August to the mud in November,” Mr Allison said. “In all cases, the crop establishment has been excellent and the drill has been very easy to operate and maintain.
“The Moore Tandem is one drill for all situations.”
For more information contact 02827 664444; or visit: www.minimum-tillage.com.