Sow good

Ama­zone Cir­rus 6003-2C seeder

Farms & Farm Machinery - - Contents -

The new Ama­zone Cir­rus 6003-2C trail­ing disc seeder is de­signed to save time, money and man­power due to its abil­ity to cul­ti­vate, re­con­sol­i­date the soil, sow and roll in a sin­gle pass.

With the ad­di­tion of a GreenDrill 500 seeder box it can also sow catch crops or ap­ply slug bait dur­ing the same pass.

Re­cently I had the op­por­tu­nity to do a bit of sow­ing with an Ama­zone Cir­rus 6006-2C at a lit­tle place called Terip Terip.

What started out as a pleas­ant four-and-a-half-hour drive from War­rnam­bool on the Vic­to­rian south coast to Melbourne, then up the Hume Hwy to Euroa where the fi­nal half-hour leg to Terip Terip be­gan, turned out to be a lit­tle trick­ier then I first an­tic­i­pated.

Who­ever said mod­ern nav­i­ga­tion equip­ment was the way of the fu­ture ob­vi­ously has never made the trek to Terip Terip. Once I turned off the Hume at Euroa, my nor­mally re­li­able Google Maps app had me zig zag­ging my way some­where be­tween the Mafek­ing Rover Park and the Gobur and Yarck Na­ture Con­ser­va­tion Re­serves.

The wind­ing, dusty tracks took me past some mag­nif­i­cent look­out sights, and if you thought you had stony coun­try, you need to get up into this area for a look. The stones seem to gather to­gether like pre­his­toric com­mu­ni­ties on top of hills and rises as if to stand guard over the sur­round­ing coun­try­side.

Th­ese mono­lithic mar­vels of na­ture are smooth like mar­bles but each one is the size of a house. Ev­ery now and then, a rogue stone can be found at the bot­tom of a hill all by it­self, as if it’s taken off in an at­tempt to es­cape the main group. It doesn’t get far once it hits the flat, and I can only imag­ine its ac­tions have con­demned it to a soli­tary ex­is­tence for the last mil­lion years or so.

And, al­though the weather was a long way from ideal, with hot and dusty con­di­tions on day one fol­lowed by wet, soggy soils from heavy overnight rain and gale-force winds that nearly blew the yel­low-tailed cock­ies out of the trees, the Cir­rus 6003-2C disc seeder per­formed equally well over both days.

It proved that that it could re­main op­er­a­tional and con­tinue to get the job done in a va­ri­ety of weather and soil con­di­tions.

THE RUN­DOWN

The Ama­zone Cir­rus 6003-2C 6-me­tre seed drill has a 4000-litre dual hopper with a 60/40 split bin con­fig­u­ra­tion to com­bine si­mul­ta­ne­ous seed and fer­tiliser ap­pli­ca­tions.

Two par­al­lel rows of disc cul­ti­va­tors are fol­lowed by Ma­trix press wheels, RoTeC pro coul­ter sow­ing units with trail­ing press wheels.

A sep­a­rate GreenDrill 500 small seeds ap­pli­ca­tor de­liv­ers seed via air pres­sure to de­flec­tor plates along the rear of the ma­chine for sur­face ap­pli­ca­tion in front of the press wheels.

The unit folds up hy­drauli­cally and au­to­mat­i­cally locks into place for trans­port to a width of 3 me­tres, a height of 3.25 me­tres, and a length of 8.05 me­tres.

CUL­TI­VA­TION

Two rows of scal­loped discs at the front per­form the ini­tial cul­ti­va­tion of the soil. They can be ad­justed up and down hy­drauli­cally on the go de­pend­ing on how much cul­ti­va­tion you want to achieve.

There are two discs mounted on each arm that are sus­pended off the tool­bar via sprung rub­ber blocks. The four rub­ber el­e­ments in each mount act as cush­ion­ing and al­low a de­gree of break­away in stony ground. Each disc has its own oil-filled sealed bear­ing unit. The com­bi­na­tion of felt ring and high-qual­ity face seals mean

one oil fill should pro­vide life­long lu­bri­ca­tion and no main­te­nance should be re­quired, re­sult­ing in higher work out­put and less time spent on daily greas­ing.

The disc har­rows are not de­signed as a pri­mary cul­ti­va­tor in hard com­pacted soils but work ex­cep­tion­ally well break­ing down ploughed ground to form a fine seedbed. They per­form well on stub­bles and help to im­prove the soil struc­ture by in­cor­po­rat­ing residue straw back into the soil.

Like other disc har­rows, speed tillers or mul­ti­discs, the Cir­rus twin-row cul­ti­va­tor discs work best at higher speeds up to 16km/h. The front row throws the soil into the sec­ond row to pro­vide max­i­mum crum­bling and also per­forms ef­fec­tive lev­el­ling. Work­ing at 16km/h the 6m-wide ma­chine is ca­pa­ble of cov­er­ing 9.6 hectares (23.7 acres) per hour.

THE MA­TRIX EF­FECT

Fol­low­ing the cul­ti­va­tion discs are the Ma­trix pneu­matic press tyres, which re­con­sol­i­date the soil ahead of the sow­ing tines. They are what you would call the mod­ern rub­ber ver­sion of the old-style steel wedge ring roller.

A to­tal of 12 Ma­trix tyres span the full width of the ma­chine. Each of the 400/55R17.5 tyres has a di­am­e­ter of 880mm and width of 410mm. Protrud­ing ribs in the tyre treads press and con­sol­i­date the soil di­rectly in line with the fol­low­ing sow­ing tine. Each roller tyre ser­vices four sow­ing rows at 12.5cm sow­ing spac­ings and three at 16.6cm spac­ings.

As men­tioned be­fore, on the day of our trial, we had re­ceived overnight rain that left the soil rather sticky. How­ever, the Ma­trix ra­dial tyres op­er­ate at 3.5 bar (50.7psi) pres­sure, which al­lows enough flex in the tyre walls to con­tin­u­ally flick off any soil buildup and re­main clean. This al­lowed us to start work sooner than ma­chines with con­ven­tional tyre rollers.

Re­con­sol­i­dat­ing the soil cre­ates a smooth, flat sur­face to sow into, and helps to pre­serve as much mois­ture as pos­si­ble for the ger­mi­nat­ing seed.

When the ma­chine is folded up, four of the Ma­trix tyres be­come the trans­porta­tion tyres, tak­ing the full weight of the ma­chine.

The ma­trix rollers are mounted about 1m back from the cul­ti­va­tion tines to al­low plenty of time for the soil to set­tle be­tween the two pro­cesses.

SOW­ING COULTERS

Fol­low­ing per­fectly in each pressed line of soil left by the ma­trix rollers are the RoTeC pro disc sow­ing coulters.

Down­ward pres­sure on the coul­ter discs is achieved hy­drauli­cally via the op­er­a­tor ter­mi­nal in­side the cabin, and depth con­trol is reg­u­lated by a 25mm-wide plas­tic guid­ance roller disc fit­ted to the side of each coul­ter disc.

The guid­ance disc has four set­tings for ad­just­ing the depth of sow­ing and for reg­u­lat­ing pen­e­tra­tion in light dusty soils. For deeper sow­ing on heavy soils, a nar­rower 10mm guid­ance disc is avail­able.

Be­ing at­tached to the sow­ing disc should pro­vide max­i­mum ac­cu­racy be­cause it is op­er­at­ing ex­actly where the seed is be­ing dropped, as op­posed to some that use the trail­ing press wheel for depth con­trol.

I would like to come back and have a look at th­ese plas­tic guid­ance discs af­ter it has done a cou­ple of thou­sand acres

The disc har­rows … work ex­cep­tion­ally well, break­ing down ploughed ground to form a fine seedbed

be­cause I just sense they may tend to wear quickly in abra­sive soils, but I am happy to be proved wrong.

PRESS ROLLER

Trail­ing di­rectly be­hind each sow­ing coul­ter, the trail­ing press wheel con­sol­i­dates the soil in the fur­row to cre­ate the op­ti­mum ger­mi­na­tion con­di­tions.

The act of post-sow­ing rolling is es­pe­cially im­por­tant for spring sow­ing and sum­mer crops, or any­time when mois­ture re­ten­tion is in­valu­able to the max­i­mum grow­ing po­ten­tial of the crop.

The un­du­lat­ing sur­face that each in­di­vid­ual roller cre­ates helps also to re­duce wind and wa­ter ero­sion.

Down­ward pres­sure on each roller is in­de­pen­dent from the sow­ing coulters. The pres­sure is ad­justed man­u­ally and can range be­tween zero and 35kg per roller.

ALL THE EX­TRAS

Ev­ery op­tional ex­tra ex­cept the kitchen sink has been thrown at this unit to show­case its full work­ing po­ten­tial.

The rear-mount 500-litre GreenDrill 500 is a small seed ap­pli­ca­tor us­ing air pres­sure to de­liver seed or slug bait to dis­trib­u­tor heads mounted along the rear bar in front of the press wheels.

It is con­trolled by a sec­ond on-board com­puter mon­i­tor in ad­di­tion to the to the Ama­tron 3 mon­i­tor that is sup­plied with the Cir­rus drill.

For the pur­pose of show­ing us the lat­est in ter­mi­nal tech­nol­ogy, Land­power prod­uct man­ager Travis Ryan-Sal­ter had the Cir­rus con­nected to a new Claas S-10 mon­i­tor that he was show­cas­ing in the Claas Ax­ion 870 trac­tor we were us­ing. (See page 26.)

The S-10 with ISOBUS tech­nol­ogy makes op­er­a­tion an ab­so­lute breeze. While cal­i­brat­ing the GreenDrill 500 is done through the mon­i­tor in­side the cabin, the job of set­ting the ap­pli­ca­tion rates of the Cir­rus 6003-2C is achieved us­ing an ex­ter­nally mounted Twin Ter­mi­nal 3.0 with a 3.2-inch dis­play.

The wa­ter- and dust-proof ter­mi­nal is mounted on the seed drill near the me­ter­ing units, which al­lows the driver to carry out all the cal­i­bra­tion steps from one lo­ca­tion with­out hav­ing to re­peat­edly climb in and out of the trac­tor.

A full cal­i­bra­tion, which in­cludes three test sam­ples be­ing weighed to achieve 100 per cent ac­cu­racy, takes only min­utes to per­form even when me­ter­ing car­tridges re­quire chang­ing.

LED work lights pro­vide a clear view, a radar sen­sor is mounted to the frame to pro­vide ex­act ground speed of the ma­chine, and a load­ing and un­load­ing auger with full hy­draulic func­tion­al­ity is per­ma­nently mounted to the side of the ma­chine.

Ama­zone pri­ori­tises op­er­a­tor safety and ac­ces­si­bil­ity on the ma­chine by in­stalling plenty of plat­forms with guardrails and lad­ders.

TO WORK

The Cir­rus 6003-2C at­taches to the bot­tom link­age arms on the trac­tor. This pro­vides easy and quick at­tach­ment and also – more im­por­tantly – al­lows for a much tighter turn­ing cir­cle as the piv­ot­ing point is mounted fur­ther away from the rear of the trac­tor than it would be with tra­di­tional draw­bar at­tach­ing de­signs.

A se­lec­tion of me­ter­ing car­tridges pro­vides ev­ery op­tion for sow­ing rates from 1.5 to 400kg/ha.

Swap­ping from fine seeds to nor­mal seeds can be done in sec­onds by chang­ing the me­ter­ing car­tridges, and they can even be changed when the hopper is full by slid­ing a block­ing plate into the me­ter­ing de­vice.

THE BOT­TOM LINE

I came away quite con­fi­dent that the Cir­rus 6003-2C is a great unit that, at 6m wide, will cover plenty of ground quickly. It should be re­mem­bered that it’s not a di­rect drill and is not equipped to break into vir­gin coun­try for the first sow­ing.

My gut says it will be pop­u­lar with con­trac­tors for sow­ing onto cul­ti­vated ground us­ing the disc cul­ti­va­tors to break down the soil pre sow­ing. Sow­ing di­rectly into stub­bles while in­cor­po­rat­ing crop residue and top­ping up pas­tures for dairy farm­ers will be its bread and but­ter.

Over­all, I give it a big tick of ap­proval as a quick, ef­fec­tive and easy-to-op­er­ate piece of equip­ment. A huge pos­i­tive is that, be­cause it folds to a width of 3m for trans­port, it will fit through most farm gate­ways and leave the fences in­tact.

1. The 6m-wide all-in-one sow­ing com­bi­na­tion re­quires a min­i­mum 220hp trac­tor for com­fort­able op­er­a­tion – in this case, a Claas Ax­ion 870

2. The hy­draulic self-load­ing auger makes fill­ing

a breeze

3. Lad­ders, plat­forms and safety rails pro­vide the

op­er­a­tor with a safe work­ing en­vi­ron­ment

4. The GreenDrill 500 is the per­fect so­lu­tion for the si­mul­ta­ne­ous sow­ing of a com­pan­ion crop or ap­pli­ca­tion of slug bait

5. A lever at­tached to each of the depth guid­ance rollers ad­just the depth of seed place­ment through four height set­tings

6. Each bin is fit­ted with a quick emptying chute that

di­rects the seed or fer­tiliser back into the auger

7. Sow­ing di­rectly into stub­bles while in­cor­po­rat­ing crop residue and top­ping up pas­tures for dairy farm­ers will be the Cir­rus 6003-2C’s bread and but­ter

8. The Twin Ter­mi­nal 3.0 with 3.2-inch dis­play is mounted close to the me­ter­ing units for quick cal­i­bra­tion with­out hav­ing re­peated trips to the main mon­i­tor in­side the trac­tor cabin 9. De­flec­tor plates at the end of each of the GreenDrill 500’s de­liv­ery hoses pro­vide a good, even spread of seed or slug bait be­tween the sow­ing coulters and press wheels.

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