Speedy McSeedy

Vader­stad Rapid RDA 400S

Farms & Farm Machinery - - Contents -

The Väder­stad Rapid 400S (seed only) 4m air seeder with ad­di­tional Bio Drill car­ries out seedbed prepa­ra­tion, lev­el­ling, drilling, and pack­ing in one pass. It also al­lows re­li­able seed­ing re­sults at high work­ing speed, hence the name.

It’s a multi-pur­pose drill, al­low­ing the op­tion of cul­ti­vat­ing or di­rect drilling with one ma­chine.

We caught up with Kiwi con­trac­tor Gavin Teal and his son Daniel, who are fa­mil­iar with the gear pro­duced by Swedish gi­ant Väder­stad and re­cently added the Rapid 400s with Bio Drill to their fleet.

When we vis­ited, like much of New Zealand, the ground where the Teals mainly con­tract in the south of the North Is­land was show­ing the ef­fects of a very wet win­ter, fol­lowed by a re­cent dry spell, mean­ing there was mois­ture be­low but the top was pretty crusty.

Gavin runs a large range of Väder­stad gear. He has a Car­rier with Bio Drill as well as an­other 3M Rapid (box type), which is a 2011 model. The only work his orig­i­nal Rapid re­quired was re­plac­ing a sin­gle bear­ing.

In terms of main­te­nance, he has just re­placed the seed­ing discs af­ter more than 3000ha. It’s this re­li­a­bil­ity and flex­i­bil­ity which the drill al­lows their busi­ness that made the de­ci­sion to up­grade to the Väder­stad Rapid 4m a no-brainer.

The main ben­e­fit over the orig­i­nal box drill is in low seed­ing rate ap­pli­ca­tions such as turnips. This ma­chine still has the

5-inch or 125mm row spac­ing, so has all the same great fea­tures of the box drill, ex­cept this one is run on air with elec­tronic cal­i­bra­tion and the im­pres­sive con­troller (which I will ex­pand on later in this re­view).

FLEX­I­BIL­ITY

The abil­ity to use the Väder­stad Rapid in ei­ther worked or di­rect drilling ground is a real bonus. Given that farm­ers and con­trac­tors are never sold on a one-trick pony, the Väder­stad Rapid ticks a lot of boxes. It can pre­pare and drill ground in a va­ri­ety of chal­leng­ing con­di­tions, as you get high coul­ter pres­sure and a de­cent amount of coul­ter travel.

The long length of the ma­chine is the only real po­ten­tial is­sue. How­ever, the piv­ot­ing two-point link­age head­stock does give ma­noeu­vra­bil­ity in and out of gate­ways, as well as over un­du­la­tions in the pad­dock, par­tic­u­larly short sharp knobs, which can be tricky for any drill.

The two-point head­stock al­lows you to lift the link­age arms up and over knobs as op­posed to the front discs just bull­doz­ing through. This is par­tic­u­larly help­ful in sandy coun­try as it keeps that pre­cious top­soil in­tact.

FOUR-STAGE SEED­ING

The way the Väder­stad Rapid can work in ei­ther cul­ti­vated or non-cul­ti­vated ground is due to its unique four-stage sys­tem. In one pass, this does the whole process (seedbed prepa­ra­tion, lev­el­ling, drilling, and pack­ing) sav­ing time, fuel, and mois­ture.

High ac­cu­racy, high speed, high build qual­ity, and user-friend­li­ness make the Väder­stad Rapid some­thing to put on your wish list

First stage: prepa­ra­tion

The front in­cor­po­ra­tion discs al­low cul­ti­vated or lightly pugged ar­eas to be given just a lit­tle tickle up and cre­ate that nice amount of tilth. The ag­gres­sion can be al­tered from the cab de­pend­ing on the con­di­tions.

This ma­chine had what is called the sys­tem discs in the front: two rows of off­set discs fol­lowed by nar­row lev­el­ling pad­dles to gen­tly smooth the sur­face be­fore the next stage.

Sec­ond stage: seed­ing

The Väder­stad Rapid depth con­trol sys­tem (which is ad­justable from the cab) uses each packer wheel to con­trol the drilling depth of two seed coul­ters with a unique me­chan­i­cal link­age.

The coul­ters are rub­ber mounted, which al­lows more sta­ble drilling at high speed while also al­low­ing coul­ter pres­sure be­tween 117kg and 255kg de­pend­ing on the set­ting.

The main air seeder is run by a hy­drauli­cally driven fan with hy­draulic me­ter­ing, while the Bio Drill runs off the same air sup­ply. How­ever, this has elec­tric me­ter­ing with radar.

At the base of the seed hop­per, seed en­ters the hy­draulic me­ter­ing sys­tem (with seed rates from 1.5kg/ha up to 500kg/ha). The hy­draulic drive al­lows high seed rates also at high speed.

The high-mounted fan is neatly in­cor­po­rated and out of the way of dust and de­bris. This sucks the seed from the me­ter­ing sys­tem to the dis­tri­bu­tion head, which is tucked into the hop­per and out to the seed­ing boots.

The stair­way and plat­form up to the seed hop­per have wide non-slip steps and an area where you can throw bags up to from the ground. For the more in­dus­trial jobs, as this is a fold­ing ma­chine, the 2900-litre hop­per is large enough to hang bags of seed over it with a nor­mal front-end loader without the need for a tele­han­dler.

Third stage: pack­ing

The big ad­van­tage with the Väder­stad Rapid is the stag­gered tyre ar­range­ment at the rear of the drill. This does two things.

Firstly, it’s the trans­port wheels for the ma­chine that al­lows weight to be car­ried across all the tyres, re­duc­ing road wear. Se­condly, as the roller is in­cor­po­rated, there’s no need to tow an ad­di­tional rear roller, mak­ing ma­noeu­vra­bil­ity much eas­ier.

The rea­son it’s stag­gered is also twofold. Firstly, the wheel is at­tached to two seed­ing coul­ters. This is done with link­age, which al­lows con­sis­tent seat­ing depth of those two coul­ters.

If con­tour changes across the width of the drill, the wheels

at­tached to the two coul­ters can all move in­de­pen­dently, al­low­ing great con­tour, fol­low­ing with the added ad­van­tage of rolling across the width of the drill at the same time.

The sec­ond rea­son they are stag­gered is so you don’t have all the rollers in a row. In wet soil con­di­tions this elim­i­nates wav­ing across the pad­dock, or in su­per-dry pow­dery con­di­tions, a bow wave will not be car­ried in front of the roller, giv­ing a much nicer seed­ing fin­ish and again more-con­sis­tent seed depth.

Fourth stage: fin­ish­ing

The fol­low­ing har­row is ad­justable and leaves a nice clean fin­ish af­ter the seed­ing from both hop­pers. This al­lows the Bio Drill out­lets to be mounted along the har­row for the likes of slug bait dis­tri­bu­tion.

BIO DRILL

The Bio Drill is the rear air seeder, which al­lows great flex­i­bil­ity. You can run fer­tiliser through the main hop­per and seed through the Bio Drill, or run grass seed and slug bait or seed through the main hop­per and clover separately through the Bio Drill. It’s like a sec­ond box, only smaller.

With a large, easy-to-fill hop­per with its own steps and plat­form, the Bio Drill is in­te­grated into the same con­trol sys­tem. Cal­i­bra­tion is sim­ple and per­formed in a minute us­ing the re­mote-con­trol box fit­ted on the Bio Drill.

The only is­sue with the Bio Drill is that it’s slightly hid­den and does hang out a lit­tle bit. The tail swing may col­lect the odd gatepost.

E-CON­TROL

Per­son­ally, I think this is one of the best fea­tures of this ma­chine. The abil­ity it gives you, plus the clear, colour­ful dis­play make it su­per user-friendly. It’s not all for show ei­ther. It re­ally does have some great fea­tures:

• The iPad-based E-Con­trol wire­lessly con­nects to the

ma­chine, en­abling full ac­cess to its func­tions and data

• The high-res­o­lu­tion iPad dis­play clearly dis­plays data • E-Con­trol is a fully por­ta­ble. When cal­i­brat­ing the ma­chine, for ex­am­ple, you can take the por­ta­ble iPad out of the trac­tor and con­trol the cal­i­bra­tion from out­side

• The iPad is wire­lessly con­nected to the ma­chine via a gate­way (the lit­tle yel­low dome on the ma­chine). The gate­way cre­ates its own wire­less net­work so there is no need for in­ter­net ac­cess

• All ma­chine data is stored in the gate­way on the ma­chine and not in the iPad, mean­ing the data is al­ways se­cure. If the iPad stops func­tion­ing, you can get a new one and sim­ply down­load the app. The iPad can also be used for mul­ti­ple ma­chines on the farm, such as the Rapid and Tempo.

THE BOT­TOM LINE

It’s hard not to be im­pressed by the Väder­stad Rapid, which is avail­able through Land­power in Aus­tralia.

It’s ob­vi­ous why this is the drill of choice for many con­trac­tors – for its flex­i­bil­ity, re­li­a­bil­ity, and abil­ity to seed ac­cu­rately at high speed.

The E-Con­trol takes the user-friend­li­ness to the next level. It is colour­ful, in­tu­itive, and easy to use. It al­lows you to take it out­side the cab and if it dies or gets dam­aged, all the data is stored in the ma­chine and not the iPad, so no data is lost.

High ac­cu­racy, high speed, high build qual­ity, and user­friend­li­ness make the Väder­stad Rapid some­thing to put on your wish list.

1. The Väder­stad Rapid 400S 4m air seeder 2. The E-Con­trol hat where all the data is stored and sent be­tween the drill and the iPad con­troller 3. The link­age con­nect­ing the seed­ing discs and packer wheel for greater con­tour fol­low­ing 4. The...

Above. The new colour touch­screen in­tu­itive mon­i­tor is eas­ily one of the best fea­tures

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