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Gaspardo introduces tracked planters

Italian manufacturer Maschio Gaspardo’s North American operation just introduced a tracked, broad-acre planter to Canada

Haven’t heard of Gaspardo-brand planters? Stephano Paolini plans to change that. As key account manager for the Italian company Maschio Gaspardo, he’s been spending time talking to Canadian farmers about the brand’s Maximetro precision planter.

Moving in to Canada

With some of its manufacturing now done in Iowa, the brand is working to increase its North American footprint. The move into Canada is starting in Ontario, and Paolini was at Canada’s Outdoor Farmshow in Woodstock last September displaying the Maximetro planter.

The brand has been around for a long time. “It’s a very old company, started in 1873,” says Paolini. “We started with precision planters in 1972. Now we have an operation in Iowa and this is the first time we’re bringing a planter here (to Canada).”

The Maximetro planter, part of the company’s broad acre equipment line tailored to the North American market, is available up to 48 rows, and it uses a heavy-duty frame which is capable of supporting a central seed tank. “The good thing about this system is the frame is very heavily built, so it will allow a central fill for seed or fertilizer, granular or liquid,” says Paolini. “It’s the same up to the 48 row (model).” On future models, the company expects to have a new, redesigned plastic central tank rather than the steel version on the model displayed at the show.

If you prefer the more traditional style 1.8-bushel single hopper on each row opener, that’s available too. “It’s just one of the configurations we can offer,” he adds.

The features

One of the most unique features of this planter is it rides on rubber tracks, but it is available with wheels for anyone who prefers them. Paolini says tracks have proven to be the most popular option in the U.S. “Most of the planters we sell in the States will be on tracks, because they (U.S. Farmers) like to go even when the soil is wet.”

The planter uses a Trimble electronic control system; and it enjoys a good reputation for precision seeding, maintaining accurate seed-to-seed distances, according to Paolini. “It can sow all types of seeds from edible beans down to tomato seeds.” It does that by using the same vacuum metering system the company has relied on for a long time in all its planters. “It works pretty well,” he adds.

Down pressure on the row openers can be provided in a variety of ways. “You can have both the air bags and springs, double, heavy-duty springs, different arrangements. When you go beyond 24 rows, generally you don’t wont to have to set each individual spring, so you go with a compressor and have an even adjustment (by pressurizing an airbag on each row opener).” The planter comes equipped with its own compressor for that purpose.

Canola experience

What will interest Western Canadian farmers most is the brand’s planters have been planting canola for a long time. “In Italy most farmers would use a precision planter for canola with this type of arrangement: a double-disc precision planter,” he says.

Despite its reputation for accurate planting in European canola fields, the brand remains relatively unheard of in Western Canada. “That’s a problem for us in Western Canada,” he says. “Farmers are unaware of us, even though we are a leader in precision planting.” The company is still actively looking for Western Canadian distributors for its larger planters, like the Maximetro.

The planter uses a cast metal metering body and a stainless steel metering disc for durability. “That’s what people like about it,” says Paolini. “It’s a very long-lasting planter. Farmers buy them to last 20 years.”

The seed singulation system is driven by three hydraulic motors and uses shafts to drive components rather than chains and sprockets. And the drives are shear-pin protected. Paolini says that type of drive system provides a more constant rotation rate for the singulation discs when working in uneven field conditions. “That’s a thing we introduced more than 30 years back. It’s maintenance free.”

The angle of the discs on the row openers is designed to create a narrow seed trench which helps provide good seed-to-soil contact and eliminates the need for seed firmers, but the planter can be ordered with them for those who prefer that design.

“You can put a seed firmer wheel there,” he adds. “But as this planter creates a very narrow furrow, you don’t really need a firmer. ” The narrow trench design also helps prevent seed bounce. “As the seed drops in the trench it stops, it doesn’t bounce because it’s very narrow.”

For more information visit the company’s website: www.maschionet.com. †

About the author

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Scott Garvey

Scott Garvey is a freelance writer and video producer. He is also the former machinery editor at Grainews.

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