Regina’s Western Canada Farm Progress Show (WCFPS) has become the “home” exhibition for
Prairie-based seeding equipment manufacturers. Most now use that venue to introduce their new technologies to farmers. This year was no exception, with three major companies introducing new products designed to meet a range of different field conditions and seeding demands.
At its Master Seeders’ conference last fall, SeedMaster let its customers know it was working on a completely new air seeder cart and it hoped to have working prototypes in the field this spring. That new cart, the Nova XP-820 Smart Cart, was the centrepiece of the SeedMaster exhibit at Farm Progress. The design also won the company a Sterling Innovation award from show organizers, and it is much different than the versions the brand had previously offered.
With a total capacity of 820 bushels, it’s one of the largest currently on the market. But if 820 bushels isn’t enough for you, the cart can be combined with SeedMaster’s 300 bushel on-board seed tank for toolbars, providing a combined carrying capacity of 1,120 bushels. That’s practically a semi-trailer truck full of product behind your tractor.
The Nova XP-820 has three modular, primary 260-bushel hoppers and a smaller 40-bushel tank at the rear. The company says the cart’s flexible design allows it to be built in a one, two, three or four tank configuration. The lids on each compartment can be opened and closed hydraulically, eliminating the need to climb up and do the job manually.
Each tank is equipped with an individual load cell to let the tractor operator know in real time how much product is left inside. That should help minimize the time necessary for end-of season clean outs, eliminate field skips and provide confirmation of seeding and fertilizer application rates.
The cart is equipped with two fans, one for seed and the other for fertilizer. Splitting the airflow between the two allows operators to run one at a slower speed to minimize damage to seed. The other can operate at a higher flow rate for fertilizer and reduce the risk of plugging.
The Nova XP-820 is also VRT capable. Rates can be adjusted on the go, manually or from a prescription map through the DICKEY-John controller.
Bourgault held its dealer meeting at Evraz Place a week before the WCFPS kicked off, giving dealers — andGrainews— a preview of what the company was going to introduce to farmers. Presenters literally dropped the curtain to reveal their giant new model 7950 seed cart. It boasts a total capacity of 980 bushels when the optional fifth, 30-bushel tank is included.
The cart offers four main product tanks ranging from 90 to 410 bushels, each sized to hold precisely enough product to last as long as the commodities in the other compartments, allowing for uniform fill intervals.
Because the 7950 puts so much weight behind a tractor, it’s equipped with brakes for safer road transport. When fully loaded, the cart can tip the scales at an incredible 99,000 pounds. The 850/80 R38 tires leave a relatively large footprint that help minimize compaction under all that weight. They can be operated with just 15 PSI of inflation pressure. Rubber that size also helps with floatation, a big concern in years like this one.
Product levels inside the tanks can be monitored with the optional camera system. Up to seven cameras can be installed, including one that looks behind to help the tractor operator see approaching traffic when travelling on roads.
The 7950 is available with a 10-inch conveyor or a 12-inch diameter auger. For safety and ease of access, a full stairway and catwalk make climbing up on the cart easy. The small, 30-bushel saddle tank has a truck-level platform for easy transfer of bagged product. Loading the other tanks can be done from the ground with a hand-held, wireless remote control. It allows the operator to see an image from the cameras to help avoid overfilling, and actually make climbing up that stairway unnecessary.
Metering is controlled by a hydraulic drive system; and according to Bourgault’s product specialists, the cart will be VRT capable when it becomes commercially available for the 2012 season. The prototypes that underwent field trials this year had the VRT feature, but engineers say they’ve decided to make some minor changes to the final production version as a result of those trials.
The cart uses an X20 controller/ monitor, which is built by Bourgault’s technology provider, Topcon. It can handle VRT on up to five separate products. Bourgault is offering to give buyers a $2,000 coupon good for any services from Farmers Edge, a precision agriculture consulting firm.
Bourgault is also giving farmers something new to put in front of the 7950. It introduced three versions of its new coulter drill, the 3320, which is an update of the previous model 3310. The 3320 is available in the SE (standard edition), QDA (quick depth adjust) or XTC (extra terrain contouring) version.
The QDA model uses a frame-mounted hydraulic depth adjustment that relies on shims to fine tune depth settings in 1/8-inch increments. The XTC uses a 1:1 parallel- link arm opener ratio — unlike the 2:1 ratio used on the other models — to better follow field contours in uneven field conditions.
MORRIS INDUSTRIES, LTD.
Morris Industries, too, had a lot to show visitors this year. The company finally unveiled their long-awaited “Input Control Technology,” which minimizes seeding overlaps when passing over previously seeded ground. The system uses small, individual hydraulic rams to disconnect sections of the metering roller from the drive, stopping seed and product flow immediately. It’s a different approach than that taken by some other manufacturers who’ve chosen to stop product flow and keep the meter turning.
Morris also had a new seed cart to show off — the 650-bushel, Eight 650 tow-between model. According to Randy Ellis, Morris’ director of North American marketing and sales, the company wanted to offer a large-capacity, tow-between version which could minimize drill skewing on hillsides, a problem tow-behind carts tend to make worse.
The company has also updated its Contour drill, debuting the new Contour II opener. Engineers have raked the new shank back, using a 12 degree angle to improve its trash-clearing ability. The idea is field residue can more easily roll up and off it than is possible with a completely vertical shank. The new opener also offers 21 inches of clearance to further minimize plugging, and it places the depth-adjustment mechanism in a more convenient position.
Finally, Morris had another surprise in store for farmers touring its exhibit. It let them have a look at a completely new coulter disc drill prototype. Ellis says the company has had several models out undergoing field trials this year and expects to offer it for sale sometime next season. So far, the prototype drill doesn’t have an official model number designation. We’ll keep you posted.
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