There’s a new drill in town looking to impress western farmers. It’s the Easy Drill from Sky Agriculture, which is a division of France-based Sulky. That company has been in business since 1936. But here on the Prairies, it isn’t exactly a household name.
Quebec-based Innotag represents Sky Agriculture in this country and had the drill on display at the Ag in Motion farm show near Langham, Sask., in July. According to Vincent Machabe, general manager for Sky’s Canadian operations, the drill is designed to work in no-till fields, and it has been used for that in Europe for several years. But it also may have a unique appeal to organic producers, or producers trying new options to regenerate soil, partly because of its ability to seed cover crops along with a main crop in a single pass.
“We can incorporate a cover crop into the seed or fertilizer system,” he explained. “We have metering for each product. For example, if you wanted to seed barley and peas together, you could seed the barley at one depth and the peas at another.”
The design of the row units makes the Easy Drill capable of extremely accurate seed placement, which is important for small-seeded cover crops.
“The first unique feature this drill has is in the seeding system,” he continued. “The main feature is the accurate seeding depth. It’s built like a corn planter row unit, which is a parallelogram system. The depth wheel is at the front of the system. The difference with the depth wheel at the front, is if you go over something that is about an inch, the depth difference will only be one-fifth of that.”
The Easy Drill has also been popular with European farmers when reseeding hay or alfalfa fields.
“This is the fourth-generation drill. It’s been out for over 40 years in Europe doing no till,” he said. “The first generation was designed to do field grass, reseeding grass into a hay field. So it was designed to do shallow seeding with very accurate depth. Out here it’s a perfect drill for canola, because you want to be very shallow and very accurate with depth. With this drill you end up with very uniform growth. Also, we can go to over 500 pounds of down pressure, so it’s truly a no-till disc system. This machine can handle very wet conditions.”
The drill uses a 6.5-inch row spacing. And it can place fertilizer at a different depth. When seeding two different crops, each of them can also be set to different depths as well. And the on-frame two-compartment product tank can be divided into three different configurations to accommodate a variety of product needs. It can be divided 50-50, 70-30 or 90-10. And it can be fitted with two, three or four metering systems.
“The calibration is very easy,” he adds. “It has a two-speed transmission (on the metering system). We don’t need to change any meters. We can go down to three pounds per acre and up to 450 without changing any parts.”
Although the Easy Drill working widths are a little smaller than a lot of western drills, Machabe notes that the company is introducing an eight-metre (26 foot) ISOBUS-compatible machine with blockage sensors and section control in November.
“In France, Sky has over 30 per cent market share overall in drills for the last three years,” said Machabe. “That’s why we’re very confident bringing the product to the west.