GERMAN manufacturer Horsch is gearing to become a major player in the world agricultural equipment market.
It signaled its intentions with an eight model product release at its factory in Ronneburg, Germany, last week.
And among the products were several the company believes it has anticipated as necessary for farmers into the future.
The stand-out was an electrically-driven singulating module which is adaptable to air seeders, eliminating the need for the conventional vacuum-style planters.
According to Horsch, this will enable broadacre farmers to singulate wheat and canola with a dispensing rate of up to 50 seeds a second.
"It means you can seed at 12km/h with a rate of 240 seeds a square metre on 15cm (7in spacings)," Horsch owner Michael Horsch said.
"With the high price for hybrid seed, farmers want to lower seed rates to reduce costs and for broadacre farmers, singulating is now a very real option with our module, which can be fitted to any disc seeding bar."
Another surprise packet was a self-propelled sprayer with a unique single oscillating point for the boom, meaning no springs, no suspension system and no link to the main chassis.
According to Mr Horsch, the design, to which he was a major contributor, fulfills his desire to have a sprayer that could hold a boom 30cm (12in) above the ground, travel 30km/h in operation with a road speed of 60km/h.
The latter he achieved with a six cylinder 245kW (328hp) Mercedes Benz engine linked to a hydraulic transmission.
The boom is held at 30cm via the single oscillation point, which holds the boom stable eliminating any pitch and yaw.
The sprayer was demonstrated in a field adjacent to the factory and in a dead stop from 30km/h, the boom hardly moved.
Agritechnica judges, preparing awards for the bi-annual Agritechnica Show in Hanover in November, awarded Horsch two silver medals for innovation, related to the singulating module and the SP sprayer.
Other tillage and seeding equipment revealed included a high-speed Joker RT disc harrow with working widths up to 12.2m (40ft).
The machine is designed so the two main transport wheels fold onto the bar and the hydraulics fit into the main cross-tubes.
According to Muddy River WA manager Roy Thurston, who attended the product release, the Horsch research and development provided a glimpse of where seeding, tillage and spraying equipment was headed.
"Horsch wants to be ahead of the field and seeks to anticipate market needs," he said.
"It gives Muddy River a major focus with an ability to provide a diverse offering of quality-made products.
"Much of the equipment has been tested in very rough terrain in eastern Europe so we're very confident it will meet the demands of Australian farmers.
"With the large range of Horsch models, we will target small and large broadacre markets along with horticulture, viticulture and intensive farming.
"I think one of the big features of the Horsch equipment is the ability to mix and match componentry to cover a wide range of applications, such as changing from discs to tines and vice versa."
Mr Thurston said Muddy River's initial WA product focus would be with the Joker RT and the Sprinter NT bar and air seeder the latter was released earlier this year.
"Horsch has been marketing the Sprinter for the last three years, with extensive testing in Kazakhstan," Mr Thurston said.
"Horsch is now branching out to new markets including Australia, the US and Russia.
"Testing their equipment in Kazakhstan was purposely done because of the harsh conditions and the broadacre nature of the country.
"Many farms have 150,000ha cropping programs so the gear gets well and truly put through its paces."
The Sprinter bar is available in a range of working widths up 24 metres (80ft).
Obviously built strong (no stress plates required because of cross frame design), tines operate independently of the rigid main frame and are connected to a torsion-flex, rubber-mounted rockshaft, which is hydraulically-operated for on-the-go adjustment in varying soil conditions.
Semi-pneumatic press wheels are connected to each tine for depth control with fore and aft castor wheels providing frame stability.
With no wheels inside the frame, there are obvious trash flow benefits.
According to Mr Thurston, the Sprinter is the lowest maintenance machine on the market with a simplified tine/press wheel design.
There are no pivot points on the tine assembly, and only 10 hydraulic cylinders in total for a 24.2m (80ft) bar.
"There are few grease nipples to worry about with the only ones being at the wing and wheel castor pivot points and the press wheels are designed with oil-bath bearings with dual cone ceramic seals, similar to a track roller," he said.
Hoses are cut to length in the factory and attached to two risers, one on either side of the bar, which are designed to fold horizontally, leaving the hoses neatly aligned.
The strongly-built, tow-behind 17000 SD air seeder, features two 8500L bins and operates on dual 20.8R42 tyres, which Horsch says reduces compaction. A tow-between configuration is available.
Interestingly the Horsch air seeder, which is designed for 2.25m or 3m wheel centres (8-10ft) has been built to tow a deep ripper with working widths from 8m to 12m (26-40ft).
The hydraulically-operated filling auger is centrally position making it easier to swap the elephant trunk from the fertiliser bin to the seeding bin. Ken Wilson attended the Horsch product reveal courtesy of the company.