Kulin farmer¹s productivity up, fuel use down

30 Jun, 2004 10:00 PM
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KULIN farmer Derek Young received a pleasant shock this seeding season with his new Morris XPress seeder and Morris 7180 air seeder.

He achieved a 50pc gain in productivity over the 2020ha (5000ac) cropping program with a 40pc decrease in fuel.

And with the bar's ability to sow to precise depth, Derek is looking forward to a good year, given average growing season rainfall and finishing rains.

"We bought the bar to handle stubble and cover ground faster," Derek said.

"I'd say our 40ft (12.1m) XPress working at 13km/h does the same amount of work as a 60ft (18.2m) at 8km/h and uses less fuel.

"We did a bit of homework on bars and the economics of the XPress was a major reason for buying it.

"We had a 40ft (12.1m) scarifier before and did around 10.5ha an hour using 40L of fuel.

"With the XPress, we have achieved an average 16ha an hour using 24L of fuel."

Derek said the XPress, which is pulled by a 224kW (300hp) Caterpillar 65D, worked particularly well in ironstone and granite country.

"It just walked over it but if I had used a tined machine, it would have broken the tines," he said.

"It also worked well in marginal moisture conditions and was a breeze in unworked paddocks.

"We had no wind erosion, better moisture retention and we were able to seed longer with the discs because the tines would have dried out the soil too much."

Straight lines of healthy germinating plants provided the proof of good seed depth as well as showing the benefit of using sidearm markers which are optional on the XPress.

The Morris XPress is a single folding beam machine to which are attached seeding modules that comprise double disc openers and following twin rib press wheels.

Though it is configured as a single shoot machine for air seeding, it can easily be plumbed for separate liquid application.

Attached to the disc openers are soil deflectors which act as scrapers and stop soil spray between rows. But these are adjustable to allow soil throw for chemical incorporation.

The twin rib press wheel is designed to groove the seeding slot for water harvesting while firming the sides and encouraging a measure of stubble cover over the seeding row.

In some paddocks it was difficult to assess whether the XPress had been working.

On Derek's machine there were 64 modules on 190mm (7.5in) spacings and he said he had another season left in the discs.

"We could get three seasons out of them if it's not too dry," he said.

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