BINDI Bindi farmers Mark Graham and his son Jason cut their proverbial teeth on a used 18.2 metre Seed Hawk in 2014.
Their decision to buy a new 18.2m model last year from CLAAS Harvest Centre, Northam, emphasised their opinion of the bar as a precision seeder.
The bonus, as far as they were concerned, was adding a tow-behind Seed Hawk 660 Air Cart to the deal.
This year the rig performed to expectations, completing a 3000-hectare cropping program without a hassle.
"We started on Anzac Day and just kept sowing dry right through," Mark said.
"We were working in to about 120 millimetres and travelling about eight kilometres an hour so we comfortably achieved about 15 hectares an hour with the rig.
"With canola we were going in about 100mm and placing the seed at 5mm and we found the metering system on the 660 to be extremely accurate.
"We also like the fact the seed is away from the fertiliser."
The digging action of the seeding module has proven itself in dry conditions with breakout pressure set at 7000kPa.
"We have a range of soil types and we didn't have any troubles, even in ironstone country where the tyne just broke out smoothly while the seeding boot stayed in the ground," Jason said.
"You have the ability to vary the pressure on-the-go which is handy when you spot a rock coming up.
"And I like the switch box which makes it easy rather than hitting the touch screen if things get bumpy."
The 660 Air Cart also impressed the Grahams.
"Calibration is super easy and quick to do," Jason said.
"And it's easy to change the rollers."
The calibration is part of the Seed Hawk iCon wireless system, which initially worried Jason with fear of signal dropouts but no problems were encountered.
The iPad-based iCon control system simplifies calibration and operation of the air seeder and calibration can be done outside the tractor cab using an iPad (with the app).
This includes troubleshooting for blockages, filling the tanks to the appropriate level, or using the meters to empty the air cart.
Incorporated into iCon control is the Fenix III metering system which allows for precise delivery of seed and fertiliser.
According to Seed Hawk, the Fenix III allows you to isolate the airstream for each product across all toolbar sections, enabling variable rate seeding.
Heavy-duty electric motors, in conjunction with application-specific rollers, allows up to eight modular electric drive meters on a tank.
The design of the Fenix III meter, where the roller is placed directly on the electric motor axle, makes it an easy-to-use system.
With only a few moving parts and no grease points, maintenance is simple.
Changing rollers between crops is performed in a matter of seconds.
Meter rollers can be removed to be cleaned even with a full bin.
The iCon software also features 'hectares to empty' to calculate how many hectares in the bin before re-filling, which is a desired feature when running multiple seeding rigs in the same paddock.
Load cells weigh each bin separately and provide real-time verification of remaining product.
"The way Seed Hawk has designed the metering system almost makes it fail-safe for matching products to fan speed," Jason said.
He also was impressed with the live status of seed flow on the cab screen.
"It's a good feature and reassuring to have that information," he said.
"Every hose has a monitor so you know very quickly if you've got a block and there's also a monitor that detects low fan speed and automatically shuts down the metering system."
With Seed Hawk's section control, the 3m frame sections automatically lift out of the ground as GPS co-ordinates are triggered and seed and fertiliser is cut off.
The frames return to working status once the bar passes over the overlap area.
"We were getting about nine per cent overlap before but with section control it's about one or two per cent," Jason said.
"Last year we had 20 tonnes of fertiliser left over in the shed so it gives you an idea of what you're wasting."
Mounted on the Seed Hawk bar is a 5000 litre liquid tank with a Liquid Systems Ai120 single liquid auto-rate pump and control module, fitted by CLAAS Harvest Centre, Northam.
It comes with a 180 litres a minute piston diaphragm pump, which provides capacity for applying liquids at higher rates or with increased tank agitation.