New Saxon Minimal Disturbance Drill Launched at Cereals

The new Great Plains Saxon 300 Drill
The new Great Plains Saxon 300 Drill

Cereals 2015 held in Lincolnshire in the UK provided the platform for the launch of Great Plains’ new Saxon drill. Initially available in 3-metre and 4-metre widths, the Saxon mirrors the looks of Great Plains’ recently launched Centurion 300 and Centurion 400 cultivator drills and shares many of the Centurion’s features around its seed delivery, seed placement and consolidation functions.  However, the Saxon differs from its sister drills in one key area.

Instead of incorporating angled notched cultivation discs within its base specification, the Saxon is equipped with the Great Plains Turbo Coulter, which is designed to meet the need for minimal disturbance and, if required, for cutting through and drilling into high volumes of residue. This makes the drill ideal for use in cover crop rotations where the crop has been sprayed off and minimal soil disturbance is necessary to help prevent the emergence of yet-to-germinate grass weed seeds.

“Not only is the Saxon highly effective in reduced tillage establishment systems and across a wide range of soil types and conditions, it can operate very efficiently in no till conditions where the soil structure allows and can help to improve control of black-grass and other grass weeds,” said Great Plains UK Sales Director, David Holmes.

“The Turbo Coulter is of an innovative and well-proven Great Plains design,” he explained. “It offers excellent slicing with minimum disturbance between the rows and reduced risk of hair-pinning. Each Turbo Coulter is in line with the trailing double disc 00 Series opener. The angle wave profile of the Turbo Coulter creates a mini-seedbed in a finely tilled 30 to 50mm strip of soil into which the seeds will actually be planted and provides every row with equal growing conditions. The flutes enter the soil perpendicular to the ground for maximum cutting performance with less down pressure. The same flutes exit the soil parallel to the ground for a controlled soil release, leaving the soil between the rows almost completely undisturbed.

“The ‘Double V’ press wheel option helps to cover the seed by pinching the slot, creating optimum soil to seed contact, especially when working without cultivation in wetter soils,” he added.

Both the 3-metre Saxon 300, which was the model showcased at Cereals, and the 4-metre Saxon 400 feature the same 3000-litre capacity hopper as their Centurion counterparts. A 4000-litre hopper is available as an option with the Saxon 400.

The Turbo Coulters run ahead of a tyre packer that offers highly consistent consolidation in front of Great Plains’ well proven 00 Series openers.

The 3-metre drill sows 18 rows (at 167mm spacing) and 24 rows (at 125mm spacing), whilst the 4-metre version sows 24 and 32 rows respectively. Each 00 Series coulter incorporates a seed flap guiding seed close to the opener bottom to eliminate seed bounce.

Hydraulically adjustable down pressure in the range of 40kg to 160kg ensures the coulters operate at consistent depth in all soil types. New opener rail geometry maximises the transfer of weight to the coulter and press wheel by keeping the coulter arm parallel to the ground. This ensures accuracy of seeding depth and control over down pressure especially in difficult conditions.

The seed distribution system is variable rate ready. It comprises injection-moulded seed distribution heads with optional tramline shut-offs and seed blockage monitors to accurately deliver seed to each coulter with the ability to shut off each row individually for wider row spacing if required.

Great Plains has introduced a new meter housing design for easy access and a new modular seed drum system. Seed calibration is also easy and convenient, says the manufacturer. With seed calibration mode selected from the cab, the operator simply walks to the rear of the drill where a dedicated pipe delivers the metered amount.

The new Saxons fold to 3m for transport, the transport weight being carried on the packer, with two wheels each side for stability and clearance fitted with 420/55 17 tyres. A full European lighting kit is fitted.

Hopper weigh cells can be fitted as an option. Working via the hydraulic control system, these ensure the hopper’s weight is evenly distributed right across the drill’s width no matter how much grain it contains.

Other options include new hydraulic sprung track eradicators, hydraulic full-width levelling board, press wheel scrapers and harrows, hydraulic bout markers, pre-emergence markers and air or hydraulic brakes.

Control is via a Mueller ISOBUS-ready system and a choice of display terminals is available.

Both the Saxon 400 and the Saxon 300 will be commercially available in limited numbers from autumn of this year.