Making its global public debut on the Great Plains stand at this year’s SIMA event is the latest addition to the company’s range of new generation Spartan direct drills, the 9-metre SpartanII 907. This new model follows the 6-metre SpartanII 607, which was commercially launched last year. Over the course of the next few months, Great Plains also plans to introduce 8-metre, 10-metre and 12-metre variants of the drill to complete the range.
Whilst the SpartanII 907 shares many of the same features as its smaller predecessor around seed metering and placement, hydraulic weight transfer and a unique zonal cultivation and seeding system comprising the Great Plains’ Turbo Coulter and 07 Series opener, it differs from the SpartanII 607 in a number of important ways.
Hopper arrangements and capacities, for example, look very different. Whereas the SpartanII 607 comes with either a single seed-only 5280-litre hopper or two side-by-side 2885-litre hoppers for seed/fertiliser applications, the 907 model is equipped with two 3000-litre hoppers, mounted fore and aft, for seed and fertiliser or seed and seed.
The new 9-metre SpartanII also incorporates a high-capacity 254mm diameter auger. Equipped with wireless remote control, it enables the hoppers to be filled and unloaded via the rear hopper by a single person, quickly, easily and safely.
Series II Spartans all benefit from a rework of the drills’ seed tower system. Primary and secondary hose diameters have been increased by some 20% for improved seed distribution and air flow. The risk of spillages around headland turns is greatly reduced thanks to significantly shortened hose lengths from meter to tower and a faster variable rate shut-off from the cab.
Productivity-enhancing features include tramlines on towers with auto rate adjust and individual row shut-off option, half width shut-off and integrated Daisy Chain Blockage Sensors (DCBS) which require fewer wires and provide accurate isolation of a blocked or faulty sensor.
The new SpartanII models retain many of the proven technologies that were brought to the fore by their predecessors. Principal amongst these is the field-proven 07 Series Opener, which, together with Great Plains’ Turbo Coulter, are at the heart of the manufacturer’s ‘zonal cultivation and seeding’ technique and meet the growing demand for minimal disturbance and operation in heavy residue.
Running directly ahead of the double disc openers, the integrated fluted-profile patented Turbo Coulter blades cultivate the ground vertically, but only in a 10-50mm wide strip of soil. Residue is cut and moved to the side. The 380mm x 4mm offset double disc blades run in this prepared strip and the seeds are placed at the bottom of the trench with a precision planter-style seed tube, eliminating seed bounce. A diagonal spring transfers pressure from the mount to the press wheel to stabilise the opener further and reduce vertical opener vibrations which enhances even seed placement. The closing wheels that follow are narrow enough to run on the soil and not on the straw ensuring the correct point of depth measurement. With a choice of four different types of closing wheels available, Great Plains offers the optimum solution for a wide variety of soil types and conditions enabling good soil to seed contact.
Hydraulic weight transfer remains a key feature of the new Spartan. The openers can flex up 125mm and down 75mm, while the wings of the frame can flex down as much as 10° and up over 15°. Coupled with constant hydraulic down-pressure applied to the wings, the drill is able to precisely follow undulating ground conditions from side to side.
A 2-point parallel linkage connects the centre frame to the cart with the upper linkage controlled by an adjustable hydraulic cylinder. This allows the machine to flex forward and back 15° hugging the contours of the ground, front to back, over hills and valleys.
On-road handling for this 3-metre transport machine has been improved. The rear axle has a significantly increased track width to improve stability on the road. New style caster wheels, fitted with BKT tyres, are capable of running at higher speeds the rear casters are placed further back with a trailing design so their tracking has improved and they now follow in the same footprint as the cart tyres so as not to create additional tracks. The tyres now include a scraper to keep them clean. The operator can manually lock the wheels in place for safe and controlled backing on and off of trailers and for storage.
Other improvements introduced with the new Spartans include the replacement of the mechanical variable rate drive with a variable rate hydraulic drive to allow population adjustments from the cab as well as variable rate mapping.
With ease of use very much in mind, seed calibration is now a much quicker and more convenient push-button operation carried out from the rear of the machine. The hoppers can be cleaned out utilising the same basic procedure.
All SpartanII drills have new parking stands. The stand for the 607 model is operated manually by means of a simple jack handle, whilst the 907 features a hydraulically adjusted parking stand.
The new SpartanII 907 can be specified with 48 or 60 rows giving row spacings of 190mm and 150mm respectively.