If the simplest ideas make the best solutions, then the latest product from Spaldings certainly hits the mark. The SeedSock was developed by arable farmer Olly Harrison, who worked with a neighbour to develop a device to ease emptying a seed drill or fertiliser spreader.
The product comprises a heavy-duty PVC sheet with lifting loops at each corner and a flexible discharge chute in the middle.
“A lot of drills are awkward to empty and mostly involve dumping seed onto a concrete floor then sweeping and shovelling it into a sack,” explained Mr Harrison. “The Agricontract SeedSock makes this job a whole lot quicker and easier by discharging on to sheet that turns into a temporary container when lifted off the ground.”
With the SeedSock laid out and the drill positioned overhead, the hopper can be emptied. The drill is then moved out of the way and the sheet is gathered up and lifted using a loader. The contents can then be held in temporary storage or transferred into a sack or bulk bag using the discharge chute.
Mr Harrison pointed out: “It’s a great time-saver because if you need to change varieties or crops during the day, you can do so out in the field using the SeedSock instead of running back to the yard.”
While he acknowledges that similar products have been available before, Mr Harrison believes that the material used – his neighbour, with who he developed the idea, manufactures bouncy castles – is the key to the strong and durable product.
“Bouncy castle structures are quite complex to cut and stitch, and they obviously have to be tough enough to take a fair bit of punishment,” he said. “So, I didn’t invent the idea, I just happened to find the right man with the expertise to make the SeedSock in the right way and at the right price.”
Early buyers have found other uses for their SeedSock, including emptying fertiliser spreaders after a mechanical breakdown or preparing a cover crop seed mixture on the floor and then using the SeedSock to load the drill.
It’s available for £257 from Spaldings and is fully tested for CE/UKCA approval with a maximum load rating of 400kg. The 1.4m long discharge sock is tied off for filling and then released to give controlled discharge into a sack or other container.
“It’s a big sheet, 4m from corner to corner so apart from using it to empty the seed hopper you can use it to cover bags on a trailer as weather protection,” said Mr Harrison. “And there’s no set colour because that depends on what material is available when another batch is made – we’ve had them in green, grey and pink with yellow seams!”
For more information go to www.spaldings.co.uk