First announced at the end of 2021, Väderstad’s Proceed drill is said to handle a range of crops, with different row spacings, at high accuracy.
It started as an idea from a German customer; taking the Tempo precision seeding system and developing his own seeding discs to sow cereal crops at 225mm. Developing this idea further, Väderstad has designed the Proceed, available with variable row spacing to enable it to work in all conditions, sowing a variety of crops.
It comprises the TopDown frame, with a central fill, pressurised hopper feeding two rows of Tempo row units, with singulation units for a working width of 6m. Each of these row units is individually and electrically driven, meaning that through row shut-off, the row spacing can be quickly adjusted to suit different crops. At purchase, customers can opt for either 225mm or 250mm row spacings for cereal crops, with the former also able to work at 450mm for sugar beet or oilseed rape and the latter able to be adjusted to 500mm, or 750mm for maize.
Ahead of each coulter, a press wheel is mounted to consolidate the soil, ensuring the same conditions for each individual seed. The singulation is adapted from the company’s PowerShoot system. Seed is taken to individual collectors above each row unit and then ejected towards the soil at 55kph, with each unit applying a possible ground pressure of 3.5kpa. The seed is stopped by a second press wheel, which also closes the slot for good seed-to-soil contact. To alert operators to any misses or doubles during planting, a seed counter is fitted to each of the row units.
One of the key benefits of the Proceed, according to Väderstad, is the ability to reduce the number of seeds per hectare, while retaining the same yield. Colin Hurt, practical sales support, explained that the Proceed could place 250 seeds per square metre when travelling at 10kph, down from 400 seeds with the company’s Rapid drill.
“Planting a greater number of seeds does not equal a greater yield,” he explained. “It may help to outcompete weeds but at a certain point, the crop begins to compete with itself for light, moisture and nutrients. By ensuring that every seed is planted at the same depth, with the same quality of seedbed, we can establish a crop that germinates at the same time and has the best possible chance of success.”
He added that by keeping row spacings above 200mm, weed competition could be tackled with mechanical weeding systems – such as the Thyregod range recently purchased by the company.
Proceeding with trials
The Proceed has been undergoing field trials since development, including on a Warwickshire farm operated under J H & M M Jones and run by David Jones. The business has worked closely with Väderstad previously and was keen to test out the new drill.
“We were intrigued by what reducing the seed rate could offer, in regards to greater access to micronutrients, as well as having a better microclimate for each seed,” Mr Jones explained. “We established a crop of spring wheat in one of our fields, which had been worked with a Väderstad NZ cultivator to chop and incorporate the winter wheat straw.”
By all accounts, conditions were not ideal when the trial was planted. The wet spring had left a tight weather window, although the actual soil structure and fertility were in good order. Three rows of spring wheat were established, at different seed rates: 250 seeds/m2, 200 seeds/m2 and 150 seeds/m2.
“It’s a big unit but I was impressed with the manoeuvrability of it,” he added. Since the use of this prototype model, the Proceed has been further updated with a hydraulic system, that pulls the row units closer to the hopper. “What has really impressed me is the consistency of the germination. At planting, we found that the seed placement was incredibly accurate, with just a 1% margin of error. Each of the trials has come evenly and it will be interesting to take it through to harvest to assess the yield.”
Mr Jones concluded that he believed the Proceed could be an invaluable tool going forward as farms pay closer attention to margins and establishment methods. “We all have to be willing to adjust our methods to keep costs down and yields high. If we can get a premium crop of milling wheat, while reducing the seed numbers, that can only be a good thing for our business.”
For more information go to www.vaderstad.com