Visitors to last week's National Fieldays were able to check out the new home for CLAAS Harvest Centre, Waikato and the parts, training and demonstration hub for the network's five other branches in the North Island.
Marketed by Ag and Civil Machinery Direct Ltd, a division of Waikato Tractors in Hamilton, the three metre, 24-row model features a galvanised, heavy-dutry, linkage-mounted frame that weighs in around 1500kg. This carries three independent sections, each carrying eight coulters, mounted to the frame using 40mm heavy-duty torsional rubbers that help absorb shock loads, while also allowing more travel and flexibility.
Offering a row spacing of 125mm (5 inches), the coulter arms have 4.5mm Forge de Niaux boron steel soil engaging tips, followed by an angled and scalloped single disc assembly, both combining to create a 7mm wide band, where the crumbled soil creates a microclimate offering the seed moisture and the seedling protection as it emerges.
Sales manager at Waikato Tractors, Ben Peters says, "by direct drilling into a firm seedbed, seeds are positioned in the fertile areas of the upper levels of the soil profile, moisture is retained and stones and trash are left undisturbed, while the turnaround back to grazing is also reduced."
As part of the standard equipment, an Autocontour system acts as a secondary suspension, with the benefit of offering better ground following in undulating terrain. Each coulter block is pushed downwards using individual hydraulic cylinders. Each of the cylinders is connects, so the downward pressure is equalised over the full width of the machine, despite undulating ground. The system is also said to improve machine reliability, by reducing loads oon the frame mounting points and bearing assemblies throughout the machines.
Seed distribution is taken care of using a Kverneland-sources system, with seed metering via a land wheel drive and fan-based pneumatic distribution, with seeds passing down individual pipes to the coulters. The system features a 400-litre plastic hopper, accessed via a galvanised ladder to a loading platform with a safety rail. Fan speed and seeding information is displayed on a simple readout on the side of the seed hopper, while at the rear of the machine a full width flat roller is fitted for load distribution and consolidation post-seeding.
A range of options includes weight frames for difficult ground conditions, front and rear harrows for conventional tillage situations or improved seed covering in very dry conditions and a second hopper for use with double-entry coulters for fertiliser application at the same time as seeding.