Higher yield security with the correct sowing strategy
The GreenDrill universal catch crop seeder box from AMAZONE offers farmers a powerful tool for overcoming the current challenges in crop production.
Perfect sowing creates the optimum basis for high yields. So clear yet so complex. After all, the establishment of arable crops, especially precise sowing tailored to the local conditions, is considerably more complex nowadays than was the case just a few years ago. The greater probability of heavy rainfall and droughts as a result of climate change has an impact on the sowing strategy as do stricter requirements for environmental protection and nature conservation. Furthermore, farmers must bear in mind that bad practice in crop establishment can only be compensated for to a limited extent by subsequent husbandry measures. For example, legal requirements often prevent the additional application of nutrients during the growing season to bring plants on. Tried-and-tested active ingredients which reduce disease pressure caused by stress are no longer permitted in plant protection.
The catch crop seeder box can be combined with a primary soil tillage operation in the form of Catros, CatrosXL and Certos compact disc harrows, Cenius and Ceus mulch cultivators or the KG rotary cultivator or the KE rotary harrow. A GreenDrill can be used a range of seed drills such as the Cataya or Centaya harrow-mounted seed drills, the D9-60 trailed seed drill, the Cirrus trailed seed drill combination or the Primera DMC large area seed drill.
Sowing concepts for efficiency and sustainability
Modern agriculture responds to this challenge with innovative sowing concepts such as undersown crops, companion planting, special catch crop mixtures or the combination of seeding and fertilisation. Arable farming experts cite the following objectives in this respect:
- Keeping moisture in the soil and conserving it for germination (water-conserving sowing)
- Counteracting the growth of weeds with rapid ground coverage by companion plants (reduction in the use of herbicides)
- Repelling pests via smell irritation and attracting beneficial insects (natural plant protection)
- Utilising nutrients from the atmosphere and the soil via legumes and making them available to the plants with the absolute minimum of losses (saving fertiliser and reducting emissions)
- Depositing nutrients at the right depth during sowing for use as a starter fertiliser for the emerging plants or as an attractant to aid root formation (prevention of nutrient losses), for example
Optimum combination of technical innovations
AMAZONE offers farmers the GreenDrill (GD) universal catch crop seeder box as the technical solution to these challenges. This is a powerful tool for an almost unlimited range of sowing variations. Apart from the GD 200 model, which has been tailored to suit AMAZONE machines, the range includes the new GD 501, developed in-house by AMAZONE. The word "Universal" refers to the range of applications for the placement of different seeds and fertiliser plus, primarily, to the wealth of options for yield security and soil protection it provides when combined with other machinery.
For example, the catch crop seeder box can apply fertiliser during primary soil tillage or sow catch crops when stubble cultivating. Extremely efficient seeding strategies result from the interaction of the GreenDrill with a seed drill. An example of this is the placement of three materials (seed or fertiliser) in one pass, independently of each other and at different placement depths. The AMAZONE machine combination of the GreenDrill and the Cirrus seed drill enables as such the so-called triple-shoot process.
The desired application rate of seed or fertiliser is controlled by an electrically-driven metering unit below the seed hopper, which is easy and safe to reach. The rate is regulated by means of metering cassettes which are tailored to the seed in question and can be replaced in just a few steps.
Extra functionality and operating comfort: The GD 200 model with a hopper capacity of 200 litres has proven its worth not only for sowing catch crops and greening mixtures but also as an additional unit on a seed drill for simultaneously sowing a second crop, e.g. under-sowing clover when drilling barley. However, the GreenDrill 501 offers a whole range of additional functions and operating comfort in addition to the seed hopper capacity which has been more than doubled in size to 500 litres. Machine control is via ISOBUS. Thanks to the ISOBUS communication standard, the GD 501 is simply displayed as a third seed hopper and metering unit on the terminal in the tractor cab when mounted on a Cirrus seed drill and can be controlled accordingly. This is made possible by a separate ISOBUS job computer if the catch crop seeder box is used to supplement a soil tillage implement. Calibration at the touch of a button is just as user-friendly as in the AMAZONE seed drills, whose metering cassettes are compatible with the GD 501 in all other respects.
Precise distribution of the seed in the seed rows is ensured by the segmented distributor head, which is familiar from AMAZONE seed drills and has 16 to 48 outlets depending on the working width. A separate hydraulic blower fan is available for transporting the material to the entry points if the catch crop seeder box is used to supplement a soil tillage operation and therefore cannot be integrated in the air stream of the seed drill. It guarantees uniform lateral distribution up to a working width of 9 metres.
This is one of the useful features of the GreenDrill 501, as is the option to choose between three different outlets for a third entry point on the GreenDrill 501. This allows the seed to be placed directly behind the main crop via a 2nd inlet on the TwinTeC+ sowing coulter. The second material is then applied slightly shallower than the main crop via this additional outlet. Furthermore, the seed from the GreenDrill 501 can be placed directly in with the main crop via a Y-piece with the TwinTeC+ and RoTeC pro coulters. The farmer would choose this option if the two crops are to be applied at the same placement depth but where a specific ratio of mix needs to be maintained. Furthermore, there is also the option of spreading the seed on the surface via the baffle plates. A choice can be made between single-, double- or triple-shoot and across all these outlet options/variants when used in combination with the Cirrus.
Success through clever sowing variants: Sowing variations with the double- and triple-shoot process illustrate the application options of the GreenDrill 501 catch crop seeder box e.g. in combination with a Cirrus seed drill:
Attracting roots deep down: Ammonium and phosphate have an "attractant" effect on the plant root structure. It therefore makes sense to place a fertiliser application of 20 to 25 kg/ha at a greater depth during sowing, especially for spring cereals and also in view of the fertiliser environmental legislation. This can be implemented with the double-shoot method. This means that the nutrients are available for a longer period and promote the formation of deep roots, in order to provide a water supply conducive to seedling development during dry conditions. However, practitioners recommend not putting too much fertiliser in this zone, as the roots will "tire" and not go down any further, which is required for the development of the plants.
Using nitrogen from the air: the parallel sowing of companion plants, such as beans, lupins, clover or buckwheat, all of which make atmospheric nitrogen, or mineral-bound phosphate in the case of buckwheat, which is available to the main crop via their root nodules, is an alternative to depositing fertiliser for winter crops. They also reduce the risk of nitrogen leaching by forming organic matter and suppressing the emergence of weeds through blanket coverage. However, this only works if the companion plants are killed during the winter months, allowing the main crop to develop undisturbed from the onset of the vegetation period in the spring.
Repelling pests naturally: In view of increasing restrictions on the use of insecticides, companion plants sown at the appropriate depth via separate seed coulters (double-shoot) during a pass can act as natural crop protection. For example, linseed, whose smell distracts the rape flea beetle from the main crop rape, has proven to be effective here.
Sow once, harvest twice: Spring sowing of oats plus clover in combination with the placement of fertiliser below the seeding depth with the triple-shoot system generates multiple benefits. The oats grow taller while the clover prevents the growth of weeds, thereby minimising herbicide use. The fertiliser deposited supports the development of both arable crops. After harvesting the oats in the summer, the mature clover can be brought in for feed at a later date.
Growing rape cost-effectively: Farmers aim to save on fertiliser and crop protection agents by sowing rape, field beans and catch crops cost-effectively in one pass. To do this, rape, and field beans somewhat deeper down, are sown via the appropriately adjusted sowing coulters. A catch crop, consisting of phacelia, buckwheat and lucerne, is sown on the surface using the baffle plates of the GreenDrill catch crop seeder box. Both the field beans and the catch crop are killed over the winter but they serve as nitrogen fixers and weed suppressors until then. The rape can then develop vigorously in spring despite significantly less fertilisation and fewer crop protection measures. The important thing in this triple-shoot process is that sufficient water is available to all the growing plants at the time of sowing. If this cannot be guaranteed, it is possible to direct sow the main crop as well as the companion field beans and the catch crop in a manner that conserves water.