About Our Drills
Aitchison manufacture an extensive range of seed/fertiliser drills and these
fall into three main categories.
- Tine, with or without, disc coulters.
- Single disc opener, with or without, press wheels
- Air Seeders both gravity and pneumatic, fixed frame or folding.
All Aitchison drills, with the exception of the air seeders use the sponge pad
seed feed mechanism which was developed and patented by Aitchison. This unique
and simple system, in conjunction with the Aitchison infinitely variable 'gearbox'
is able to sow almost all seeds from Brassica's and clovers @ rates as
low as 1kg/ha (0.9lbs/acre) and cereals @ up to 350kg/ha (311lbs/acre) with
an industry leading accuracy of +/- 5%.
It will also handle seed mixes of large and small seeds with very acceptable
results. The sponge pad system is also unaffected by rough terrain where other
types can produce uneven flow due to vibration and bouncing. The function is
so simple; the rotating sponge embeds the seeds which are then pulled
down and shouldered against a concentric groove in the seeder unit.
This system also has the added advantage of being extremely gentle on the
seed. If (as is common with other systems) the shell of the seed is cracked
before it enters the soil, it is immediately attacked by soil-borne fungi. This
damage will either prevent germination, or in some cases, lodge and multiply
in the plant tissue causing plant deaths; even several weeks out from
germination. The Aitchison sponge feed system guarantees no crackage or damage
to seeds during drilling. To illustrate what this can mean in savings take an
example from Heinz-Wattie of Canterbury New Zealand (N. McCormick) who recommend
various rates for sowing peas utilising different seed sowing mechanism.
Drills with the very common fluted roller system are recommended at an average
of 340kg/ha (depending on variety) whilst the Aitchison sponge feed system is
recommended at a average of 275kg/ha as a direct result of all seed germinating
due to an absence of shell crackage 'that's a saving of 12.5%.
So what's this worth to you''' Using the above data, check your acreage
against these figures!
Fluted roller seeding systems 100Ha (247 acres)
Sowing at 340Kg/Ha (303lbs/acre) = 34,000 kgs (74,957 lbs) seed
Aitchison seed pad system 100Ha (247 acres)
Sowing at 275Kg/Ha (245lbs/acre) = 27,000 Kgs (60,627lbs) seed
That is a massive saving of 6,500 Kg (14,330 lbs) of seed.
Which system do you choose'
Aitchison set the benchmark for tine drilling techniques back in the late 1960's
and early 70's when Peter Aitchison and others worked to develop the inverted
'T' sowing boot which revolutionised the seeding industry.
Aitchison Industries (as they were known back then) were the first to utilise
this boot in conjunction with a coil tine on their drills to become what is
now a world famous system. Every drill today using the above concept is basically
a copy of this original design
This very simple concept has basically remained unchanged. When the boot (attached
to the tine) is drawn through the soil and pasture it creates a vibratory action
which creates a smear free, cocoon shaped mini fine tilth seed bed into which
the seed is deposited. At the same time, competing plants have their roots pruned,
the soil is fractured which assists the germinating seed and any available humidity/moisture
tends to be trapped in the slot which is exactly where it is needed.
The design of the coil tine/'T' boot combination gives an ability
to follow the contour dropping the seed at an even depth in almost all ground
conditions. Basically an almost perfect seedbed is created in a single pass
without any cultivation.
Low horsepower usage is, of course, a reality with Aitchison tine drills
low horsepower requirements. These equate to a worst case scenario i.e. uphill
in matted/thatching vegetation requiring 4 horsepower per tine (as a guide)
Single disc opener
The single disc opener was for many years the industry standard prior to development
of the inverted 'T' tine drill. They continue to have a place in
situations such as extreme stone, heavy surface rooting or litter/prunings
(I.e. vineyards) and/or heavy trash. Aitchison have taken this concept and added
the Aitchison Seedbox to create a superior unit. The basic concept machine is
still popular but for the professional operator there is the next generation
which is Seedking.
By creating an undercarriage complete with a unique weight transfer system and
marrying it to a host of specialist features designed and continually updated
in conjunction with a select group of New Zealand's professional agricultural
operators Aitchison continue to supply New Zealand's most favoured contractor
machines, with versions for farm and the highly specialised turf industry. The
range of Seedking Professional and Turf machines outperform the triple disc
system, which is inferior because when using a triple disc, the first disc cuts
(as does a disc coulter) whilst the following 2 are angled inwards which, using
the machine weight 'forces' a vee-shaped seed bed compacting the
soil on either side and creating a 'glazed' or smear finish. No
tilth is created and seed drops directly into this unfriendly environment. The
press wheels further compress the soil and compound the problem. The roots of
the newly emerging seed have difficulty in penetrating the hard packed soil
on both sides and the base of the slot.
Significant independent research shows the Aitchison Professional machines such
as SK223 and SK2122 will give superior results when direct seeding or No-Tilling,
every time. Of course, Triple disc does have its place, in situations such as
after grain harvest in the USA where the ground has been cultivated previously.
There, huge amounts of trash (by New Zealand and Australian standards) must
be returned to the surface by the harvesting machine, for soil conservation
regulation reasons. Seeding must then be done through this cover.
Time moves on, and so does the Research and Development from Aitchison. The
extremely successful introduction of the Air Pro air seeder range introduced
a completely fresh approach to the well known concept of getting seed and fertiliser
out to a wide undercarriage.
Prior to this, available choices were machines designed for overseas conditions,
mainly European. Predictably, while such machines offer some air seeder advantages,
their foreign design constraints do not always suit New Zealand and Australian
management techniques and operating conditions. Aitchison Seedmatic Air Pro
does just this!