Drill Manufacturer in Focus: Horizon

SPX Strip-Till Cultivator and PPX Planter

Will Coward is a farmer and contractor from Wiltshire, maize planting makes up around 750 acres of the contracting business alongside umbilical slurry spreading and baling being the bulk of the contracting operation.

The farming side of the business centres around a 360 head of Aberdeen Angus suckler herd.

Keen to explore the benefits of regenerative farming practices, three years ago Will took the decision to understand how strip-till cultivation could reduce ploughing and heavy cultivation to establish maize crops in line with the min-till practices they were already following on the farm.

Cover crop planting has become a bigger part of the contracting business due to catchment sensitive schemes subsidised by Wessex water locally. As Duchy of Cornwall tenant’s, they are working hard to push conservation and regenerative best practice and methods.

The challenge of growing Maize crops over the last few seasons, with wet springs was the prompt to look at different options of crop establishment.

The move from the traditional plough, subsoil and power harrow started when looking at the options for changing an ageing mounted drill.

A demo of an 8 row Horizion SPX Strip-Till cultivator quickly proved the benefits of not moving all of the soil, as the traditional methods did, fuel and time savings were instant, as much as two thirds reduced in fuel alone.

The features on the SPX Strip-Till cultivator Will particularly like were the pneumatically controlled row cleaners and consolidation, which can both be altered from the cab.

The option of being able to fit a spring tine (Vibrotine kit) in place of the Tungsten carbide wear legs was also a big selling point, the plan is to trail Strip-Till in the autumn for next year maize planting and run the Vibrotine through in the spring. 

It also highlighted some of the options around drills, having tried an 8 row trailed drill on fully cultivated ground, it quickly became apparent it wasn’t completely accurate in following the strip-till cultivator.

With the Horizon SPX being a tool bar mounted, three point linkage implement, getting a trailed drill to follow accurately on curves / headlands proved more than a challenge.

The solution was all too obvious, the Horizon PPX Planter had been designed to work directly in tandem with the Horizon SPX Strip-Till Cultivator, it also offered another very distinct advantage, the option of a liquid fertiliser tank and system specifically designed to work on the drill, working in very competitive area for maize drilling, it also offered something other contractors weren’t able to.

The PPX Planter has been designed to perfectly place seed into the optimal growing environment even in the most challenging environments. High volumes of crop residue, hard no-till stubbles or uneven strip till seedbeds are just some of the challenges that the PPX can comfortably handle. The PPX won’t only perform in these challenging scenarios, it will also capture live data and make automated adjustments to ensure the optimal growing environment is achieved for every seed.

Supplied by local Dealers Redlynch Tractors, the first crop of maize was planted on the 11th of May 2023 with the new drill, Installed by Charlie Eaton from Horizon, Will was immediately impressed with how easy it was possible to control and manage the drill settings from the cab with the 20/20 screen, with accurate seed placement, both depth and spacing being paramount, the ability to be able to change the settings was something that Will saw as a benefit to the purchasing the PPX drill, even being able to see soil temperature on the screen was a real benefit to planting timings.

With its first planting season behind it, Will considers one of Horizons strongest attributes being its people. “ It was nice to know that someone was on the end of a phone on a Saturday if I was having trouble, a quick phone call answered my questions”

With crops looking better than they did last year and harvest only just around the corner, Will’s already looking at planting cover crops on land destined for maize next season, who said maize can’t be part of regen farming?

For more information on Horizion Agriculture’s products  www.horizonagriculture.com