Drill Manufacturers In Focus…


Headed by farmer and engineer Martin Lole, Mzuri is a leading manufacturer of strip tillage seed drills that have been tried and tested on the company’s trial farm since its inception. Formally a conventionally managed farm heavily infested with a high burden of blackgrass and charlock, the Mzuri Pro-Til system has turned the arable enterprise around to become a clean, productive and sustainable farm.

A large part of the trial farms turnaround has been put down to widening the cropping rotation and including more cover and spring crops, something that the manufacturer advocates and is easily achievable using the Pro-Til drill. With the exceptionally poor weather restricting much of drilling during Autumn 2019, the manufacturer suggests getting spring cropping right will be even more important this year. Designed to deliver quick and consistent establishment direct into residue the Mzuri Pro-Til drill boasts several innovative features that make it ideally suited to spring drilling and getting a crop up and away quickly.

Cover crop no problem

Advocating retaining as much surface residue as possible prior to drilling, Mzuri chop and spread their straw with the combine on their trial farm and establish high volume cover crops to provide biomass, retain soil moisture and increase organic matter. As a result, the trial farm has seen their soil organic matter double, thanks to retaining previous crop residue on the surface and allowing nature to take its course. The Pro-Til has been engineered to drill directly into residue such as this, by moving trash out of the seeding zone with the front leg whilst creating a friable strip to seed into. The residue free, loosened strip provides the perfect nursery seedbed for germinating seeds whilst untilled surrounding soil provide the perfect environment for roots to thrive, giving the crop the best start. Drilling into cover crops is made even simpler with the Pro-Til’s staggered layout. Reconsolidation wheels and tine coulters alternate, aiding the flow of residue through the machine, allowing for minimal moisture loss during the critical spring season.

Fertiliser where it’s needed

With a shorter growing season, getting a spring below the seed where it’s needed, with moisture preserved and readily available to activate it. Not dependent on rainfall to wash in any nutrients and being placed in a targeted zone makes for a competitive crop, limiting the nutrient supply to weeds.

Band fertiliser placement holds a whole host of benefits to those in catchment sensitive areas where targeted application reduces the risk of run off and nutrients finding their way into watercourses. The manufacturer also suggests that accurate fertiliser placement can improve the efficiency of applications and gives roots the best chance of uptake where typically nutrient absorption, soil chemical reactions and nutrient movement to roots are generally much slower at lower temperatures.

Consolidate and reconsolidate

The Pro-Til is designed to consolidate multiple operations including seedbed preparation, fertiliser placement, reconsolidation, seeding, slug baiting and harrowing in one pass. With this in mind the manufacturer suggests significant time and fuel savings can be made to drive down costs and improve profitability. Featuring dual reconsolidation from the main centre and press wheels, air pockets are removed and create excellent seed-to-soil contact with many users opting for no additional rolling post drilling.

By consolidating these stages into a single pass, the Pro-Til gives operators greater flexibility to pick their timings and delay drilling to coincide with soil temperature whilst not compromising on quality of establishment.

Accurate seeding depth

Timing is critical, not just in the spring but throughout the crop’s life, from chemistry applications to even senescence. To achieve a consistent crop from headland to headland, Mzuri pride themselves on accurate seeding depth even over undulating ground. Their patented independent, hydraulically pressurised, pivoting coulters ensure accurate drilling depth is retained across the field, promoting consistent emergence in a narrow window.

On their Worcestershire trial farm this even emergence has proven widely beneficial from a crop management and pest control perspective and has evened out inconsistencies associated with their previous conventional system.

Flexibility is ability

With a range of coulter options and leg configurations the Pro-Til system lends itself to a variety of spring cropping options including, beans, cereals, oilseed rape and maize. The popular Pro-Til Select model allows operators to drill on 33cm or 66cm row widths at the switch of a button. Coupled with single or dual band coulters, or the Xzact singulation seeding unit the Pro-Til is a versatile solution for a range of soil types – whatever the season.