Drill Manufacturers In Focus…


KUHN Farm Machinery has developed a significant presence in the tillage sector over the last decade, introducing a range of cultivation equipment and drills with the versatility to work in varying conditions. Specifically, the Espro and the more recently launched Aurock drills have been designed to operate effectively in the unploughed seedbed, including an ability to cope with trashy conditions.

Originally launched in 2015, the Espro range has become a firm favourite with medium to large-scale arable farmers and contractors thanks to the low power requirement and high output capacity of the various models. The Espro is available with single metering in 3.0, 4.0, 6.0 and 8.0 metre formats and with dual metering in 4.0 and 6.0 metre formats.

The CROSSFLEX coulter bar is the key to the Espro range’s high working speeds, enabling seed to be placed accurately at up to 17kph. Each coulter is mounted on polyurethane blocks which allow the individual coulters to closely follow terrain contours. Ground pressure and seeding depth adjustment are controlled hydraulically. This ensures a consistent seeding depth across the machine’s full working width and enables accurate seeding to be carried out at high forward speeds.

The challenge of drilling in wet conditions is becoming ever more common and it is widely appreciated that this can have a significant effect on min till and direct drills. The Espro has large diameter, narrow, offset press wheels which help to allow trash flow through the machine by preventing a buildup in front of the wheels. The Espro is better suited to wetter conditions because the wheels are mounted on their own axle so they can turn independently of each other, which ensures they keep turning. For particularly sticky conditions wheel scrapers are also available.

This also has an impact on power output and fuel economy needed to operate the drill efficiently. This means the Espro can be operated by tractors with as little as 160 horsepower, even in wetter than average conditions. The 900mm diameter of the packer wheels reduces rolling resistance and therefore the power required to pull the machine compared to smaller wheels. The wheels are also narrower than some drills at just 210mm, leaving an 85mm gap to improve soil and residue flow. The narrow width means a larger infiltration zone inbetween the wheels which helps to reduce erosion. The packer wheels are offset 200mm front to rear, which prevents the sometimes-experienced bulldozing effect and makes the drill easier to pull. The reduced accumulation in front of the wheels also prevents the drill from bouncing, which improves the uniformity of seed delivery and placement.

This coupled with the larger 350mm diameter, bevelled edged seeding discs enables the Espro to cut through residue to ensure a consistent seeding depth. The offset discs also help to prevent hair pinning. To better deal with trash, further attention to detail has been given to the disc bearings which are moulded within the disc to create more space between the rows which allows trash to flow out more easily. The hydraulic adjustment of the working discs also helps in trashy conditions by allowing the operator to adjust the position on the move. RC models of the Espro feature a double hopper to further increase efficiencies by choosing to apply fertiliser or a second crop in conjunction with the primary crop. The seeds pass through both metering units and are brought together in the main distribution head and subsequently sent to the coulter bar.

By choosing to apply fertiliser at the same time as the crop, the Espro is able to place fertiliser under the roots between two seed rows. This configuration is of real value for applying elements such as phosphorus. The adjustable fertiliser depth also prevents seedlings from burning. However, should the farming system benefit from cover crops, these can be doubled up and seeded together. The entire hopper can also be used for two varieties of the same seed species. This allows for separate metering but joint seeding for precision drilling of a main crop.

With windows for drilling decreasing in many areas, and the desire to move to a reduced tillage method increasing, the Espro is a valuable machine. The combination of speed, accuracy, and the ability to deal with tricky soil, even in the wet, will make it more attractive should climate change continue to disrupt conventional drilling periods..