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Grassland & Muck

Imported seeding concept takes root This year’s event sees Simtech Aitchison exhibiting its recentlyintroduced T-Sem grass drills. Following last year’s launch, the company reports that sales have been exceptionally good in the UK and France. Simtech’s Simon Clarke says: “We only went into full production last July and we’ve been under constant pressure ever since to keep up with sales.” Simon believes that the New Zealand-developed method that Simtech Aitchison’s drills employs is now as widely regarded in the UK as in its home country. “Large numbers of British livestock farmers travel to New Zealand for their holiday or to visit family and friends. They come home with an understanding of the inverted T-slot method of pasture rejuvenation that was developed in reaction to the loss of subsidies in the early 1980s which necessitated a low-cost method of growing good grass,” he says. Simon also reckons that Simtech Aitchison’s choice of models matches

farmers’ preference. “We were constantly being asked for a 3m working width, which was something we didn’t have with the imported drills. “We also identified several design changes that we believed would improve the drill’s efficiency and ease of use. As soon as we started testing we knew we had the machine we’d been looking for,” he says. The company is keen to stress that these drills aren’t only for grass. They also have the capability to drill anything from clover to beans into any type of surface. The T-Sem grass range comprises two models, the 20-row, 3.0m TSG300 and the 16-row 2.4m TSG240. Both feature powerful front discs that cut a path for the inverted T-slot coulters attached to double coil tines and mounted in an 80mm boxsection frame. Flotation-tyred depth wheels are mounted at the rear of the drill to allow as much weight as possible to be transferred onto the front discs for maximum penetration. A rearmounted chain harrow completes

the process. According to Simon, the flotation tyres are very important since this method of drilling relies on the slot created by the coulter staying partially open. He says: “The coulter is placing the seed into the soil below the sward and can be up to 35mm below the surface. This would be too deep for a conventional drill working into moved soil. “However, the action of the T-slot coulter creates a mini greenhouse under the soil where humidity is generated and sunlight can still penetrate." Stand 507. The T-Sem grass drill cuts a clean slot.

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