Sky Agriculture launches new electronic options, ISObus ready control and adds a fourth hopper to EasyDrill and MaxiDrill ranges

Sky Agriculture will have a whole host of updates for its EasyDrill and MaxiDrill ranges at Lamma 2020.

The new 20 Series updates to the EasyDrill and MaxiDrill include a new electronics package with blockage sensing, individual row shut off and ISObus control as well as a second “Pro-Hopper” allowing 4 products to be individually metered and distributed at once.

With grain and fertiliser main tanks as standard and the possibility of adding one or two smaller Pro-Hoppers, the range of possible applications the machine can be employed for is dramatically extended. The operator can now place seed, fertiliser, companion crops and plant protection products accurately in one pass.  For example, a oilseed rape can be sown with fertilizer, alongside a companion crop of beans and phacelia to reduce insect predation and insecticide usage.

As with the previous generations of Sky drills, 20 Series machines have two outlets, the first being the disc coulter and the second a placement tube with 3 different positions to allow depth to be varied.

One pro-hopper places its product into the air flow for the disc coulter whilst the second delivers its metered product into the second airflow for the tube outlet. The double air circuit means the user can manage the air flow of each distribution circuit to suit the type and quantity of product that is metered. For example, OSR at 2.3kg/ha should have a lower pressure to ensure good placement while DAP fertiliser at 150kg/ha can have a higher pressure. Importantly the fact that Sky uses two separate distribution systems reduces the amount of material in each pipe and avoids blockages in damp conditions.

The all new electronics package maximizes the user benefits from Sky’s separate distribution systems and industry leading seed metering technology. At the heart of this is the Quartz 800 control box. All four metering units are controlled from the full colour touch-screen console making Sky drills exceptionally user friendly.  Furthermore, variable rate seeding on all four hoppers is now a possibility and in addition all 20 Series drills are ISObus ready.

Other minor enhancements to the 20 Series drills include a new V shaped chassis, giving better visibility of the central coulters and improved access to the hoppers.

E Drive Premium – electronic half width and individual row shut off

The top-spec option for the new drills is ‘E Drive Premium’.  As well as offering left and right section control, E Drive premium provides electronic shut off for each individual outlet, with the result that the drill can be set to seed with any number of row configurations from the touch of a button.

This ability to shut off individual rows means that whatever the width of the sprayer or spreader it no longer needs to be a multiple of the drill width – simply enter the sprayer/spreader width into the control box and the tramlines will be calculated and set automatically.  From now on the customer can change sprayer/spreader width without having to renew the drill – an extremely valuable function for contractors providing drilling services for customers with a range of different tramline regimes.

Blockage sensing

The new electronics package also means EasyDrills and MaxiDrills can now be specified with blockage sensing for both the seed and fertiliser distribution systems to provide an early warning in case of any issues.

“Sky has delivered what our customers have been asking for” says Joe Redman, Sky Drills specialist at OPICO Ltd.

“With sustainability and the environmental agenda at the forefront of most farming minds the control update and option of a fourth hopper and metering unit delivers a multitude of options for farmers to reduce their input costs and more accurately target where products are placed. There’s also greater opportunity to improve soil health and reduce chemical usage through companion cropping”.

 

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About The Author

John Swire - Deputy editor of Agronomist and Arable Farmer as well as responsibility for the Agronomist and Arable Farmer and Farm Business websites. After 17 years milking cows on the family farm John started writing about agriculture in 1998 and has since written for a variety of publications and has developed a wide circle of contacts within the industry. When not working John is a season ticket holder at Stoke City and also of late has become a fitness freak, listing cycling, swimming and walking as his exercises of choice.