Maschio Gaspardo is set to introduce a new level of sophistication to precision drilling into the UK. With a completely new seed delivery system, air bag suspension for each unit and electronically-controlled metering for both seed and fertiliser, the Chrono range offers fast-paced precision drilling with unrivalled seed placement and depth control.
While conventional precision drills might run at 7-8kph, the Chrono has the potential to at least double these work-rates, at the same time improving the accuracy of seed spacing and depth placement.
This level of precision is all down to a new design of metering unit. Using a combination of traditional vacuum singulation and then pressure delivery down the coulter tube, the moment the seed leaves the metering disc it is kept under control. The Chrono doesn’t just leave it to gravity to ensure seed ends up in the ground, a venturi puts it under positive pressure, controlling its speed and therefore ensuring it ends up in the soil without bounce.
Aside from conventional vacuum singulation, the other factor that makes for ultra-accurate seed spacing is the angle of each metering unit. Set on an incline of 150, seed drops off the disc and straight down the coulter tube without touching the sides. This means it is not slowed up at any point, with the result that seed spacing is consistently uniform.
The goal for the Gaspardo design team, in the development of the Chrono, was to achieve industry-leading work-rates while maintaining accuracy. One of the biggest challenges with this is ensuring consistent seeding depth so the engineers turned to time-proven technology from the commercial vehicle world. Rather than employing traditional springs to generate downforce on each coulter unit, they integrated air-bag suspension into the Chrono’s parallelogram linkages.
As well as providing protection against shock-loading from stones and obstacles, the system maintains constant down-pressure, avoiding the units bouncing at speed. With the ability to adjust coulter pressure to cater for differing conditions, this ensures uniform seeding depth at high work rates.
The Chrono is fully ISOBUS-compatible enabling all its functions and adjustments to be handled either through an existing tractor terminal or an additional ISOBUS controller. In combination with the electronically-driven seeding units and microgranular applicator, the GPS-compatible drill controller also provides automatic row shut-off/section control and the potential for variable rate seeding and fertiliser applications.
Despite being a highly sophisticated machine, employing the latest technology, there has been a deliberate focus on keeping maintenance to a minimum while extending the working life of the various components. Brushless long-life electric motors fully sealed from dust ingress are used for the seed and microgranular metering units. In addition, there are individual filters for the air-intakes on each seeding unit as well as a larger one for the main lobe compressor to ensure zero contamination of the workings.
The Chrono has proven itself across the Continent for the last two years and a full range of six and eight-row models is available in the UK, following comprehensive field testing with contractors in the west country this season.
Prices start from £53,534 RRP for a six-row Chrono 306 with 1200-litre fertiliser hopper. Standard specification includes air-bag suspension, GPS-compatible ISOBUS controls, 60-litre, low-level, easy-fill seed hoppers and front disc-openers to ensure consistent coulter penetration in UK conditions. Electronically controlled microgranular applicators with 16-litre hoppers are an option, as are trash-cleaning wheels for minimum tillage and direct-drilling situations.