Four-part seeder rig shows promise

Jo FulwoodCountryman

Neridup farmer Dave Cox believes his four-part self-engineered seeding rig is the solution to sowing into fine soils on his property.

It might look a bit awkward, but the rig allows Mr Cox to seed and mouldboard plough in just one pass.

The key to this set up, according to Mr Cox, is to be able to seed into soils that have been ploughed in just a matter of minutes.

He said the benefits of mouldboard ploughing in the Esperance district had been proven over the last couple of years but there had been problems with wind and soil erosion.

"If we are ploughing in warm weather, a second pass would only dry out the top soil and it just blows away," Mr Cox said.

"This is something that we've tried to address by engineering the connection and packing parts of this seeding set up.

"We've got 600ha of Urambie barley that was sown with this machine on the 18th of March that is up and has been grazed by the cattle for over six weeks now."

The one-pass machine incorporates the tractor and the air cart followed by the mouldboard plough and then finally a packer.

He said ploughing into the fine soils in the Esperance district could be tricky after large rainfall events.

"We had 150mm in March and another 130 mm in May, so if you drove out onto a newly ploughed paddock now, you'd get bogged," he said.

"When we plough the paddock, we really don't want to drive on that paddock again.

"It's way too soft to tow a heavy seeder bar over it and all a seeder bar does is compact the soil again.

"This way we don't have to drive on the paddock again for another year.

"Ideally we want to seed within 15 minutes of the paddock being ploughed."

Mr Cox said farm trials of mouldboard ploughing around the district had shown significant yield improvements compared with non-ploughed paddocks.

"All the farmer trials are pointing towards 100 per cent yield increases," he said.

Mr Cox said while there was a similar set up available in the UK, he was unaware of any seeding rig of this size available in Australia.

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