PRECISION seeding manufacturer, Seed Hawk, has released a new metering system that will enable its Seed Hawk iCon air carts to accurately sow between one and 500 kilograms/hectare of seed and fertiliser at speeds of up to 15km/hour.
Launched in Australia last year, iCon carts feature up to eight independent electronic metering systems, individual load cells in each tank and an iPad-based ‘wi-fi’ control system that makes calibration, section control or variable rate application a breeze.
CLAAS Harvest Centre product manager – Seed Hawk, Marc Nesbit, describes the third-generation Fenix III as the ‘Mercedes Benz’ of metering systems.
“This is most advanced seed metering technology yet developed by Väderstad, which is recognised as a world leader in precision seeding,” he said.
Väderstad, a family-owned Swedish farm machinery manufacturer, acquired Seed Hawk in 2013.
The Fenix III meter was thoroughly evaluated in the Väderstad research and development facility in Sweden before undergoing extensive ‘out-of-season’ field testing in Canada and Australia.
More than 4000ha of field testing, designed to replicate extreme operating conditions has been completed in the past three months alone.
The Fenix III features a robust, integrated design for consistent flow and easy maintenance.
“The motor, rollers, housing, inlets and outlets work together seamlessly to provide precise, consistent and reliable metering under all conditions,” Mr Nesbit said.
“The metering chamber features stainless steel plate lining to withstand abrasive fertilisers, while the central shaft is mounted on sealed stainless steel bearings.
“The metering roller itself is made of polyurethane, which prevents damage to the motor if a foreign object becomes stuck in the metering system.”
Each meter is driven by a high torque 40 watt electric motor fitted to a 64:1 reduction gearbox, which allows the Fenix III to run efficiently at a low rpm and seed at a wide range of rates.
Five rollers are available to suit a wide range of seed, fertiliser, inoculants, micronutrients and other crop inputs.
“The rollers do not fill from across the entire width of the inlet at the same time,” Mr Nesbit said.
“Instead, they fill from one side of the roller to the other, preventing jamming.
“The motors and rollers can be removed quickly and easily for cleaning or to replace the rollers.
“Each roller can only be installed in one direction to avoid any mistakes.”
Mr Nesbit said the new metering systems would enable iCon carts to perform to their true capability.
“iCon is probably the biggest thing to happen in the seeding sector for the past decade,” he said.
“It brings all of the technology available for spraying, spreading and harvesting to seeding, which is the biggest single cost associated with growing a crop.
“Section control and variable application have the potential to reduce input costs by 5 to 10 per cent by eliminating overlap on headlands.
Seed Hawk’s Sectional Control Technology (SCT) automatically shuts down the seed and fertiliser metering systems and lifts the openers on a section-by-section basis as the machine passes over sown ground.
“This prevents the opener from disturbing the seed and fertiliser already in the ground,” Mr Nesbit said.
“The driver does not have to worry about flipping switches to stop and start product flow or pulling levers to raise and lower the openers.”
The iCon is controlled using wi-fi from a cabin-mounted tablet ‘app’.
“The controller provides simple and intuitive control of all seeder and toolbar functions without the need for complex hardware/software interfaces or wiring,” Mr Nesbit said.
“It combines real-time information with on-the-go automatic calibration, eliminating guesswork and the frustrating need to go back and forth from the cabin to the cart.
iCon 800, 660 and 500 carts have a total capacity of 22, 18 and 15 tonnes across four, three and two primary bins, respectively.
An additional one-tonne bin on all three models allows small seeds, granular inoculant and micronutrients to be fed directly to the seed or fertiliser lines.
“iCon allows the operator to blend fertilisers from two different bins on the go or incorporate granular inoculants directly to the seed row,” Mr Nesbit said.
“Likewise, you can divert the seed or fertiliser in each tank to either the seed to the fertiliser airstream simply by flicking a switch.”
Standard features include easy access ladders and walkways, while optional high capacity augers, belt conveyors or bag lifting systems ensure fast and easy filling.
The iCon aircarts were purpose-designed for use with Seed Hawk 45 and XL toolbars, which span eight working widths from 12 metres (40’) to 25.2m (84’).
Both series can be configured with 25 cm (10”) or 30 cm (12”) row spacings.
Source: CLAAS Harvest Centre
So now we can divert the seed and fertilizer flows with a flip of the switch instead of changing the diverter at the bottom of the metering system?