The right machine for the job to be done – this is every farmer’s wish. On Erich Hillermann’s sugarcane farm just outside Pietermaritzburg, careful research is done before a machine is purchased. “With the value of the rand, it has become very expensive to buy tools and every tool has to prove its economic value,” says Erich. He recently invested in an APV PS 300 air pressure transmitter from Valtrac, which fits on his existing combination dishwasher. The aim is to sow oats for green manure. As sugarcane is a perennial crop, a farmer has little opportunity to ensure that the soil structure and composition of the land that will carry the sugarcane for the next few years is correct.
Before establishing a new land, the Hillermanns make sure that the remnants of the burnt sugarcane are incorporated well with a good dose of compost. At the beginning of winter, oats are planted which serve as green manure for the new sugarcane. In earlier years, they worked with a double disc harrow to grind the soil on the land and then spread the seed with a fertilizer spreader before everything was rolled up afterwards. There were a few problems: The farm has many contours where you have to turn sharply. This means the heavy disc harrow often had to be towed forward and back and forth, and on the winning field was scattered wide and double to make sure there were no parts being skipped. Erich says he worked on 50 kg of seed per hectare, but he could never ensure that it was spread everywhere and evenly. Now, with the APV PS 300 sower, the work is precise and the cost much lower. Only one cultivation is required, which means fuel is saved, less labor and time is used and only 25 kg of seed per hectare is needed for a solid, even plant stand. Erich says in addition to the money they save, he is also impressed with the simple calibration. “It’s just chop-chop,” he says. “On the control panel you choose how wide you want to plant, as well as your speed and planting density and then you let the unit run for 30 seconds or a minute. The seeds are collected in a bowl and then weighed. The weight is entered and the unit adjusts its measuring speed. ” Radar sensors that measure the ground speed ensure that the right amount of seed is blown out, regardless of the speed. Sensors can also be placed on the three-point linkage that stops the planting process when the rollers are lifted on the winch.
A little further north, in the Vryheid area, Derick Craig also recently invested in thorough research in an APV PS 300 sower, but the machine that sows his abba also comes from the APV factory and is called an APV GP 300 The GP 300 has two sets of fingers of 12 and 8 mm respectively which disturb and level the soil to prepare the seedbed. In front of the teeth is a scraper that removes obstacles such as large stones, anthills or molehills from the road, then follow the teeth, the seed tubes and at the very back is a Cambridger roller that ensures good ground contact. Derick says that due to the drought, he has not really had a chance to use the machine for the purpose for which he bought it, and that is to establish new grass in existing field. “To relocate to existing countries, the land must be a bit moist,” he says. The APV combination was thoroughly tested in cultivated soil and Derick established his bitch, Rhodes and old country grass for the hay market with it. “He is very satisfied with the machine’s rigidity, neat finish, simple calibration and accurate sowing without spillage.” Now I can do everything in one go, “he says.
Marinus Kohler from Reitz also used the APV PS 300 thoroughly last season with the establishment of a few hundred hectares of teff. He says: “I would not have got the job done in any other way.” The rain was late, the work was heavy and strong winds made it impossible to sow with a fertilizer spreader as before. “The APV has pipes with outlets and you can set the height to your needs,” he says. He mounted the sower on a combination dish and spread the seed just in front of the rollers so that it could be trampled on immediately. Marinus says Valtrac’s people helped him a lot to correct some teething problems at the beginning and from then on he worked through it smoothly. There were no blockages of the fine teff seed, the calibration works simply and remains constant once set, there was good distribution of the seed without any bank formation and it all ensured a good plant stand and yield. Going forward, the APV will especially help him to establish green manure with a view to grain production. “It is good value for money,” says Marinus.
Pöttinger Terradisc 3001
A high-speed compact disc (combination dishwasher) that works excellently with the APV PS 300 is the Terradisc 3001 from Pöttinger, which is also distributed by Valtrac in South Africa. The Terradisc works on the three-point linkage and is designed for fast leveling with thorough cutting
For more information on Valtrac’s APV and Pöttinger solutions, call Attie de Villiers at 083-261-9863, 056-817-8006 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Also visit www.valtrac.co.za for links to more information.