CHANGING from tines to discs has transformed the sowing of this year’s crops for Ian and Ben Milliken.
The father-and-son team farm near Nagambie and Euroa, and have switched to a Tobin no-till disc drill to improve seed-to-soil contact.
The Millikens are planting 1000ha of crops, including canola, faba beans, wheat and triticale.
So far they are impressed with the new planter’s trash-handling ability in a year when it has been difficult to burn stubble because of high moisture levels.
“This year other farmers are having hell’s trouble because of the stubble,” Ian said.
“Some have had to buy stubble mulchers because it has been difficult to burn the stubble due to the wet.”
Ian said the disc machine had no trouble handling the trash and getting good soil-to-seed contact, unlike the tined machine last year.
“With the Tobin planter we had none of those big lumps that the tined machine pulled up last year,” he said.
There were considerable fuel savings, too.
“This year, in similar conditions to last year, we are going 4km/h faster than last year with the same width tined planter and using six litres of fuel per hour less.”
Low maintenance was another attraction.
“There’s nothing to go wrong with it,” Ian said. The planter is made by agricultural machinery manufacturer Tobin No-Till in Forbes, NSW.
Tobin director Noel Tobin said the planter was capable of sowing efficiently up to 25km/h.
His confidence in the machine is reflected in the three-year warranty on all the ground-engaging bearings such as disc bearings, press wheel bearings and muffler wheel bearings.
“We are very happy that we have been able to ensure farmers can plant regardless of conditions, be they large volumes of trash, rocks or sticky soils,” Noel said.
“Farmers cannot be expected to start trash handling at harvest time, and most times cannot afford to wait for ideal conditions.
“This is where our machine can make a difference.”
Noel said the planter had six grease nipples on a 12m machine and this, coupled with 610mm sowing discs and 610mm press wheels, had virtually eliminated the need for in-field maintenance.
The Tobin planter is available in various spacings from 250mm up and sizes ranging from 6.1m to 22m.
In addition to lower fuel consumption, the company claims other advantages including lower labour costs with fewer passes and improved crop yields from more accurate seed placement and higher retention of soil moisture and stubble.