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The Vitamech team again had the luxury of their grand, roofed exhibition area at the NAMPO 2019 Show, which was inaugurated last year. “We experienced fewer feet through our exhibit this year, but we had to attend to more serious interest enquiries about our products,” says Louis van der Merwe.
Louis knows what he is talking about – he worked at NAMPO for the first time 43 years ago and is still going. “It is amazing to see how the machines have developed and how the technology has made inroads. The machines have become bigger, but the enquiries has also become ‘bigger’ as farming business continues to grow,” says Louis.
In the Vitamech exhibit the “big” technology of Väderstad played havoc with the farmers’ imagination. The Tempo 16 row planter holds the record as the fastest planter in the world.
The big test was held in Hungary. The Tempo could plant 504 ha at a speed of 20 to 22 km/h in 24 hours at an unbelievable precision percentage of 98,5% for the placing of maize seed, pelleted fertiliser and weed killer.
The Paralex frame of the Tempo, which follows the contours beautifully, and the continuous communication between the speedometer and the seed counter’s driving motor, ensures that the seed placing remains exactly the same against any incline or at any speed.
The mystery of the Väderstad design is that the planter works with positive airflow, which follows the seed into the soil. Other airflow planters let go at a stage and allow the seed to free fall into the soil, but the airflow action of the Tempo blows every kernel at 15 m per second through the system right down to the bottom of the planting furrow. A small pressure wheel follows close behind the planting tube to press the seed into the soil immediately before it can roll away or escape.
Other advantages of the blower technique is that the seed always move straight downwards and do not hit the sides when the planter moves over rough terrain. Those milliseconds are, of course, absolutely important for accurate seed placing.
Electric motors drive the fertiliser system and also each planter unit. There are no chains that can slip off. The communication system shows every row unit on the electronic screen in the cabin and sensors in the seed tubes monitor the placing of every seed kernel. Missing out and double placings are immediately detected.
The fertiliser is placed obliquely under every seed, where it can be utilised with best effect.
The seed tanks of the 16-row have a capacity of 100 litres each, a 20 litre weed killer tank, and a central fertiliser tank that holds 5 000 litres pelleted fertiliser. With a full fertiliser tank the planter requires 260 kilowatt pulling tractor power.
An implement that can do the work of a giant, also in difficult soil, is the Väderstadt Topdown, which can work from five to nine metres wide. “You may salute the performance of the Topdown,” says Louis tongue in the cheek about the name of the machine.
The combination implement cut plant residue, rip and loosen the soil, mix the rests in the topsoil and prepare a seedbed in one process. The 12,5 cm spaced conical discs on individually suspended disc arms creates a fine seedbed in one pass. The working intensity of the discs can be adjusted from the cab on the move. The discs are made from hardened V-55 Swedish steel.
They are followed by the tines, spaced at 27 cm over three rows with 700 kg tearaway force. The discs can be changed, but every tine is fitted as standard with a MixIn mouldboard which also throws the soil to the front instead of only upwards, resulting in it being lifted and mixed twice by the same tine. The working depth is 300 mm, but can be lengthened to 400 mm.
Behind the tines is a row of covering and levelling discs fitted to the bar with parallel shackles to retain the level. The working height of the discs can also be adjusted from the cabin.
Behind them follow the compacting rollers which has to leave a firm seedbed with firm contact between soil and seed. The Topdown can be set to transfer the full weight of the machine to the rollers, or it can be divided between the rollers and wheels.
A planter for fine seed and green fertilising can also be mounted on the machine.
For more information about the Väderstadt technology or any of the other Vitamech product ranges and extensive spare parts magazine, contact Jurie Swart on 083-375-8840 (cellphone) or 021-907-8000( landline) or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org , or phone Louis van der Merwe on 072-626-8409. You can also visit the website www.vitamech.co.za.