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Every farmer knows the secret of harvesting a bumper crop lies therein that every planted kernel should have an equally good chance to develop into a strong, healthy plant. This can only happen when all kernels are planted at an equal depth in a firm seedbed equally spaced from each other; it is then when they germinate at the same time and all the plants get the same amount of water, nutrients and sunlight so that not one them is neglected or crowded by the others.
Gerald Smith of Kleinwater near Witbank (Emalahleni) is one of the farmers who takes note of these truths. He grows seed and commercial maize and rotates it with potatoes. He is very excited about the news that LEMKEN now also markets a maize planter.
“I have already established an excellent relationship with LEMKEN and Karel and Christo are on my farm regularly to assist me with settings and for after-sales service,” says Christo.
“LEMKEN towable equipment do all my primary cultivation perfectly. We use the Karat 9 with broad shares to rip 350 mm deep. Then we attach the Helidor 9 directly in front of the planter to prepare a beautiful seedbed,” says Gerald.
After the arrival of the LEMKEN equipment on the farm Gerald found that the work was done quicker and completed more efficiently. The soil is also consolidated after each tilling to conserve soil moisture. It is especially on sandy soils where the implements really prove their value.
“I recently ran into Karel in town and he asked whether I possibly had a spare piece of land where he could test a new planter,” says Gerald. “I accommodated him and consequently I was privileged to be the first farmer to test the Azurit 9 with its fertiliser bin,”
Karel Munnik, managing director of LEMKEN, says: “We are planning a tour with the new Azurit 9 planter in the summer rainfall area and will visit different districts with varying conditions where we will plant trials – with control plots – to test the new planter.
“We started in Witbank, followed by Middelburg, Wonderfontein and Newcastle. Kookhuis and Hofmeyr were also confirmed for maize plantings. After that we return to the North for soybean trials, and then move to the West for further trials.”
The Azurit planter actually arrived in South Africa by sea in November 2015 as a test model to be used for trials, but then it was without the fertiliser unit.
“We tested the Azurit with five different clients and they were enthusiastic about the results that were achieved, but at that time the planter was not yet available on the market. Meanwhile the Azurit has now been thoroughly tested in Europe over eight years and the first units sold there like hot cakes last season,” says Karel.
With the Solitair 12 SW as fertiliser unit, the Azurit is now the complete planter for South African conditions. It is also available with the Solitair 23, which can be mounted on the nose of the tractor for pelleted fertiliser. The fertiliser is placed in the middle of the Delta Row, which consists of staggered twin sub-rows spaced 12,5 cm apart, giving seedlings on both sides of the row access to the fertiliser.
On the land where the trial was undertaken, a Roundup Ready multi-headed cultivar for commercial production was planted. A plant stand of 50 000 was recommended by the seed supplier and a total fertilising package for 8 tons/ha was calculated.
During planting the Solitair 12 placed 150 kg pelleted fertiliser per hectare. Three weeks after planting 150 kg liquid fertiliser will be applied through the centre pivot irrigator, and six weeks after that a further 150 kg. “We aim at a yield of 8 tons per hectare, but we hope that, with a lower plant stand and the multi-headed cultivar, we might attain 10 tons,” says Gerald.
The row width of the demonstration unit is 75 cm, but units are also available in widths of 50 cm, 70 cm, 76,1 cm and 80 cm. The Azurit places the seed in a staggered manner 12,5 cm apart. Each planter unit is controlled and monitored electrically/electronically and separately, from inside the cabin by means of ISOBUS. Planting can also be done by means of prescription charts.
The important breakthrough made by LEMKEN with the Azurit is that every planter unit plants Delta rows. This means that two seed rows and one fertiliser lane are planted in a tramline (double row) by a single planter unit. The fertiliser is placed deeper and exactly in the centre of the two seed rows in the form of an inverted triangle. The seed in the Delta row then has equal access to the fertiliser for seedling development.
The Delta row is effected with a small vertical seed drum in the seedbin, which is powered by electricity. Two rows of small holes staggered on both sides, ensure that the two seed rows are placed in the soil in the same manner. Thus the staggered placement of the seed cannot lose the pattern over a distance as a result of a variation in drive. The seed is transported to the units on an air stream from the central 600 litre seedbin. Approximately one litre of seed is stored per measuring unit and sent to the unit on demand.
The Azurit is presently available in a 4-row, 6-row and 8-row, from 50 cm to 76,1 cm, as well as a 12 row 50 cm model. The Germany factory is presently engaged in the development of bigger planters, which may include a 12-row, 16-row and a 24-row, specifically for their export-aimed countries.
The Solitair 12 SW, which performs without a hitch in the front of the Azurit, holds 5 800 litres, or more than 6 000 kg loose fertiliser in its bin. It is also possible to adjust the depth of the fertiliser stream between the two seed rows.
Each unit has two steel wheels under the main beam of the planter, which re-consolidates the soil to ensure a firm seedbed. The seeding coulters cut a true V to ensure accurate depth. Directly behind the seed tube runs a soft rubber wheel which tramps the seed down accurately to prevent scattering and ensure optimal contact between seed and soil. These are followed by pressure wheels that again firms the soil neatly on top of the seed.
There is a mechanism in the seed units which can be adjusted from the cabin to prevent double planting and gap teeth. It is not necessary at all to calibrate the planter’s seed population. All that is required, is to import the desired plant stand on the touch screen monitor, and the planter will calculate by itself to implement your instructions exactly.
The Azurit is a speedy performer which can work with ease at 15 km/h.
Contact Karel Munnik on 082-412-2577 or visit the website www.LEMKEN.com for more information regarding this advanced seed drill.