Seeding with double-disc rigs

Horsham farm machinery maker and designer Paul Ryan will demonstrate his retrofitted double-disc system on a Flexicoil seeding rig at Wimmera Machinery Field Days this year.

The Flexicoil bar, with the RFM disc system and coil press wheel, is a 9m-wide machine with 300mm spacings. It will be hooked up to a tractor and work in the field.

“I’ve designed an adaptation to most machines that were built in the last 20 and 30 years,’’ Mr Ryan said. “I’m the only one who has done that. That is unique to us.”

The RFM stand will also show the Ryan-designed double discs retrofitted to an AF Gason bar and a Horwood Bagshaw seeding rig, in which the tynes have been removed in a quick changeover arrangement and fitted with the double discs.

The process of retrofitting the discs has proven difficult for some machines but not for others. “Every company in the world nearly has a different mechanism,’’ Mr Ryan said. “There are different angles, and we have to work out how to make a quick change. “And it is fitting into their existing tyne trip assemblies. “We just remove the existing shank from the tyne trip assembly, and we have a shank to match. It is just a case of undoing a couple of bolts or a pin to changeover.’’

Mr Ryan said in some quarters disc seeding had an ill-deserved reputation because of seeding trials that had cast doubt on the ability for no-till disc systems to handle chemicals. But it was important to realise that not all disc systems penetrated the soil in the same way.

He said disc design had matured considerably since his father, Austin, built a single disc system in 1983 after realising that moisture conservation was essential for broadacre agriculture following the 1982 drought.

said his latest double discs were used successfully by farmers across Australia as well as in eastern Europe, where he had managed to work out a method of retrofitting the discs to a popular Russian-built seeding rig. “It can handle everything from the Mallee sands to the black soils of Kazakhstan,’’ he said.

RFM has been building seeding and tillage equipment for Australian farmers for more than five decades. RFM continues to build and sell aircarts and other equipment for tillage and sowing but it is the unique double disc system that is taking most of Mr Ryan’s time — yet there is little time required of farmers to make the changeover. A bar can be retrofitted with the double-discs in a few hours.

“We found most people are sticking with discs,’’ he said. “Once they change over, they don’t worry about going back.’’ His father won awards for equipment designs, including products such as spring release cultivators and a spring release wireline cultivator.

He said the changing practices of cultivation and a move to heavier bars, the adoption of interrow sowing and fewer livestock trampling the ground between crops, meant conditions were a lot better suited for disc seeding.

“It is all about productivity,’’ he said. “If a guy can put a crop in 30 per cent faster, then they are using 30 per cent less fuel.’’ He explained that the lead disc on the RFM double was a serrated disc, which was the driving disc on the ground “It is an inch forward on the plane, which is all about the penetration,” he said.

“Two discs side by side, well they would act like a wedge.’’ He said the double discs had won a lot of converts, and he had many customers who experimented with equipment and fittings over several seasons, including the Morgan family — grain growers at Ballyrogan near Ararat — who tested the double discs over a couple of years.

He said the results had prompted a couple of the neighbouring farmers to get the double discs for their machines.

Mr Ryan demonstrated his machine to a farmer at Nagambie last week, then he was back in Horsham to load up some gear before heading to Shepparton to devise a system to fit to a parallelogram tyne machine.

Mulcaster, G. (2014, February 26). Seeding with double-disc rigs. The Weekly Times, pp. 21.