Reviews

Test: Dalbo 6.3m Maxiroller

Farm Trader takes a closer look at the Dalbo Maxiroller in action

Kiwis love a good two-for-the-price-of-one bargain. This month’s test machine, the Dalbo 6.3m Maxiroller with the addition of the Einböck air seeder fits nicely into that category.

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Having said that, you may have to speak nicely to Cochranes about the two for the price of one thing and possibly the bargain bit. Nevertheless, this combination gives large-scale farmers and contractors the ability to plant grass and brassica crops with the convenience of doing two jobs at once, but for a lower outlay, thanks to the fact this machine is significantly cheaper than a systems drill of a similar size, plus has the added bonus of being able to be pulled by a 100hp tractor.

The other benefit to both the contractor and client is that the machine can be placed straight into the ploughed ground with very convincing results, which reduces bashing the soil structure around with a power harrow and allows higher yields.

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Jaiden Drought checks out the Dalbo Maxiroller

Dalbo roller

Dalbo is a Danish company that manufactures a wide range of rollers, seedbed cultivators, stubble cultivators, and front presses, alongside the recently tested and impressive Rollomaximum.

The Dalbo Maxiroll we tested has recently been resigned to a sleeker, more refined chassis, which retains the strength of the old model but allows for more compact folding. This facilitates for the 6.3-metre working width to be folded to just 2.5 metres for transport, allowing contractors to forget the hazard panels, overwidth signs and having the rule book thrown at them by the highway patrol.

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Ground pressure

Quite possibly the best feature about the maxiroller, however, is the unique weight transfer system that it employs. Dalbo calls this the Duoflex System. It gives the operator a clear view from the cab of the large pressure dial and allows the desired pressure to be distributed to the wings.

Exactly one third (33.3%) of the hydraulic pressure is dispersed over each of the three sections. What about contour following I hear you ask? This is covered by gas accumulators, which allow oil to flow in and out of each ram depending on where the hump or hollow is, and once back on flat ground, it evens itself back out. The other way the roller achieves its contour following characteristics is that the snowflake rings are tight on the shaft, but the waved breaker rings have a much larger centre hole allowing them to move with the ground much easier than a rigid design.

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Seed box cover protects against the elements for outside storage

Hydraulic folding

The roller is mounted in three sections: one mid-section mounted to the transport wheels and two wings. The wings are first lifted out of the transport locks before large down pressure rams unfold them. The transport wheels are then folded back, allowing the rollers and cracker boards to be lent forward and into working position. Larger 400/60×15.3 transport tyres are fitted standard on all machines implemented into New Zealand for deceased soil compaction and safer road transport.

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Levelling paddles work in a parallelogram design

Cracker levelling boards

I have seen these work exceptionally well straight into the ploughed ground. Looking at it, you would never guess the paddock has not been power harrowed, as you get the same finish as a packer roller but without the soil structure damage of the tynes.

The Crackerboard is made up of 12 heavy-duty spring tynes on the wings and 10 in the middle section. As these move through the ground, they create a shaking motion as well as a grading effect to help break up clumps and create a nice fluffy seedbed for the seed to be applied before the roller. The board works on a parallelogram type system, where instead of lifting straight up and down it creates more of a gliding motion by leaning forward. This allows for a smoother finish without creating waves across the paddock.

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The snowflake rings are a new innovation

Rings

The test machine (as is the vast majority imported to New Zealand) features the Snowflake rings, a new design in the spokes in the ring. The design gives a greater number of spokes, which, in turn, gives far greater strength, as each point on the outside of the ring has a spoke on the inside to support it. 

Dalbo claims the Snowflake ring is six times stronger than conventional Cambridge rings. To be fair, they are putting their money where their mouth is, by offering a six-year warranty on the Snowflake rings, which in itself is impressive.

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Central bearing adds strength to the roller shaft

Intermediate floating (sloppy on the shaft) breaker rings are in between each Snowflake ring to minimise the risk of roller blocking in wet soil conditions.

As the new ring design is heavier, the rings are mounted on larger 60mm steel shafts and equipped with rubber suspended bearings on the outside and a central hanger bearing in the middle to give added strength.

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Einböck 500L air seeder

Einböck air seeder

The P-BOX-STI sitting on the back isn’t some variation of the Colin McRae world rally Subaru WRX STI; instead, it’s a Dalbo branded Einböck air seeder with electric drive; not quite as nimble on the gravel but unreal straight into ploughed or ex-crop ground. The electric unit is specifically called the ‘Speed-tronic’ and essentially uses either the GPS, seven pin tractor plug, or a radar to seed dose based on forward speed. 

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Calibration in progress

Features

• 500-litre steel hopper, rubber seal for sealing the pressurised tank, and a sturdy platform for loading and carrying extra seed
• Hectare and operating hours counter on an easy-to-use in-cab monitor
• Hydraulic fan located at the front of the machine in more ‘clean’ air
• Automatic calibration – calibration button (start/stop) is attached to rear of the machine to purge seed, which then sends the time back to the monitor. Just punch in the weight and the monitor does the algebra to get the correct seeding rate.
• Automatic switching on/off of the seeding roller on the headland with a sensor on the paddles at the front of the machine (or you can hit start/stop on the monitor)
• Pre-dose-function – you can set the monitor to have the tubes pre-charged for when you turn at the headland
• Hopper level sensor (also has a window in the side of the tank)
• Fan speed sensor
• Seed tube blockage sensor
• Depending on the seeding rate and working speed, it can be set to anywhere from one to 300kg per hectare. Grass seed, for example, can be sown up to 40kg/ha at a speed of 10km/h.
• Eight sections on the seed rollers translate to eight outlets, which run down behind the paddles but in front of the roller. The eight hoses have a Y on them which turn it into a 16-outlet machine with a seeding ‘splash plate’ fanning the seed for even coverage.
• Comes standard with two seed rollers: one for grass, oats, etc. and the other a small seed for brassicas. A total of nine different rollers are available and can be changed without any tools. Once the roller is changed the adjustable scraper keeps the seed from coming back over the seed roller and ruining the seeding accuracy.
• Stirring shaft prevents the seed mix from separating and bridging in the tank.

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Duoflex system in action showing how it works on varying contour

Summary

The Dalbo Maxiroller is a sleek looking machine with rolled steel for extra strength and a slim design. These rollers with levelling paddles are extremely effective in a variety of ground conditions, and the design of the rings and cracker boards can make the need for a power harrow obsolete. The high-spec air seeder is packed with features to make any type of seeding job a walk in the park. The combination is a formidable duo, making a roller/seeder combo a must-have in the fleet.

Dalbo 6.3m Maxiroll specifications

Working width

6.3m

Transport width

2.5m

Number of rings

129

Number of levelling paddles

34

Weight

5835kg + air seeder

Min HP requirement

100hp (will need more if using levelling boards)

Transport wheels

400/60×15.5

Pros

  • Soil doesn’t stick to the rings with sloppy on shaft breaker ring
  • Six-year warranty on Snowflake rings
  • Large 60mm shaft, central hanger bearing, and end-mounted rubber suspended bearings
  • Front cracker boards help leave a smooth yet fluffy seedbed for the crop
  • Duoflex system distributes constant weight over all parts of the roller
  • Narrow 2.5m transport width
  • Low power requirements comparative to the working width
  • Simple and easy-to-use 16 outlet air seeder
  • Auto calibration
  • Decent platform for loading seed and carrying extra bags to the paddock

Cons

  • Narrow lid for filling with seed
  • Small hopper capacity particularly for large seed crops such as oats


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Photography: Justin Bennett

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