Hawkes Bay sheep and beef farmer Hugh McDonald has a Duncan TFD drill, and he says it delivers what farmers need above everything else – performance and reliability.
"I use the TFD drill in spring and autumn. When it goes, it doesn’t stop. I need the reliability, and it is reliable. All Duncan stuff is reliable, which is why I bought another one."
Hugh farms 500ha near Waipawa. About 80 percent of his property is rolling country. In spring, he sows summer crops such as forage brassicas, and in the autumn, he sows grass and oats. All up, he drills about 100ha per year.
TFD stands for The Farmer’s Drill, and before he bought his, Hugh ran a Renovator Mk3 for a decade.
"Duncan are so well made that they last forever. They have a simple build and are very strong."
The Renovator MK3 version was at six-inch spacings and Hugh wanted five-inch (125mm) to get more coverage, which is why he bought his new Duncan Renovator TFD in November.It has a three-metre working width with 24 rows. One big box can be used solely for seed or divided into two with one section for fertiliser. Hugh uses the fert and carries 500kg in total.
The TFD features 24 heavy-duty S-tines and three delivery shoots for seed, fertiliser, and material from an optional third box. It has electric-driven distributors activated by ground-following radar.
"Calibration is very simple, as it’s all electronically driven. It takes five minutes to check," Hugh says.
"It is also easy to change rates of seed or fert as you’re driving, and the monitor stores all information for future reference. It warns if levels are getting low in either box."Hugh has tine harrows mounted on the back of his TFD drill."It’s a good thing to have something to cover the slots created by the coulters. Because the tine unit is mounted on the drill, it doesn’t drag on a hillside."
Hugh uses the TFD both as a direct drill in sprayed out pasture or after oats and to drill into cultivated ground.
"It gives good results. The strike rate is 90 percent as a direct drill, so long as the weather plays its part, but it is closer to 99 percent when it’s working in cultivated paddocks," he says.
The TFD does a splendid job on rolling country and copes well with rocks. "Each coulter is individually sprung, and if they are lots of rocks, you can adjust the penetration of the coulters."
Hugh works at 8–9kph using an 115hp tractor. That works out about 1.5ha per hour including loading time. He loads it manually carrying bags up to the platform on the back.
Hugh got his Duncan Renovator TFD from Power Farming in Hastings. He had a minor sensor problem when it first arrived.
"Power Farming and Duncan worked together to get it solved as fast as possible.
It was just a wiring problem. Power Farming referred back to Duncan, and they know their gear."
So far, Hugh hasn’t needed parts for his new drill, although at times he did for the previous 10-year-old model. "When I needed parts for the old Renovator, they were always in stock, and it will be the same for this one."
The TFD is a drill living up to its name. "It does a good job, and it’s a good simple drill to operate."