Reviews

Horsch Pronto DC 4m precision drill

The Horsch Pronto DC 4m precision drill is an example of world-class machinery that would benefit those with large-scale set-ups

  • Ability to drill at high speed
  • Narrow hoppers allow excellent visibility of the drill
  • Rear seed discs enable drilling right in to corners
  • Excellent seed to soil contact
  • Consistent seed depth thanks to rear position of seeder

The twin hopper Horsch drill, the first in the southern hemisphere, was coupled to a New Holland T6090 for our test. Walking around the machine, I have to say the build quality and finish is one of the most impressive I have come across.

The twin hopper Pronto version allows customers the option of placing fertiliser down the spout with the seed, which can dramatically boost yields.

Three drills in one

The Horsch can be used to replace two different drills. The Pronto can seed after ploughing, where it will level, consolidate, seed and press – all without having to power harrow. This saves two or three passes, and then also makes the need for a roller drill void.

It also negates a direct drill, as the Horsch will drill into minimum-tilled ground or directly into the stubble. With the Pronto the trash can be buried and pasture seeded all in one pass at working speeds of up to 20km/h.

Front disc system

Two rows of scalloped discs bury and level anything in their path, however, there are a few features that ensure this is done in a controlled manner.

The first is that the discs are mounted in pairs for better clearance and easy maintenance. An asterix-shaped outside disc stops soil flying into the next paddock when operating between 12-20km/h, which, Horsch advises, gives the best result.

Other features includes the side deflector boards (similar to those found on the side of power harrows) that contain the soil and keep those little waves across the paddock to a minimum.

The depth adjustment is done with hydraulic rams. The small adjustment blocks clip onto both the front disc rams and the rear seeding depth rams to ensure concise seed depth and can be altered within seconds.

Another feature is that the discs are mounted on box tubing with maintenance-free rubber suspensions, which give the discs slight movement. This allows them to turn corners or track around rocks.

Seed and fertiliser hopper

The twin hopper that the machine was spec’d with had a capacity of 3800L; 40:60, which equates to 1520L of seed and a 2280L fertiliser capacity. The amount of litres roughly equates 1:1 so this is an approximate kg capacity also.

The beauty of the twin hopper is it has two steel lids with locking mechanisms and rubber seals that allow for the fan to run the hoppers at positive air pressure. This keeps the seed semi-suspended so it doesn’t bridge or pack as easily, and allows precise seeding until the tank is empty.

The only issue with the drill is the access up the stairs to the hopper. These hoppers are designed to be filled from large 500kg or 1000kg bags on telehandlers or loaders. Doing 4ha and having to lug a couple of 25kg bags up the sharp narrow steps is not ideal.

Fertiliser system

The key feature about the fertiliser system, or PPF (precise placement of fertiliser), is that the disc opens and shoots are placed behind the more aggressive front discs, but before the tyre rolls the seedbed for the seeder (which is behind the roller). This makes the sequence very smooth; the fertiliser is placed close enough to the seed but not down the same shoot or close enough to burn the seed.

If the fert system is not required, it can be lifted. Turn a tap to stop oil flow to the cylinders completely and you can lower oil flow on the tractor spool so the seed is far easier for the fan to cope with, which also reduces fuel consumption and power requirements.

TurboDisc

This feature precisely places seed at high speed and is maintenance-free.

A double disc coulter with small disc angle reduces power requirements as you are not moving a large amount of soil. Instead you are placing a small slit in the ground for the seed. A small metal scraper between the two coulter discs ensures even seed placement in heavy and sticky soils.

A plastic “Uniformer” then presses the soil, which helps trap moisture directly around the seed for excellent seed to soil contact. The press wheel follows, trapping more moisture and ensuring the seed is completely covered, then two tines scatter the soil to give an even finish.

The coulters are evenly spaced 15cm apart and mounted in combination with the press wheels. The set up is all in one piece and connected to rubber mountings, which work as shock absorbers and can “walk” around stones and other obstacles.

The other key feature about the TurboDisc is the high coulter pressure. Up to 150kg of pressure can be placed per coulter, which in conjunction with the press wheel guarantees precise seed placement at high speeds even if soil conditions change.

DrillManager

DrillManager is the in-cab controller for the Pronto drill. The monitor is pretty much idiot-proof, with large, clearly identifiable buttons for carrying out the various features: folding the wings, marker arms in and out, lowering front discs, etc. All settings such as seed rate, fertiliser rate (liquid, granular), speed, revolutions and tram line rhythms are individually programmed and checked.

Other features include a telescopic draw bar and a transport width of 3m (for all models right up to the 9m working width model). A good sized water and dust-proof toolbox is mounted in the front hopper.

Another good design feature is the marker arms, which fold backwards and forward rather than up and down, allowing them to fold up neatly for transport. All of these features are controlled via the DrillManager.

See a range of used drills for sale.

 

Photography: Jaiden Drought

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