Test: Enviro DD30

By: Jaiden Drought, Photography by: Jaiden Drought


enviro dd30 Side view shows the neat, compact design of the DD30 enviro dd30
enviro dd30 Leading scalloped disc with the trailing plan disc design with optional press wheels enviro dd30
Enviro DD30 Enviro DD30
enviro dd30 Ground drive is a well-proven design commonly found on the Renovator range enviro dd30
enviro dd30 Hydraulically-operated fan enviro dd30

On a whirlwind trip to Timaru, Jaiden Drought tested Duncan Ag’s Enviro DD30, a simplistic seed drill with a double disc design that will impress any farmer or contractor.

Test: Enviro DD30
Side view shows the neat, compact design of the DD30

The test

The day I arrived in Timaru for the test, it was snowing all around us. The air temperature was a balmy 10 degrees C, with a wind chill factor of 12 degrees in the paddock. Needless to say there was no mucking around.

The Enviro DD30's name comes from its big brother, the Enviro 3000e. In this case, the DD stands for 'double disc' and the 30 is 3m, although it will also be made in
slightly wider customised configurations.

Standard features

The concept of a leading scalloped disc followed by a plain disc has been extensively trialled by Duncan in Australia, with promising results. It has also performed well in feild testing here in stoney New Zealand conditions.

Essentially, instead of having a straight disc cutting the turf and then two angled discs creating a slot for the seed to fall into, this two-disc design creates the same result by the slightly leading scalloped disc cutting the slot. Because of the angle and the closely following plain disc, the V is made for the seed. Each of the discs also comes with triple-sealed bearings, which means low running and maintenance costs for the operator, even in
the harshest working environments.

Each machine comes with its own set of scales and container to empty the calibration tray into. Unlike some earlier models, the calibration tray on the DD30 is compact, which makes it much easier to get the contents into the weigh container. Calibration is done in the usual Duncan Ag way: using the small handle on the drive wheel. Although, instead of the seeding rate being on the side of the drill, it is underneath the hopper. This design makes it easier to fine-tune the seeding rate, although the numbering is small and quite hard to see.

All machines are fitted with high and low range drives on both hoppers. This great feature enables the option of sowing high or low rates from either hopper simultaneously.

At the extreme of sowing rates, you can sow a very low rate of brassica from one hopper and a very high rate of fertiliser from the other. If you are just sowing one product you can halve the sowing rates and use both big 700-litre hoppers - this can be a real advantage.

Tests have shown that drilling at a constant speed of between 9 and 14kph gives the most consistent results. This constant speed and the high or low-range settings allow seed to tick over nicely and travel down the shoot evenly, avoiding any dripping when going too slow or bouncing around when going too fast. It makes sense if you think of it like driving on the open road: whereas 80kph is a recipe for road rage, anything over 120kph is reckless.

The Farmscan electronic hectare metre is standard on all models: it gives a job total, a cumulative total and the ability to store multiple jobs during the day. This also gives a digital readout of the fan speed to ensure an even seeding pattern.

Speaking of the fan, this is run through one remote with a dump return and only requires 40 litres per minute of oil flow to work effectively. Along with the low pulling requirements of the drill, this means it suits your everyday cockies' tractor.

A heat exchanger/drier is available. It uses the heat from the hydraulic oil to warm the air into the hopper, reducing the risk of condensation and helping cool the returning oil, keeping the arse end of the tractor cooler.

Two 700-litre hoppers, which hold roughly a tonne between them, allow for fewer seed stops, especially if sowing just grass as both hoppers can be set at half rates and do more area before refills. The seeding towers are also set inside the hoppers, which take up some room but make the machine much more compact and tidy.

Because the fall is straight out either side of the bin to the coulters, there is no risk of shelving in the lines with air, even on steep hills.

Duncan Ag has stuck with the ground-wheel and jockey-wheel drive system, which has worked effectively in the Renovator series. The only potential issue on the DD30 is that it's more top-heavy on steep hills, which may cause the two wheels to separate and create uneven seeding. However, in these conditions the optional 400kg weight kit would sort out any potential issues.

An air vane is fitted in the line between the fan and the hoppers, which allows the operator to have different airflows between the two hoppers. This is an advantage when sowing a light, fluffy or small seed in one hopper and fertiliser in the other. If too much air is going in with the seed, it can bounce out of the seeding slot, so in this instance where the fertiliser is a heavier material, you would set the vane so just enough is going to the seed and the majority to the fertiliser - simple but very effective.

Optional features

Press wheels were fitted to the test machine, in conjunction with the ability to screw the spring pressure on the coulters up or down, creating a very tidy job without the need to pull an additional roller. These are fitted to each of the coulters, apart from the two in front of the transport wheels.

If you don't want to opt for the press wheels, rear spring tyne harrows are available or the rear drawbar kit for pulling a rear roller, if you already have one.

Duncan Ag can specify the machine so it is completely road legal, with hazard panels and lights, allowing it to look professionally incorporated into the machine so once you hook it on you are good to go.

A third hopper is being added to the option list, which can be used as either an insecticide box for products such as slug bait, or for small seeds such as clover.

The Duncan Ag philosophy

During my hasty trip to Timaru to visit the boys at Duncan Ag, not only did I get to test the Enviro DD30 seed drill, I was also treated to a tour around the workshop and assembly plant, to see where it all began and where it's heading.

It's apparent that the company has come a long way since its humble beginnings in 1937, when Bill Clough began designing, developing and building swamp ploughs. The team at Duncan are clearly proud of the quality of the machines and the attention to detail that goes into every unit produced.

The majority of Duncan Ag's customers are scattered throughout New Zealand and Australia. Because of these various locations, it's important that the company tests its gear in a variety of soil types, to iron out any issues in the prototype phases.

During testing, Duncan takes on board as many ideas as it can, in keeping with its original philosophy of specialising in seed drills that are easy to set-up and operate, yet accurate in seed and fertiliser placement and distribution.

If you visited Duncan Ag's stand at this year's National Fieldays, you would have noticed that there were drills galore - proof that for this company, it's all about having options and finding the perfect drill to suit your needs.

A further bonus it that all the Duncan drill components can fit on its other drills, so the parts shop doesn't have to stock thousands of different items.

Luckily, for owners of early 1940s Clough equipment, the company stocks parts for all that original gear too.

Having a wide variety of drills also means Duncan Ag can cater for clients in other parts of the world. Just prior to my visit, a container had been packed and was being shipped to the UK. The team also exports heavily to Australia and is making headway into American markets, too.

Verdict

This is a simple machine with very little in the way of frilly bits. The monitor is simple, the design is simple and the operation is simple. Simplicity is something a lot of machines are moving away from these days. In many cases you need a degree just to get the thing moving. But not in the case of the DD30 - this machine is right in line with the Duncan Ag philosophy of producing machines that are easy to set up and operate. The DD30 is a well designed and engineered drill, which will cater to the needs of both the farmer and contractor market.

The precision of discs, with the accuracy of air - the perfect combination.

Highs

  • Simple design.
  • Well-constructed using proven components.
  • Distributor towers inside hopper: clean, compact look.
  • Two-disc design in conjunction with triple-seal disc bearings reduce ongoing maintenance costs.
  • Air vane allows different air rates for each hopper.
  • Manual calibration with easy-to-handle seed tray.
  • High and low seeding ratios.
  • Up to 400kg of ballast helps drill bite in tough conditions.
  • Optional press wheels reduce the need to pull an additional roller.

Lows

  • Seeding measurements are hard to see, as they are directly under the hopper.

Specifications

Enviro DD30 seed drill, 3m 23 rows

Width over wheels 

3070mm

Height (ground wheels up, over hand rails)

2300mm

Length (overall, press wheels fitted)

4100mm

Weight (with
press wheels fitted

2700kg

Row spacing

125mm

Sowing width (effective)

2875mm

Hopper capacity (per box)

700L

For the latest reviews, subscribe to our Farm Trader magazine here.

Keep up to date in the industry by signing up to Farm Trader's free newsletter or liking us on Facebook