Review: Moore Unidrill

By: Jaiden Drought, Photography by: Jaiden Drought


The Moore Unidrill is ideal for farmers and contractors who don’t need the elaborate triple disc design and associated running costs but still want the accuracy and finish of a disc drill

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The Moore Unidrill is ideal for undersowing

I recently caught up with Lynskey Agriculture, and their newly purchased Moore Unidrill, imported by Agrilife Hamilton and supplied by Power Farming Taranaki. The team opted for the Moore Unidrill, as most of their work is a combination of direct drilling into existing pasture or re-drilling crop ground with a variety of seeds (from oats to grass, and small seeds like plantain and clover).

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The rear guttler roller creates great seed to soil contact without making a mess in existing pasture

The beauty of this bit of kit and the main reason it was purchased is because of the 90mm row spacing. This not only eliminates the need to cross drill in crop paddocks but also allows for fast establishment into existing pasture, competing with the existing sward and fighting off weed competition.

Under carriage

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The rubber mounted single trailing arm. Disc is mounted on a five-degree angle 

The Unidrill get its name from its single disc design, which has two major benefits.
Firstly, it makes it ridiculously cheap to own and run, with little to go wrong, thanks to few moving parts, which mean cheap motoring.

Secondly, the disc design: a straight disc mounted at a five-degree angle, coupled with a soil engaging seed tube coulter hugging the disc, works as a scraper to keep the disc clean for quick and accurate seed placement. The slot is opened, seeds drop in, the rear guttler roller compacts for even seed to soil contact.

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After three days, it’s hard to see the paddock has even been drilled

The guttler is a great feature of this machine, as it has a smoothing effect, perfect for crop paddocks but gentle on existing pasture when oversowing so it doesn’t look like you’ve been in there with the rotary hoe. Three days later, you wouldn’t suggest the paddock has even been drilled.

Seeding and metering

The Accord hopper and seed metering system is three-point mounted and could be run separately, for example on a front linkage or mounted on a power harrow or roller if you wanted to have one seeder to mount onto other implements you already own.

The Accord metering hopper and system has been around for many years, building a reputation based on ease of use and accurate seed placement. Integral to this simplicity is the ground-driven metering system via an extendable shaft, which allows for contour following. This does have a downside.

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Metering wheel with drive shaft to the accord metering system

Overrunning while lifting at the headlands, the metering wheel keeps spinning, distributing seed while the drill’s not actually in the ground. A little rubber-mounted flicker has been added to try and slow this, but a more permanent solution is probably needed here.

Back to the positives: the distribution tower and venturi are all located inside the hopper itself. While this does impact on hopper space, you can still comfortably get 10 bags of grass seed in, which is more than enough to keep going.

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The guttler roller uses a combination of large and small rings, one fixed and the other sloppy on the shaft

The metering system itself is mechanical. It doesn’t have a monitor apart from a little digital display, which shows your fan speed; the rest is all mechanically driven off the ground. It does have a hectare counter, working via the revolutions on the metering wheel.

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The metering wheel sits close to the machine, ideal for getting through gateways

This counter is also used to calibrate the machine by doing 85 revolutions with a handle that gives you 1/10th of a hectare; then you just simply go drilling. A sight glass into the hopper or upgrading to the low seed sensor would be a welcome addition here, as it’s hard to know how much seed is left.

This machine is available in both trailed and linkage mounted options. This particular machine had a linkage mounted set-up with an engineer mounting the rear transport wheels later.

Linkage mounted

There are a couple of key benefits for the linkage mounted system and for many farmers would probably be more than adequate while allowing for a considerable cost saving.
You can pretty much drill every square inch of the paddock, backing into corners perfectly around water troughs, etc.

Turning, however, is a lot harder with a linkage mounted drill (particularly a disc drill). This simply means you drill more like ploughing, doing straight lands first, tidy up, and then headland – no dramas.

The only downside to the linkage-mounted set-up is that the drill is two-and-a-half-tonne with most of that weight right out the back in the roller, so you need a decent-sized tractor not just to pull the drill but to make sure that you don’t end up pointing towards the sky every time you try to lift a drill up.

Trailing

The trailing mounted set-up is a good option, as this allows for easy transport not only between paddocks and lifting at the headland but it also makes it much safer and easier on the tractor for road transport.

Importantly, the trial kit also adds roughly another tonne of weight. Now, weight is an interesting thing on drills. In this case, the narrow row spacing is both the Unidrill’s biggest advantage and disadvantage.

Because of the narrow row spacing, getting it in the ground in very hard conditions like we’ve experienced this summer can be a challenge due to lots of discs per square metre. You could have the roller off the ground with the transport wheels up in the air and still only just be penetrating. Additional suitcase weights can be added if this is a real issue.

Rear roller and depth control

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The hydraulic rear roller makes seed depth adjustment quick and easy

Depth is controlled by the hydraulic rams on the rear roller along with either the top link (if it’s linkage mounted) or an adjustable top link on the drawbar of the trailing machine. The hydraulic roller allows for easy adjustment of the seed depth.

Pushing the roller right down will lift the seeding coulters off the ground with all the weight on the packer roller, or all weight can be put on the discs to give up to 94kg/coulter by lifting the roller right off the ground.

In crop paddocks, the guttler does a beautiful job and is equally as impressive in oversowing. A simple depth control chart gauge is on the side as well as a gravity activated arrow to ensure the drill is sitting level. The only downside I can see is the pins, which hold the roller pivot; it’s carrying a lot of weight and could be beefed up.

Verdict

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The Moore Unidrill is ideal for farmers and contractors who don’t need the elaborate triple disc design and associated running costs but still want the accuracy and finish of a disc drill. Many farmers have a tractor big enough to handle the linkage mounted machine and the trailing option would be fine behind a 100hp.

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Perfect undersowing result: good seed to soil contact, no mess

The 90mm row spacing makes it perfect for oversowing without the need for diamond drilling in crop paddock. Direct drilling allows the grass to establish faster than competing weeds, making for an excellent strike.

The rear guttler roller has a perfect smoothing effect in cultivated ground and does a nice padding effect without chopping the existing grass for over sowing, making the unit the perfect all-rounder.

Moore Unidrill specifications

Working width

2.9m

Total width 3.1m
No of discs 32
Hopper capacity 700L
Seeding Hydraulic fan, Accord metering 
Disc diameter 410mm dia, 5mm thick 
Disc mounting Rubber mounted trailing arm, sealed hub
Roller Rear guttler roller
Roller rings Twin prisma rings: one fixed, one sloppy on the shaft 
Roller shaft diameter 50mm

Pros

  • 90mm spacing, 32 discs total of 2.9m sowing width
  • Fewer moving parts; low ongoing repair and maintenance
  • Narrow row spacing but staggered design allows good trash clearance
  • Mechanical seed metering and calibration on test machine although monitor, sensors are available
  • 30+ years of experience in the accord metering, exactly accurate
  • Can add suitcase weights if additional weight is needed

Cons

  • Ground metering wheel overruns at the headland; needs some sort of brake
  • Simple perspex site glass into the hopper would be a welcome addition if a low seed sensor is not fitted

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