Review: Bednar Omega 00 6000FL Drill

By: Mark Fouhy, Photography by: Mark Fouhy

The Bednar Omega seed drill performs a wide variety of drilling jobs and has more than proven itself as a consistent performer around NZ

One drill to rule them all

Farmers and contractors are constantly striving for efficiencies in their operations, and with the increase in price of equipment, versatility and the ability to use a machine for many different tasks is important. The Bednar Omega seed drill, is a machine that performs a wide variety of drilling jobs.

Having caught up with the 4AG team at a demo day, we chatted with Trent Nicholson, who has worked for Waikato contractor, John Austin. As part of his role within the Austin team, he pilots the six-metre Bednar Omega 6000FL drill.

A key focus for the Austin Bednar drill is resowing maize ground after harvesting, to get it established before the worst of winter kicks in. The beauty of this drill is its ability to handle planting from direct drilling jobs through to full cultivation, making it a truly multipurpose machine.

The main job for the Austin drill is resowing around 1400 hectares of ex-maize ground, so the size and performance of the drill when it comes to efficiency, accuracy, and reliability are key in allowing the team to get through the workload in a timely manner.

Easy calibration/bin emptying at rear of the drill

I will admit to being surprised at the tractor on the front: a John Deere 6215R. At not even 250hp, I thought a 300+hp machine may be required.  However, fitted up with equal size duals front and rear, the 6215R proved to be more than for the job, getting the power to the ground with ease. The only thing Trent said he would possibly change was perhaps a little more weight on the front, and this is easily sorted with a bigger weight block on the front linkage.

Test time

The ground we worked with had previously been in maize grain. Obviously, with this, there’s a lot of leftover plant material, as only the grains are kept, unlike maize silage. To ensure a good strike, and to set the paddock up for its next job (silage in the spring), we set out with the Bednar Swifterdisc. At six metres, this is designed to cover the ground quickly, incorporating the top layer of soil with the leftover plant material, giving a firm seedbed ready for the planter to follow.

Resowing annual into worked-up maize stubble presents no problems

Farmers and contractors are always looking for efficient and time- and cost-saving ways to get through the workload. Having a drill like the Bednar Omega on hand means there’s just the cost of owning one drill that can handle planting different crops in different conditions and at the cost of a drill only capable of direct drilling or planting in cultivated ground. 


Bednar has done a good job of keeping the operation of the Omega drills straightforward. One of the key features here being the calibration point being at the rear of the machine, behind the coulters. Most drills have the calibration located beneath the hopper at the lowest point, which makes sense, but doesn’t make the job easier. Emptying the hopper is the same deal; the Omega wins here again with the ability to dump/fill large bags of product (seed/fert) with ease should you need to – a process that can be a bit of a headache with some other machines.

Back to calibration: a quality stainless steel metering mechanism is used, so this is built to last, not wear out and break like some plastic versions. A variety of seed rollers are available. Two different seed metering rollers are used for small seeds and larger cereal/grasses to give precise planting from 0.6 to 350kg per hectare. The large 5000-litre poly hoppers are split 40:60 so you can use either for seed/fert.

Hopper capacity is 5000L

The pressurised hoppers further increase the accuracy of seed and fert over a standard air seeder where airflow can affect the flow on the light seed. Using either radar or ISOBUS signal direct from the tractor helps achieve accurate distribution from the electro-drive motor.

In the cab, Bednar gives the choice of three monitors from basic functionality through to a large 12.1-inch touchscreen. The option to run through the tractor ISOBUS is also an option, which was the way the machine we tested was set up. Trent says this setup works well, with the advantage of saving on buying another monitor and avoiding extra cab clutter.

The ISOBUS connection works through compatible tractor monitor

Display of the drill function is pretty straightforward, showing fan speed, tractor speed, rates (kg/ha) for each bin and seed blockage sensors – an option ticked on this machine. More often than not, you don’t need sensors, but they are handy to have when you do have issues. The blockage sensors on the Omega drill are toolless so you can quickly check where the issue is – distributor or seeding boot – and get going again with minimal downtime. Being mounted on the linkage arms allows for optimal manoeuvrability, even for a large six-metre machine.

Packer wheels in the centre double as transport wheels

The row of packer tyres, 900mm diameter and 425mm wide, double as transport wheels, hydraulically raising the drill out of work. While out of work, you still have all the packer wheels on the ground to give even compaction at the headlands. With each wheel being mounted separately, this simplifies the process of changing if required. A simple bubble float on the side tells you the drill is level when in work, ensuring the drill coulters are putting the seed where you want it. Fert can be distributed with the seed through each coulter, at the 125mm row spacing, or you have the option of speeding between rows and also different application depths of seed and fert to give optimal conditions.

Available options

To get the best out of the Omega drill for your specific requirement, there are a range of options available. Austin’s have hydraulically adjustable front levelling paddles. You can also opt for a front tyre packer roller to offer the optimum in-depth control in conjunction with the large flat profile rear packer tyres.

Double discs and press wheels on parallelogram, with covering tines

The hydraulically adjustable two rows of discs can be followed by turbo opening discs, in line with each coulter. Trent thought these may not be important, however, has found them to be very useful, opting to run them over the mixing discs in different conditions.

A key feature of the machine is being able to change how you set it up to handle different jobs. To complete the versatility of the Bednar, a 400L Alfa box at the rear allows spreading of either slug bait, or small seeds like clover with spreader plates on every second coulter. Particularly for small seeds such as clover, the press wheels followed by covering tynes ensures good seed/soil contact. Cameras on seed drills sure make life easier while planting. An aftermarket camera kit has been fitted to the test machine with three wireless cameras: one each for the seed and fert bins and one to the rear to give a clear view.

Aftermarket wireless rear and bin cameras are fitted to this machine

Hydraulic ram adjustment on the drawbar adds comfort when lifting at headlands, giving the option of linkage or drawbar mounting. Another option Cameron from 4Ag was sorting for the Austin (test machine) was to allow interrow seeding, using stoppers to shut off a number of rows to allow adding a new species to an existing crop. For example, adding plantain to pasture or other seeds to give a more regenerative sward mix, which has been gaining some favour in farming providing a mixed sward for increased livestock performance, and resilience to handle the challenging climatic conditions we face season to season.


In terms of planting equipment, the Bednar Omega series of drills are among the best available in the New Zealand market, offering great seed placement for optimal germination, different sowing options through the two to three boxes, and a narrow row spacing. Topped off with its ability to be used as direct drill, or the final pass and sowing of a full cultivation job, it’s a truly worthwhile investment.

Simple float bubble indicates levels for front/back of the drill

Standout Features

  • Calibration at the rear of the drill makes life easy and is also helpful when emptying the hoppers.
  • Pressurised hopper for accurate seed drop into the airflow.
  • 125mm row spacing, good plant population, and less chance of weed establishment
  • Options from 3–9m, with 1–3 bins.
  • Parallelogram seeding unit for accurate planting in undulating terrain.
  • Blockage sensors.
  • Simple float bubble tells you if the drill is level, front to back.

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