Test: Taege 3M air seeder

Farm Trader checks out the newly released three-metre air seeder from Taege works well in hard, rough terrain

There’s always an element of adventure when it comes to testing a Taege machine, as you never quite know where in the country you are going to end up.

The team at Taege like to test their prototypes thoroughly. This means any new release hasn’t just had a gentle run on the Canterbury plains or volcanic flats but has been put through its paces on the steepest, roughest conditions the Taege team could find. And it has been accompanied by instructions to ‘go hard’ just to see where any potential weak points are.

The first time I tested a Taege machine (many years ago), the first thing I was asked was whether the machine needed a ‘This Way Up’ sticker. I don’t think I have tested a Taege drill since in a tractor without duals, which is a great indicator of the terrain these things are being used in.

A perk for me is that generally, this tough country is off the beaten track, so I get to have a gander at some outstanding countryside. This time, we travelled to Waiouru where contractor Ross Collier, who already owns a Taege six-metre air seeder, recently bought the newly released three-metre air seeder.

There has been discussion for some time surrounding the need for a three-metre air seeder, as the six-metre version is highly effective on larger flat areas where it covers the ground efficiently. However, steep country, where individual farmers do their own seeding, often means they don’t have the appropriately sized tractor needed to lug a six-metre machine around the hills.

This is where the three-metre version slots in beautifully. Being small in size makes it easy to pull, without the need to upgrade the tractor, allowing versatility and accuracy, particularly on the hills. It also means you won’t have seed shelving issues, which is important with low seeding rates of winter and summer brassica crops.

The reason Ross opted for the three-metre was exactly this. He has only ever owned Taege drills so knows what sort of punishment they can withstand, and with the success of his six-metre air drill, he traded his existing three-metre box drill with the new three-metre air seeder. This season has been a challenge for contractors around the country with bizarre weather patterns (as I write this there is a second huge storm pummelling us in the space of three days. It’s meant to be summer!).

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Ross mentions the 30-tonne bungy strop has been his most important asset this season. When you get the 8000 series John Deere’s stuck three times a day, you know it’s wet. The need to cover ground quickly has been important and that’s where the six-metre comes into its own for Ross, but the three-metre eases the workload of the six-metre. With everyone requiring higher rates of fert, it became too time-consuming with just one drill.

The Taege three-metre air seeder has proved itself invaluable on rough, steep, stony surfaces, some of which have never been drilled before or even had a tractor over it. Another strength of the machine is the fact it is built to handle challenging hill contour with the accuracy of air seeding.

The machine      

Those who are familiar with the product or who own existing Taege machines can take confidence that this is not a reinvention of the wheel. It features the same under-body (with some small strengthening) and two hoppers (the front is stainless for fert). The three-metre air seeder uses the same metreing system as the six-metre. The only difference between

the two is the distribution look at the top where the three-metre has a domed appearance while the six-metre has the red flat distribution style.

The three-metre air seeder is definitely aimed at farmers working on uneven and hilly ground. The tall seed and fert towers and distributor heads enable the hill to be drilled on the top side, as there is plenty of fall still in the hoses. This combined with the action of the tyne shaking the hoses also promotes the seed to run.

S-tyne’s: Tilted tyne mounting is the biggest seller here allowing a large 200mm of travel. As they travel along, they create a shacking effect, which gives excellent trash clearing and bite into hard ground, which would only be possible with heavy disc drills and hydraulic down pressure. These are fitted with hard-wearing tungsten tips, which boast minimal running cost per hectare when compared to disc drills.

Tyne spacing: There are 23 tynes on the three-metre air seeder, with 121mm spacing, which give a total drilling width of 2.904m with a total width of three metres.

Ram spacing: A number of differently sized clip-ons go on the ram, with various combinations on the rams giving drilling depth control to within 3mm between clip combinations.

Metreing system: A combination of stainless steel, foam, and plastic components in the metreing system means corrosive and abrasive fertiliser will not cause any damage.

Hydraulic fan: The fan has a soft start valve, which will not let any more oil than 47 litres/min through to protect it from being stationary one second and the next having 150 litres/min at 200 bar from the tractors hydraulics.

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Hoppers: Twin 650 litres hoppers are spec’d on this machine. The front is stainless for the fert and the rear is powder-coated for the seed. Ross found the need for a larger fert bin, as this one has to be nearly dead empty to get another 500kg bag of fert in, so another 100kg capacity would be ideal. Seed capacity, however, is ample. As a majority of the work is brassica with crops such as swedes at 0.8–1kg/ha, a 20kg bag will last most of the day.

Simple calibration is as follows:

  1. Open the stainless steel grate on the venturi, place the small metal bagging shoot in the open slot, and place the seed tray underneath.
  2. Select the sowing rate (kg/ha on the monitor) and hit the prime button on the monitor (which plugs in by the hopper so you don’t have to run in and out of the cab). All the prime button does is ensure the metreing system is primed with product.
  3. Empty the priming discharge into the hopper so the seed tray is empty.
  4. Hit the calibrate button on the monitor. This will automatically discharge material for 20 seconds (although this can be altered). Small seeds should be discharged for 40 (ish) seconds to have a more accurate weigh sample.
  5. Weigh the contents and punch this number into the monitor. You are ready to drill.
  6. For 100 percent accuracy, simply hit run on the drill and manually turn the ground wheel to replicate 100th of a hectare on the monitor and weigh the contents. If you wanted 25kg/ha and you have 250g, you are bang on.


At the risk of sounding like a broken record, for operators such as Ross Collier in hard central North Island, the Taege becomes a no-brainer for the calibre of drill you get for the overall cost of ownership. You get the angle-mounted S-tyne with penetration, trash clearance, and contour following to create a generous amount of tilth. You then have a durable hopper with a robust yet compact metreing system reliably dropping seed and fert into the tilth, and finally, neatly covering with the tyne harrows and compacting with the double tyre roller. I’ve said it before and I will say it again people – it’s not rocket science, and investing in a machine built to do its job effectively and efficiently makes sound economic sense.

Photography: Jaiden Drought

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