Perfect placement reaps results

by Andy Bryenton

As data and information about the most minute details of soil hydration and nutrient loading becomes a standard tool in the farmer’s arsenal, precision placement has become a key factor for fertiliser applicators. From a ‘shotgun’ approach in the distant past, the science of sowing crops has also come a long way, adopting a modern version of an ancient bright idea.

The ancient Chinese invented the seed drill, thanks in part to the availability of hollow, strong bamboo tubes. Pushing the seed to the right depth in the soil, they found, made all the difference.  

Modern seed drills are a far cry from these early origins, boasting precision computer-guided control, massive capacity, and the means to open a furrow, pneumatically apply seed to the right depth at the right spacing, and then close the furrow, sometimes even applying a small dose of nutrients as well. 
It’s a great all-round system for seeding success, and a top example in the current market is the Gigante, produced by Maschio Gaspardo.

This Italian company operate factories not just in their home country — where they were established back in the early 1960s — but also in the vast emerging markets of India and China. 

Making seed drills to feed the literal millions of these burgeoning economies, means they know how to make them big and make them reliable. 

The Gigante lives up to its name, but is able to fold up for highway transit. Where it makes its mark is in precision seed depth in adverse conditions, using a cast steel guide wheel and its own impressive weight along with tungsten carbide scrapers to conquer rocky or wet fields.

Combine this with the ability to change seeding depth easily, a massive capacity, and pneumatic power to literally ‘fire’ each seed right on target, and the whole Gigante system improves the chances of strong and healthy crops by a vast factor over broadcasting methods. 

As bigger tractors roll out with the capacity to bring bigger implements to the field, machines like Maschio Gaspardo’s Gigante are an example of economies of scale built in solid steel. 

It’s a long way from a hollow tube of bamboo, but the concept is the same — a clever idea, well executed, to get more value from each square inch of soil.