Air seeder hasn't missed a beat in 20 years

Air seeder hasn't missed a beat in 20 years


Cropping
Peter Knowles with his home-made air seeder which has done 20 crop planting seasons since built in 2000. It works behind at Daybreak disc seeder of 8m width.

Peter Knowles with his home-made air seeder which has done 20 crop planting seasons since built in 2000. It works behind at Daybreak disc seeder of 8m width.

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A homemade air seeder has sown thousands of hectares of crop during the past 20 winter cropping seasons for Peter Knowles, Wellington.

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INNOVATION born through necessity by conservation farmers along the Eastern seaboard following no-till practices of Western Australian croppers from the early 1980s had many building their own machinery implements on-farm and sometimes ahead of manufacturers.

Farmers within the Wellington region were among them including Peter Knowles, Argyle Park, who had attended conservation farming field days in WA in 1982 and in Parkes during the 1990s and then Wellington in early 2000s.

He said after investigating conservation farming and no-till cropping he believed it was worth a look and gave himself five years.

"After three years we decided to stick with it," he said.

In 2000 when at Carlile, Wellington, he built his own air seeder with parts picked up from various places.

"It's done 20 crop seasons since built and hasn't missed a beat," Mr Knowles said. "It's never let me down."

At the time he didn't have the capital to buy a new unit, so "did it on the cheap".

The three bins of from 1.5 tonnes to 2t depending on product were manufactured by Bob Parkes and his team at Twin Rivers Engineering in Wellington while steel in second grade lengths came from Agmurph.

An hydraulic motor drives a harvest air fan bought from Neil's Spares, Dubbo, which pushes air through 10 centimetre tubing to allow sowing rates of between 1.5kg/ha canola up to 130kg/ha of faba beans.

These days the air seeder, mounted on two solid-based wheels, is towed behind a Daybreak air seeder with two arms spanning eight metres width carrying 19 discs units with 66cm diameter discs set at 38cm spacings purchased in 2004.

Mr Knowles said the seeder was built at aq time when a lot of modification was happening and many farmers' ideas were being shared and copied.

"Looking back, it was an innovative and interesting time to be in farming - and still is," he said.

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