Believed to be the first 12-row folding planter made by a dedicated North American based manufacturer, the initial concept plan of the 8312 (83 folding planter Series, 12 rows) was drawn up late 2017. Just five months later the 16t prototype. which with a full hopper weighs around 32t, was ready for action.
Planting trends in North America are to 81cm (32”) rows and 45cm (18”) beds, but the most common row spacings are still 86cm (34”) and 91cm (36”). The 8312, which is on the wider width, has a working width of 10.9m.
The 8312 comprises two three-row hydraulically-folding sections each side of the central six-row units. These outer planting units are supplied with seed along a transport belt from the 16t-capacity hopper.
Spudnik already offers an eight-row non-folding planter (8080), which is transported lengthways on most North American roads. While wider in operation, the two outer wings on the 8312 fold to the sides in under a minute to reduce the transport width to a ‘compact’ 6.7m, which is the same width as the company’s six-row planters.
With a power requirement of at least 300hp, homes have already been found for half of the 10-12 pre-production 8312s planned for the 2019 planting season, with full commercial availability from 2020.
Prices have not yet been released but the consolidation of the North American potato sector during the last 10 years has seen the average area per grower rise to an estimated 610 to 810ha (1,500 to 2,000 acres). Spudnik believes that the majority of these will be able to justify the cost of a 12-row planter.