With refinements that can include single-row drive, the linkage-mounted AVR Ceres 440 potato planter has a long list of advanced features. So, does this technically advanced model deliver in the field?

C ompact, manoeuvrable and bang up to date. Not a bad summary of the AVR Ceres 440. By combining proven planting elements with hydraulically driven metering, the 440 can deliver infinitely variable spacing and be set up to either work with soil maps to match in-field variations or be controlled manually on the move via ISObus.

Exclusive level of specification Our test AVG machine had a couple of nonstandard Ceres features including a prototype dressing unit (see ‘Prototype Dressing’). and a subsoiler fitted ahead of the planting unit (see LSM Subsolier). Fitted to eradicate the test tractor’s wide tyre wheelings, the LSM unit added 330mm to the planter’s overall length, and its extra 480kg upped the unit’s empty total weight to a whopping 11,420kg on the tractor’s back axle. That is pretty near the max permitted rear axle load for the test John Deere 6250R planter tractor.

With a full seed hopper, the all-up mass was evident in the field, the front end feeling light even when the front-mounted dressing tank was filled right up.

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