Practical test: Becker Aeromat Profi-Line 8 DTE precision drill Since our last look at Becker’s Aeromat maize drill (profi 8/2006), the maker has changed the seed metering system. That’s reason enough to take a closer look at the current version of the Profi-Line contractor’s machine, handled by Norfolk-based company Kongskilde UK

German-manufactured Becker maize drills come under the Danish Kongskilde umbrella, along with other long-serving brand names Howard, Juko, Nordsten and Overum. The four-strong Aeromat range forms the core of Becker’s drill line, and these machines are a little different from most: while other brands tend to rely on vacuum to separate and distribute seed, Becker’s Aeromat models do the job with pressurised air.

The idea is simple enough and works on a principle that’s been around since 1972. Each of the Aeromat’s M20 metering units is based on a cell wheel, which has coneshaped cups machined in its outer circumference. The cell wheel spins inside a housing, which in turn sits under a seed hopper. As the wheel rotates it picks up several seeds in each cone, which are then singled down to one by a directed blast of air.

This single seed is retained by air pressure until the cone compartment reaches ground level, at which point the seed is ejected into the soil beneath. Depending on model, up to 12 metering units can be combined on various toolbar styles to produce a drill with a 9m maximum working width. The row spacing is variable, with 750mm standard. Aeromats come in three sorts.

At entry level are the Eco-Line models, aimed at small to medium-sized farms. These units feature a mechanical fan, 30-litre seed capacity and optional fertiliser distribution hopper. Next up is Becker’s Farm-Line series, all of which come with up to 55-litre seed capacity, wider working widths, a standard fertiliser hopper and different folding options. Which leaves just the top ProfiLine family, whose hydraulic fan, larger fertiliser capacity option and electronic control are intended to appeal to users looking for high outputs.

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