Pneumatic maize drills certainly don’t rank as most farmers’ first choice when it comes to planting pelleted beet seed. This didn’t put Amazone’s designers off, though. The result: The Amazone ED 601-K tronic Contour drill, which is said to be capable of planting both maize and beet. We tested a prototype, and were surprised by the result…

Specialist sugar beet growers tend to fall into the mechanical precision drill camp. And with good reason. The mechanical system gives the ultimate in seed placement accuracy. But what about larger farms and contractors that are planting both sugar beet and maize? For these businesses, ownership of two specialist drills may seem extravagant, and much better would be access to a drill capable of planting both crop types, maize and beet. It is this market that Amazone is targeting with its ‘combination drill’, the ED 601-K tronic Contour planter.

First, a brief look at the 6m wide KIK foldable frame – brief, because we have already profiled this outfit in an earlier practical test (profi international 12/98). Mounted on 31×15.50/15 front wheels, the frame carries up to 12 seeder units for sugar beet drilling, providing 45cm or 50cm row spacing; we operated the unit at 45cm spacing.

As for maize, spacing can be stretched to 75cm, but this brings the downside of the frame protruding by about 30cm – only really a problem when drilling the first time around the headland. In sugar beet spec, the Contour uses a front rubber wheel, which runs next to the inclined clear-out/cutting discs.

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