DLG e.V. - Test: Trailed universal seed drill Kuhn ESPRO 6000 R

Trailed universal seed drill Kuhn ESPRO 6000 R Work quality

Assessment – Brief Summary

The Kuhn ESPRO 6000 R universal seed drill was able to convince during the tests conducted with the test criteria specified in the DLG test framework. Based on the results obtained, the Kuhn ESPRO 6000 R seed drill was awarded the test mark “DLG APPROVED” for the criterion “work quality” in 2016.

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Table 1: Results of the laboratory tests (metering accuracy and lateral distribution)

Test criterion Test result
Metering accuracy for wheat Deviation from target and actual amount: very low
Metering accuracy for barley Deviation from target and actual amount: very low
Metering accuracy for rape Deviation from target and actual amount: very low
Lateral distribution for wheat good on level ground/good to satisfactory on the slope
Lateral distribution for barley satisfactory on level ground
Lateral distribution for rape very good on level ground

Table 2: Results of the field tests with rape and wheat (Metering accuracy, field emergence, longitudinal plant distribution, depth placement for wheat)

Test criterion Test result
Metering accuracy for rape sowing Deviation from target and actual amount: very low (1.1 %)
Field emergence – rape good (87 %) *
Longitudinal plant distribution – rape very good (variation factor: 0.7)
Metering accuracy for wheat sowing Deviation from target and actual amount: very low (2.2 %)
Field emergence – wheat very good (92 %)
Longitudinal plant distribution – wheat good (variation factor: 1.0)
Depth placement of wheat grains Target depth: 3-4 cm
Actually measured depth (using hypocotyl length): 1.8-4.1 cm
Average: 3.1 cm
Standard deviation: 0.5 cm **

*    under rather dry sowing conditions (details see pages 8 and 9)
**    the smaller the standard deviation, the more even the depth placement of the seeds

The Product

Trailed universal seed drill Kuhn ESPRO 6000 R (working width: 6 metres)

Description and technical data

The tested KUHN ESPRO 6000 R universal seed drill has 40 rows and a working width of six metres. The seed hopper has a capacity of 3500 litres. With the standard equipment, the seed drill consists of a compact disc harrow, an offset tire packer, as well as a pneumatic unit for seed distribution. The seed is placed into the ground with disc coulters. The test machine was additionally equipped with a tire packer positioned in front of the compact disc harrow.

The seed drill is coupled to the tractor via the lower links (cat. III). The hydraulic requirements are supplied through the load-sensing system of the tractor. There is an extra oil pipe for the hydraulic air turbine for seed distribution. The seed drill tested by the DLG was operated using an ISOBUS terminal (CCI 200). This drill was equipped with a pneumatic brake system and approved for road travel up to 40 km/h, even with a full hopper.

For tillage, the KUHN ESPRO 6000 R is equipped with a compact disc harrow. The 48 discs are arranged in two rows. Each disc has a diameter of 460 mm. Each concave disc is mounted on a maintenance-free 2-row angular ball bearing. The distance from the first to the second row of discs is 680 mm. The disc spacing is 250 mm. Two discs are mounted on the frame through one support arm. Each arm features four polyurethane blocks which are fitted on a specially profiled tube for overload protection.

The operator is able to adjust the working depth of the compact disc harrow by inserting or removing so-called spacer clips on the two hydraulic cylinders. With side markers unfolded, both hydraulic cylinders are located 510 mm from the outer limits of the machine. The adjustment points are thereby reachable from the outside. The operator doesn‘t need to climb into the frame of the compact disc harrow to adjust the working depth. Figure 2 shows the compact disc harrow. In the middle of the image the yellow spacer clips are visible (white arrow). A tyre packer is located between the compact disc harrow and the coulter bar. It can also be seen in figure 2 on the right side.

Figure 2: Compact disc harrow of the trailed universal seed drill Kuhn ESPRO 6000 R

Each of its 20 wheels has a diameter of 900 mm and a width of 215 mm. They are positioned offset front to rear.

Each wheel runs on it’s own bearing, this way it can adapt its speed to the curved radius when turning and thus prevents soil compaction and prevents tyre wear.

Concerning the seed placement, the seed drill is equipped with 40 double disc coulters arranged on two coulter bars. The coulter bar offset as well as the row spacing are both at 15 cm. A rubber press wheel is mounted behind each coulter. The adjustment points for seeding depth and coulter pressure are centrally arranged, and can be accessed from the outside without having to climb into the machine.

A covering harrow is mounted behind the coulter bar. Its work intensity can be adjusted behind each coulter by the means of a cam adjuster (Fig. 3).

Figure 3: Coulter bar with 40 double disc coulters, press wheels, and covering harrow

The seeds are metered at the hopper basis via a fluted metering unit. This unit disposes of small flutes for fine seeds and large flutes for normal seeds. The opening width and rotation speed of the fluted metering unit can be adjusted according to the required application rate. The driving speed to meter the correct application rate is determined by a radar sensor, which is mounted on the rear part of the drawbar.

At the beginning of the calibration process, the operator selects the seed variety and application rate on the terminal. The latter recommends an opening width of the metering units to be set manually. In the next step, the metering unit is activated briefly by pressing a button located next to it. All flutes are then filled with seeds and the calibration is started. A spring scale and bag are supplied by Kuhn to carry out the calibration. The collected seed is weighed and the amount entered into the terminal, which uses this information to calculate the correct rotating speed of the metering unit. This concludes the calibration test.

The Kuhn ESPRO 6000 R seed drill is fitted as standard with a lighting kit including three LED work lights on the distribution head, which illuminate the rear work area. Further LED lights are installed inside the seed hopper as well as close to the metering unit, making adjustments possible also at night. The seed hopper is equipped with a flexible cover. For opening, it is easily rolled up with the spring-assisted crank system.

There is a stable grid integrated in the seed hopper. It can be walked on and is equipped with an extendable handrail (Fig. 4). Grid and handrail provide solid footing, for example, if bigbags must be emptied in the rear part of the hopper.

Figure 4: Seed hopper with extended handrail

The Method

During the DLG “work quality” test, universal seed drills are tested on the test bench (laboratory test) as well as in the field (field test).

Laboratory test

During the laboratory test, the metering accuracy and the seed distribution crosswise to the direction of travel (the so-called lateral distribution) are determined with a stationary machine with rape, barley and wheat for two different working speeds. Both test parameters are determined for rape and barley with a horizontally levelled machine. For wheat, work on slopes is simulated additionally.

Laboratory test – metering accuracy

The “metering accuracy” test parameter determines whether the quantity metered by the seed drill (actual quantity) is equal to the calibrated (target) quantity. Percentage differences (between actual and target quantity) are evaluated subsequently according to the DLG test framework (table 3). The term “metering accuracy” corresponds to the term “seed rate reliability”, used in the older DLG test reports.

According to the DLG test framework rape seeding is simulated for one hectare, whereas the simulation area is reduced to 1/10 hectare for barley and wheat. A lower and a higher working speed is defined. Speeds are selected according to manufacturer’s recommendations. For wheat, the seed hopper is filled at two different levels (high and low level). For barley and rape, all tests are performed with a low fill level. Throughout the entire laboratory testing the seed drill settings were documented (e.g. blower speed, rotating speed and opening width of the metering unit).

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Table 3: Evaluation of the metering accuracy (percentage differences between the actual quantity and target quantity)

Deviation from the target quantity [%] DLG evaluation
up to 2.5 very low
up to 5 low
> 5 to 10 acceptable
> 10 to 15 high
above 15 very high

Laboratory test – distribution of seeds transverse to the direction of travel

The lateral seed distribution is determined for rape, barley and wheat, and is conducted with the machine in horizontally levelled as well as raised position. For rape and barley the parameter is only tested on level ground, while for wheat slope driving is simulated additionally. The seeds placed by each coulter are collected with a container and weighed. The coefficient of variation (CV) is calculated from the different quantities of collected seeds. The smaller the coefficient, the more uniform is the amount distributed by each coulter across the working width. The calculated coefficient of variation is evaluated according to the DLG test framework (table 4).

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Table 4: Evaluation of the lateral seed distribution based on the coefficient of variation

Coefficient of variation for cereals, peas
and grass
Coefficient of variation for rape DLG evaluation
< 2,0 < 2,9 very good
2,0 bis 3,2 2,9 bis 4,7 good
3,3 bis 4,5 4,8 bis 6,6 satisfactory
4,6 bis 6,3 6,7 bis 9,4 sufficient
> 6,3 > 9,4 not sufficient

Field test

For a DLG test, it is necessary to at least sow rape and wheat. During the test, the history of the field (crop rotation, soil cultivation), the sowing conditions and the driving speeds are documented. The sown varieties are characterized by variety, breeder and thousand-seed weight. The germination capability of the seed is determined in the laboratory. For the description of the test conditions, soil samples are taken on the day of the sowing to determine the soil moisture in the seed bed. The soil moisture is determined according to DIN 18121. During sowing, the metering accuracy is checked on each field. Moreover the seed depth placement is randomly checked (incl. cover with soil material).

Field test – field emergence

Three to five weeks after sowing, the field emergence is determined. Therefore, the plants are counted at several representative spots in the field (on one square metre each). Afterwards, the field emergence is evaluated according to the DLG test framework (table 5). The germination capability determined in the laboratory is taken into account.

Field test – distribution of the plants in the travel direction (longitudinal plant distribution)

Three to five weeks after sowing, the plant distribution in the direction of travel (longitudinal distribution) is determined. To do this, a measuring tape is positioned along a seed row, which is representative for the machine. Afterwards all wheat plants, which are emerged in sections of 5 cm each of the measuring tape (0-5 cm, 5-10 cm, 10-15 cm, etc.) are counted over a length of 15 metres. For rape, the the longitudinal distribution is evaluated over a length of 30 metres. All plants located within 15 cm long sections (0-15 cm, 15-30 cm, 30-45 cm, etc.) are counted. The variation factor (dispersion index) is calculated from the plant counts per section. It gives a clear indication on how uniformly the plants are distributed in the row. Then, this factor is evaluated (table 6).

Field test – depth placement of seeds

For wheat, the depth placement is determined through random sampling. Three to five weeks after sowing, 50 consecutive plants are uncovered in order to measure their hypocotyl section, which is located below the soil surface (shoot section between roots and soil surface). The standard deviation is calculated from the 50 values, and noted in the test report.

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Table 5: Evaluation of the field emergence

Field emergence [%] DLG evaluation
> 90 very good
> 80 to 90 good
> 70 to 80 satisfactory
> 60 to 70 sufficient
< 60 not sufficient

Table 6: Evaluation of the longitudinal plant distribution

Variation factor of cereals and rape DLG evaluation
< 0.9 very good
≥ 0.9 to 1.1 good
≥ 1.1 to 1.3 satisfactory
≥ 1.3 to 1.5 sufficient
> 1.5 not sufficient

The Test Results in Detail

Hereafter, the test results of the lab tests and field tests incl. their assessment are presented and explained:

Laboratory test – metering accuracy and lateral distribution for rape, wheat and barley
The lab experiments (determination of the metering accuracy and lateral distribution), were conducted at driving speeds of 10 km/h and 14 km/h. The seed drill was coupled to a Massey Ferguson tractor (Xtra 3650). The following three seeds were used:

  • Rape: variety Prestige from Saatenunion (TSW: 5.3 g)
  • Barley: variety Lomerit from KWS (TSW: 53.2 g)
  • Wheat: variety Ferrum from KWS (TSW: 46.0 g)

During all wheat seed tests, the deviation between actual quantity applied and the calibrated target
quantity never exceeded 0.9 %. This result is evaluated according to the DLG assessment grid as “very low” (table 7) – regardless of the filling level of the seed hopper, the working speed and the machine inclination.

During both tests conducted with barley, the deviation between actually applied quantity and the calibrated target quantity was between 0.5 % and 1.1 %. For rape, deviation was found to be 0 %. The tests with barley and rape, all conducted with a horizontally levelled machine, were evaluated with “very low” according to the DLG assessment grid (table 7).

Good results were achieved during the lateral distribution tests with wheat on level ground. Good or satis­factory results were achieved when a slope was simulated (table 8). The results of the lateral distribution tests with barley on level ground were rated as “satisfactory”. The lateral distribution of rape in the same position was found “very good” according to the DLG assessment grid (table 8).

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Table 7: Metering accuracy of the test machine on the test bench (dependent on the driving speed, hopper filling and machine inclination)

Table 8: Distribution accuracy of the seeds crosswise to the direction of travel (lateral distribution)

Field test with winter rape

The soil of the test field is characterized as “loamy sand” and “sandy loam” (with 40 soil quality points on average) and is slightly inclined.

After barley harvest in early July 2016 (straw was removed) the field was cultivated with a rotary tiller to a depth of approx. five centimetres on July 18, 2016. On July 27, 2016, a pass with the compact disc harrow followed (working depth approx. seven centimetres). Seven days later, on August 3, 2016, the field was tilled with a cultivator down to a depth of approx. 15 cm. On August 24, 2016, the seed bed was prepared with a rotary tiller (working depth approx. three to four centimetres). This passage was used to incorporate calcium cyanimide applied earlier. The prepared seedbed for sowing was classified as fine crumbly.

The Kuhn ESPRO 6000 R seed drill was coupled to a Fendt 828 (S4) during sowing on August 25, 2016. The sowing was carried out at a driving speed of 13 km/h. The winter rape variety Bender from DSV was sown (thousand-seed weight: 5.8 g, germination capability acc. to LUFA laboratory analysis: 89 %).

The extracted mixed samples for the determination of the soil moisture varied between 17 % and 20 % across the entire plot. The soil samples were collected from the seed furrow basis immediately after the pass with the seed drill.

During sowing, some deposited rape seeds were exposed randomly in order to measure the seed depth placement. All distributed rape seeds were sufficiently covered with soil. Figure 5 shows the sown surface immediately after the passage with the seed drill. The following rainfall occurred between sowing on August 25, 2016 and the evaluation on September 28, 2016 (determination of field emergence and longitudinal plant distribution):

  • September 4, 2016: 8 mm
  • September 17, 2016: 10 mm
  • September 18, 2016: 16 mm

Figure 6 shows the development state of rape plants on the evaluation date September 28, 2016.

Table 9 shows the results of the field tests with winter rape.

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Table 9: Results of the field tests with winter rape

Test parameters Result
Metering accuracy for sowing Deviation of the calibrated quantity versus the actually applied quantity:
very low (1.1 %)
Field emergence good (87 %)*
Longitudinal plant distribution very good (variation factor: 0.7)

*    under the described dry sowing conditions

Field test with winter wheat

The soil of the test field is characterized as “loamy sand” and “sandy loam” (with 35 to 50 soil quality points on average) and is slightly inclined. After rape harvest at the end of July 2016, the field was cultivated about three to four centimetres deep with a compact disc harrow in mid August 2016. At the beginning of September 2016 a shallow cultivation was performed with the cultivator with wing shares (approx. 8 to 10 cm deep). Five days before the wheat seeding, a chisel cultivator with double-heart points was used (approx. 15 to 18 cm deep). The prepared seedbed was classified as fine crumbly.

The Kuhn ESPRO 6000 R was coupled to a Fendt 828 (S4) during the sowing on October 10, 2016.  Driving speeds between 9 and 12 km/h were achieved.

The winter wheat variety Ambello from Hauptsaaten was sown (thousand-seed weight: 51 g, germination capability acc. to LUFA laboratory analysis: 95 %). The extracted mixed samples for the determination of the soil moisture varied between 21 % and 23 % across the entire plot. The soil samples were collected from the seed furrow basis.

During sowing, some deposited wheat seeds were exposed randomly in order to measure the seed depth placement. All seeds were placed between three and four centimetres deep. This was between three and four centimetres. All distributed wheat seeds were sufficiently covered with soil.
Figure 7 shows the sown surface immediately after the passage with the seed drill.

The following rainfall occurred between the sowing on October 10, 2016 and the evaluation on November 09, 2016 (determination of field emergence, longitudinal plant distribution and depth placement):

  • October 17 to 25, 2016: 66 mm
  • November 2, 2016: 1 mm
  • November 7 to 9, 2016: 18 mm

Figure 8 shows the development state of wheat plants on the evaluation date, November 9, 2016.

Table 10 shows the results of the field tests with winter wheat.

During the wheat sowing, a target placement depth for wheat seeds of 3-4 cm was set on the seed drill. During the evaluations on November 9, 2016 the depth placement was determined through a random sampling of 50 consecutive plants. For this purpose, the length of the hypocotyl section which is located below the soil surface was measured at each plant. Table 11 shows the measurement values. They vary between 1.8 and 4.1 cm. The standard deviation is 0.5 cm. The smaller the standard deviation, the more even the depth placement of the seeds.

During the DLG test, the test machine was measured. The measured values are included in table 12

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Table 10: Results of the field tests with winter wheat

Test parameters Result
Metering accuracy for sowing Deviation of the calibrated quantity versus the actual applied quantity:
very low (2.2 %)
Field emergence very good (92 %)
Longitudinal plant distribution good (variation factor 1.0)
Depth placement of the seeds Target depth: 3-4 cm
Actually measured depth (using hypocotyl length): 1.8-4.1 cm
Average: 3.1 cm
Standard deviation: 0.5 cm**

**    the smaller the standard deviation, the more even the depth placement of the seeds
    

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Table 11: Length of the below ground hypocotyl section (shoot section between root and soil surface)

Plant no. Length share [cm] Plant no. Length share [cm] Plant no. Length share [cm] Plant no. Length share [cm]
1 2,9 14 3,7 27 3,6 40 2,4
2 3,4 15 3,7 28 3,2 41 2,9
3 3,5 16 3,7 29 3,1 42 3
4 3,5 17 3,4 30 3 43 3,3
5 3,5 18 3,7 31 3 44 3,3
6 1,8 19 3,4 32 2,9 45 3,5
7 3,5 20 3 33 2,5 46 3,1
8 4,1 21 3,2 34 2,5 47 2,8
9 2,9 22 3,2 35 2,5 48 2,5
10 4 23 2,5 36 2,5 49 3,3
11 3,6 24 2,8 37 2,9 50 2,2
12 3,9 25 2,2 38 3,5
13 3,9 26 2,4 39 2,4

Average: 3.1 cm, Standard deviation: 0.5 cm
  

Table 12: Dimensions of the test machine

Dimension Measured value [m]
Seed drill length 8.90
Seed drill height 3.09
Seed drill width in transport position 2.98

Conclusion

The Kuhn ESPRO 6000 R universal seed drill achieved satisfactory to very good results in the laboratory test (evaluation of the metering accuracy and lateral seed distribution).

During the field tests very good and good results were achieved with winter rape and winter wheat. Based on the results obtained, the Kuhn ESPRO 6000 R universal seed drill was awarded the test mark “DLG APPROVED” for the test criterion “work quality” in 2016.

DLG Test Center Technology and Farm Inputs

DLG e.V.
Max-Eyth-Weg 1
64823 Groß-Umstadt
Germany
Tel.: +49(0)69 24 788-611
tech(at)DLG.org

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A “DLG APPROVED test for individual criteria” quality mark is awarded to farm machinery that has passed a limited test programme within a DLG usability test which is conducted in accordance to independent and approved assessment criteria. The purpose of the test is to highlight a product’s specific innovations and key features. The test may be carried out either to criteria laid down in the “DLG Full Test” framework for technical products or may include further features and properties that confirm a specific value to the product. The minimum standards to be applied to the product, the test conditions and procedures as well as the criteria by which the test results are to be evaluated are defined in cooperation with a DLG group of experts. These parameters reflect the acknowledged state of the art as well as scientific findings and agricultural insights and requirements. After a product has passed the test, a test report is published and the quality mark is awarded and will remain valid for five years from the date of award.

The machine that was submitted to the “Work Quality Test” is the KUHN ESPRO 6000 R universal seed drill. The machine was tested on the test bench (laboratory test) where two parameters – metering accuracy* and lateral distribution – were determined with rape, barley and wheat using a stationary positioned seed drill. Field tests began with rape sowing on August 25, 2016. Different work quality parameters were evaluated on September 28, 2106. Wheat sowing took place on October 10, 2016. Work quality data were collected and evaluated four weeks later. The seedbed on both fields was considered as fine-crumbly. No other criteria were tested.

* The term “Metering accuracy” corresponds to the term “Seed rate reliability”, which was used in the older DLG test reports.

Applicant and manufacturer

Kuhn S.A.,
BP 50060,
F-67706 Saverne CEDEX, Frankreich

Test performed by

DLG e.V.,
Test Center Technology and Farm Inputs,
Max-Eyth-Weg 1,
64823 Groß-Umstadt

DLG test scope
Seed drill technology (as at 05/2016)

Department
Technology for outdoor operations

Head of Department
Dr. Ulrich Rubenschuh

Test engineer(s)
Dipl.-Ing agr.
Georg Horst Schuchmann*

* Author