Duncan DD30 Revolutionises NSW Dairy Farm
Posted by Dianne Bisdee on 16 June 2020
ONE PASS IS BETTER THAN THREE, AND ONE MACHINE IS BETTER THAN TWO. THAT’S WHY DAIRY FARMERS DANIEL AND REBECCA COCHRANE CHOSE A DUNCAN ENVIRO DD30 WHEN THEY UPGRADED THEIR SEED DRILL.
Getting a crop into the ground with one pass saves time and money and, most importantly, it is better for the environment. It means burning less fossil fuel and less compaction.
Daniel and Rebecca milk 550 cows on a total of 380 ha, including run-off blocks, in Longreach, which is in the curve of the Shoalhaven River in NSW.
Back in 2017, their issue was how to get a summer crop into a pasture that included kikuyu grass. Kikuyu stays green when most other grasses have given up in the heat or dry conditions. The downside is that it creates a thick thatch with lots of runners.
“It is a massive problem to get crops into kikuyu. We also wanted a machine that would both direct drill and drill into prepared seedbeds,” Daniel says.
Along came contractor John Henry with a Duncan drill.
“We could see what he could do, and it inspired us to spend money and get one.”
The Duncan Enviro DD30 is a direct drill with double discs. The front scalloped disc is offset with a following plain disc. The seed and fertiliser is dropped in the slot and Daniel opted for following press wheels.
Their drill is 3.5m wide and it is on 6-inch spacings. Daniel would have liked to go wider, but for anything wider than 3.6m, he would have needed a pilot vehicle, so that was the limiting factor. He also opted for a road kit.
He tips a tonne of DAP in the fertiliser box and 350 kg of seed in the seed box.
“The bigger boxes allow us less downtime, and we can do 70 acres in a day. If we have a spare tractor on the site then we can fill it with bulk bags, and it takes all of 10 minutes to load and go.”
He says the Enviro DD30 will sow anything – grass, legumes, forage rape, sorghum and cereals.
Calibration takes just three minutes using seed charts, and Daniel doubts it is even 10 minutes to clean out one type of seed and prepare it for the next type.
The seed dispenser is ground-driven using a jockey wheel, and Daniel says it is very simple to use.
Depth control is equally simple, using shims on a hydraulic ram to set depth. Daniel plants sorghum at 50 mm and smaller seeds at about 10 mm.
He says the joy of the Duncan Enviro DD30 is it will do many jobs. It drills into anything – sprayed out pasture, crop residue, or a preformed seedbed.
“One of the beauties is it can go through corn trash, or after sorghum. It chops up and massacres any residues.”
Soils on the Cochranes’ farms are mostly sandy loams, but there is the occasional granite rock. The drill’s spring-loaded discs just ride over them.
Another useful feature for Daniel is its stability. “It is excellent. We have worked on 45 degree hills with no problems.”
He pulls it with either 140 hp or 170 hp depending on which farm tractor is available. The monitor is easy to swap from one tractor to another.
He also has auto-steer, which he says is necessary when practising minimal soil disturbance. “If you go into a paddock straight after cows, you are doing well to see where you have been. You may as well spend the money and at least put in a light bar to follow.”
Daniel and Rebecca bought the Duncan Enviro from Nowra Truck and Tractor Repairs Pty Ltd.
“They give us excellent dealer support, and parts are no issue. There is a growing trend with more farmers seeing the benefits of Duncan drills. They have sold another three in the district since ours.”
Daniel and Rebecca are happy with the outcome. “It has revolutionised what we can do. We can put a summer crop into a winter pasture, and we direct drill sorghum without prepared beds into pasture.
“We follow the cows with direct drilling, starting early March until late April. We save money with one pass rather than three. It has made life a lot easier.”
Article courtesy of May-June Australian ACLSF