Duncan AG AS3500 seed drill review

By: Jaiden Drought, Photography by: Jaiden Drought

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Duncan Ag AS3500 air seeder Duncan Ag AS3500 air seeder
Duncan Ag AS3500 seed drill Duncan Ag AS3500 seed drill
Duncan Ag AS3500 Duncan Ag AS3500
Duncan Ag AS3500 Eco Seeder ideal for farmers Duncan Ag AS3500 Eco Seeder ideal for farmers
Duncan Ag AS3500 with 3.5m sowing width Duncan Ag AS3500 with 3.5m sowing width
Duncan Ag air seeders Duncan Ag air seeders
Duncan Ag Duncan Ag

What makes a good seed drill like the Duncan AG AS3500? Although there are differing opinions around the ideal rate for sowing grass, we discovered an increasing amount of farmers and contractors in agreement around what separates a good seed drill from a bad one. On this occasion we review a very good one.

Duncan AG AS3500 seed drill review
Duncan AG AS3500 seed drill

The Duncan AS3000

If it's results you're after when considering a new seed drill, then look no further than the Duncan Ag range of seed drills. It can just about nail down your every desire in one of its current models, including the Eco Seeder ideal for farmers, the Renovator Classic six-inch spacing (experiencing huge sales success), the Renovator Mk 4 offering five or six-inch spacing, as well as the Enviro 740 (triple disc) and Enviro 3000E (triple disc) both with standard boxes. Then onto the Duncan Ag air seeders — you have a choice between the DD30 with its double-disc air bin, or the AS3000 or 3500, and in the folding models the 4000, 4800 and 6000, which are tine drills but with air bins.

The test

So we headed inland to test the AS3500, an air seeder with a 3.5m sowing width (essentially the MK4 with air) available in either 20, 24 or 28 run with five, six or seven-inch spacing available.

Local contractors, P&H Agri Ltd kindly loaned us its Duncan AS3500 drill to test. P&H Agri is run by Hayden Parke and his business partner, servicing customers within a 50km radius of their base. Cultivation and drilling is the bread and butter of their business, which is why they need a good quality drill. As well as the Duncan AS3500 drill, P&H Agri are currently looking to buy a Duncan DD30 in order to have the local tine and disc customers sown up (excuse the pun).

Loading seed on the Duncan is pretty good compared with other drills that try and cut down on space by making you walk the plank with seed bags, testing your ability to come out with all limbs attached. Not the Duncan, though. With non-slip grating that can be attached to whichever side of the machine and offering plenty of space, you can chuck all the bags required from the ground onto the grating, then from the grating into the hopper. For both seed and fertiliser, additional grating inside the bin takes care of any lumps to stop blocking the hoses. The bins themselves have a 700L capacity each, roughly equating to 550-600kg (depending on what it is) but the bins look deceivingly bigger than this because they also house the seed towers and dropper hoses.

Calibration

My only gripe with Duncan drills is the degree of difficulty around the calibration — it seems like you need to face Mecca, balance on one leg, and then turn the handle 36.75 times. OK, I'm obviously exaggerating, but I do struggle with it a bit, as do most when learning the procedure.

This issue was highlighted for the guys at P&H, as the DD30 is a three-metre drill and the AS3500 is a 3.5m drill, each with different gear ratios because of their widths. So not only do different seed varieties require different settings, the drills need a different number of turns to get a weigh sample for calibration. To make things a little more complicated you have fine seed and normal seed settings and high and low gears, all tricks for young players when drilling lots of seed varieties in one day.

Results

Having tested this drill in the height of the drought, the 25mm coil tine and Duncan 'T' boot with tungsten tip ensured we could drill in these conditions. The DD wouldn't get in the ground (much heavier disc drills would have), but that's the rationale behind P&H Agri looking to have both the DD30 and the AS3500 on its fleet so both bases are covered, dry and wet, tine and disc — all this practicality for less than the outlay of a much heavier disc drill.

Verdict

Many people reading this would have at some stage used a Duncan or know of somebody with one. Nothing much has changed in terms of the fundamental drill design, but it's now offering more options on more drills. Whether you want a disc or tyne, air or standard seed box, single, double or triple discs, odds are it will have one to suit your needs and, as it turns out, it doesn't matter where you are in the world! No matter which Duncan drill you choose, you can be assured of its strength and reliability.

Duncan AG AS3500 Specs

 

AS3500

AS3500

AS3500

 

20 Run

24 Run

28 Run

Width - over wheels (mm)

3570

3570

3570

Height - (ground wheels up) (mm)

2300

2300

2300

Length - overall (mm)

4200

4200

4200

Weight - incl disc openers - unladen (kg)

2250

2390

2520

Row spacing (mm)

178

147.5

125

Sowing width - effective (mm)

3560

3540

3500

Box capacity - per bin (L)

700

700

700

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