Amazone Cirrus 6003-2C seeder review

By: Tom Dickson, Photography by: Andrew Britten

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Technical editor Tom Dickson tests the Amazone Cirrus 6003-2C, a trailing disc seeder that can cultivate, reconsolidate the soil, sow and roll in a single pass.


The new Amazone Cirrus 6003-2C trailing disc seeder is designed to save time, money and manpower due to its ability to cultivate, reconsolidate the soil, sow and roll in a single pass.

With the addition of a GreenDrill 500 seeder box it can also sow catch crops or apply slug bait during the same pass.

Recently I had the opportunity to do a bit of sowing with an Amazone Cirrus 6006-2C at a little place called Terip Terip. What started out as a pleasant four-and-a-half-hour drive from Warrnambool on the Victorian south coast to Melbourne, then up the Hume Hwy to Euroa where the final half-hour leg to Terip Terip began, turned out to be a little trickier then I first anticipated.

Whoever said modern navigation equipment was the way of the future obviously has never made the trek to Terip Terip. Once I turned off the Hume at Euroa, my normally reliable Google Maps app had me zig zagging my way somewhere between the Mafeking Rover Park and the Gobur and Yarck Nature Conservation Reserves.

The winding, dusty tracks took me past some magnificent lookout sights, and if you thought you had stony country, you need to get up into this area for a look. The stones seem to gather together like prehistoric communities on top of hills and rises as if to stand guard over the surrounding countryside.

These monolithic marvels of nature are smooth like marbles but each one is the size of a house. Every now and then, a rogue stone can be found at the bottom of a hill all by itself, as if it’s taken off in an attempt to escape the main group. It doesn’t get far once it hits the flat, and I can only imagine its actions have condemned it to a solitary existence for the last million years or so.

And, although the weather was a long way from ideal, with hot and dusty conditions on day one followed by wet, soggy soils from heavy overnight rain and gale-force winds that nearly blew the yellow-tailed cockies out of the trees, the Cirrus 6003-2C disc seeder performed equally well over both days.

It proved that that it could remain operational and continue to get the job done in a variety of weather and soil conditions.

 

The rundown

The Amazone Cirrus 6003-2C 6-metre seed drill has a 4000-litre dual hopper with a 60/40 split bin configuration to combine simultaneous seed and fertiliser applications.

Two parallel rows of disc cultivators are followed by Matrix press wheels, RoTeC pro coulter sowing units with trailing press wheels.

A separate GreenDrill 500 small seeds applicator delivers seed via air pressure to deflector plates along the rear of the machine for surface application in front of the press wheels.

The unit folds up hydraulically and automatically locks into place for a transport to a width of 3m, a height of 3.25m, and a length of 8.05m.

 

Cultivation

Two rows of scalloped discs at the front perform the initial cultivation of the soil. They can be adjusted up and down hydraulically on the go depending on how much cultivation you want to achieve.

There are two discs mounted on each arm that are suspended off the toolbar via sprung rubber blocks. The four rubber elements in each mount act as cushioning and allow a degree of breakaway in stony ground.

Each disc has its own oil-filled sealed bearing unit. The combination of felt ring and high-quality face seals mean one oil fill should provide lifelong lubrication and no maintenance should be required, resulting in higher work output and less time spent on daily greasing.

The disc harrows are not designed as a primary cultivator in hard compacted soils but work exceptionally well breaking down ploughed ground to form a fine seedbed. They perform well on stubbles and help to improve the soil structure by incorporating residue straw back into the soil.  

Like other disc harrows, speed tillers or multidiscs, the Cirrus twin-row cultivator discs work best at higher speeds up to 16km/h. The front row throws the soil into the second row to provide maximum crumbling and also performs effective levelling. Working at 16km/h the 6m-wide machine is capable of covering 9.6 hectares (23.7 acres) per hour.

 

The matrix effect

Following the cultivation discs are the Matrix pneumatic press tyres, which reconsolidate the soil ahead of the sowing tines. They are what you would call the modern rubber version of the old-style steel wedge ring roller.

A total of 12 Matrix tyres span the full width of the machine. Each of the 400/55R17.5 tyres has a diameter of 880mm and width of 410mm. Protruding ribs in the tyre treads press and consolidate the soil directly in line with the following sowing tine. Each roller tyre services four sowing rows at 12.5cm sowing spacings and three at 16.6cm spacings.

As mentioned before, on the day of our trial, we had received overnight rain that left the soil rather sticky. However, the Matrix radial tyres operate at 3.5 bar (50.7psi) pressure, which allows enough flex in the tyre walls to continually flick off any soil build-up and remain clean. This allowed us to start work sooner than machines with conventional tyre rollers.

Reconsolidating the soil creates a smooth, flat surface to sow into, and helps to preserve as much moisture as possible for the germinating seed.

When the machine is folded up, four of the Matrix tyres become the transportation tyres, taking the full weight of the machine. The matrix rollers are mounted about 1m back from the cultivation tines to allow plenty of time for the soil to settle between the two processes.

 

Sowing coulters

Following perfectly in each pressed line of soil left by the matrix rollers are the RoTeC pro disc sowing coulters.

Downward pressure on the coulter discs is achieved hydraulically via the operator terminal inside the cabin, and depth control is regulated by a 25mm-wide plastic guidance roller disc fitted to the side of each coulter disc.

The guidance disc has four settings for adjusting the depth of sowing and for regulating penetration in light dusty soils. For deeper sowing on heavy soils, a narrower 10mm guidance disc is available.

Being attached to the sowing disc should provide maximum accuracy because it is operating exactly where the seed is being dropped, as opposed to some that use the trailing press wheel for depth control.

I would like to come back and have a look at these plastic guidance discs after it has done a couple of thousand acres because I just sense they may tend to wear quickly in abrasive soils, but I am happy to be proved wrong.

 

Press roller

Trailing directly behind each sowing coulter, the trailing press wheel consolidates the soil in the furrow to create the optimum germination conditions.

The act of post-sowing rolling is especially important for spring sowing and summer crops, or anytime when moisture retention is invaluable to the maximum growing potential of the crop.

The undulating surface that each individual roller creates helps also to reduce wind and water erosion. Downward pressure on each roller is independent from the sowing coulters. The pressure is adjusted manually and can range between zero and 35kg per roller.

 

All the extras

Every optional extra except the kitchen sink has been thrown at this unit to showcase its full working potential.

The rear-mount 500-litre GreenDrill 500 is a small seed applicator using air pressure to deliver seed or slug bait to distributor heads mounted along the rear bar in front of the press wheels. It is controlled by a second on-board computer monitor in addition to the to the Amatron 3 monitor that is supplied with the Cirrus drill.

For the purpose of showing us the latest in terminal technology, Landpower product manager Travis Ryan-Salter had the Cirrus connected to a new Claas S-10 monitor that he was showcasing in the Claas Axion 870 tractor we were using. (See page 26.)

The S-10 with ISOBUS technology makes operation an absolute breeze. While calibrating the GreenDrill 500 is done through the monitor inside the cabin, the job of setting the application rates of the Cirrus 6003-2C is achieved using an externally mounted Twin Terminal 3.0 with a 3.2-inch display.

The water- and dust-proof terminal is mounted on the seed drill near the metering units, which allows the driver to carry out all the calibration steps from one location without having to repeatedly climb in and out of the tractor.

A full calibration, which includes three test samples being weighed to achieve 100 per cent accuracy, takes only minutes to perform even when metering cartridges require changing.

LED work lights provide a clear view, a radar sensor is mounted to the frame to provide exact ground speed of the machine, and a loading and unloading auger with full hydraulic functionality is permanently mounted to the side of the machine.

Amazone prioritises operator safety and accessibility on the machine by installing plenty of platforms with guardrails and ladders.

 

To work

The Cirrus 6003-2C attaches to the bottom linkage arms on the tractor. This provides easy and quick attachment and also – more importantly – allows for a much tighter turning circle as the pivoting point is mounted further away from the rear of the tractor than it would be with traditional drawbar attaching designs.

A selection of metering cartridges provides every option for sowing rates from 1.5 to 400kg/ha. Swapping from fine seeds to normal seeds can be done in seconds by changing the metering cartridges, and they can even be changed when the hopper is full by sliding a blocking plate into the metering device.

 

The bottom line

I came away quite confident that the Cirrus 6003-2C is a great unit that, at 6m wide, will cover plenty of ground quickly. It should be remembered that it’s not a direct drill and is not equipped to break into virgin country for the first sowing.

My gut says it will be popular with contractors for sowing onto cultivated ground using the disc cultivators to break down the soil pre sowing. Sowing directly into stubbles while incorporating crop residue and topping up pastures for dairy farmers will be its bread and butter.

Overall, I give it a big tick of approval as a quick, effective and easy-to-operate piece of equipment. A huge positive is that, because it folds to a width of 3m for transport, it will fit through most farm gateways and leave the fences intact.

Hits & Misses

HITS

  • Self-loading auger
  • Calibration terminal at the metering device
  • Oil filled sealed bearing unit for each pair of cultivator discs
  • Matrix reconsolidation tyres
  • Work platforms for walking on machine
  • Twin bin
  • GreenDrill 500 small seeds and slug bait applicator.

 

MISSES

  • Plastic depth gauge disc

 

Amazone Cirrus 6003-2C seeder specs

Type: Trailing sowing combination

Working width: 6m

Transport width: 3m

Working speed:  8-16km/h

Sowing spacings: 12.5cm or 16.6cm

Hopper capacity: 4000 litres

Hopper split: 60/40 per cent

Tractor power requirement: 220hp

Amazone Cirrus 6003-2C The Cirrus 6003-2C combination sowing unit folds up to a width of 3m and has a 40km/h permissible road transport speed with a full hopper Amazone Cirrus 6003-2C
Amazone Cirrus 6003-2C The 6m-wide all-in-one sowing combination requires a minimum 220hp tractor for comfortable operation – in this case, a Claas Axion 870 Amazone Cirrus 6003-2C
Amazone Cirrus 6003-2C Each bin is fitted with a quick emptying chute that directs the seed or fertiliser back into the auger Amazone Cirrus 6003-2C
Amazone Cirrus 6003-2C The Twin Terminal 3.0 with 3.2-inch display is mounted close to the metering units for quick calibration without having repeated trips to the main monitor inside the tractor cabin Amazone Cirrus 6003-2C
Amazone Cirrus 6003-2C Ladders, platforms and safety rails provide the operator with a safe working environment Amazone Cirrus 6003-2C
Amazone Cirrus 6003-2C The tread pattern on the Matrix tyre rollers reconsolidates the soil in line with the following sowing tine Amazone Cirrus 6003-2C
Amazone Cirrus 6003-2C A lever attached to each of the depth guidance rollers adjust the depth of seed placement through four height settings Amazone Cirrus 6003-2C
Amazone Cirrus 6003-2C Deflector plates at the end of each of the GreenDrill 500’s delivery hoses provide a good, even spread of seed or slug bait between the sowing coulters and press wheels. Amazone Cirrus 6003-2C
Amazone Cirrus 6003-2C The hydraulic self-loading auger makes filling a breeze Amazone Cirrus 6003-2C

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