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Pictured above (from left): Taylor Green, R K Flint Contracting operator; Flinty, Owner R K Flint Contracting; Nathan Robinson, Norwood Morrinsville Sales Representative

The perfect contractors’ implement leaves happy farmers in its fast and efficient wake. This is why Richard Flint has a Vaderstad Tempo precision planter.

RK Flint Contracting is based in Ngatea on the Hauraki Plains, and Richard has had the Vaderstad Tempo F8 since September. “I wanted the accuracy and speed to get through the work, and I have been very impressed. Farmers are saying the maize crops are coming up bloody good with no overlap, and they are happy saving money on seed.”

Richard’s eight-row Tempo is a trailed model, with four support wheels. They give optimum depth control and avoid tilting on hills, allowing excellent following of contours. “We have humps and hollows in marine clays and it always plants at a consistent depth,” he says.

The Tempo F8 is 6m wide its rows are on 30-inch spacings. It has a 1700-litre fertiliser bin. RK Flint Contracting uses the planter solely for maize, though it can be fitted with a small seeds kit to increase options. At the front of each planting unit is a fertiliser coulter to position fertiliser close to the seed. Behind that are row cleaners that clear the seedbed of residues and clods.

Some of Richard’s clients prepare their own ground and the paddocks can be anything from a fine seedbed to quite cloddy. The cleaners flick clods out of the way for a finer seedbed in rougher conditions. For fully cultivated ground the cleaners are manually lifted out of the way, allowing the Tempo to work efficiently whatever the ground conditions.

Behind the cleaners come the seed coulters. The seed chamber is positively pressurised which means seed is ‘blown’ down the delivery tube. Vaderstad calls this system ‘Powershoot’, and it ensures every seed travels at identical speed from the hopper to the soil where it’s caught by the following soft press wheels.

Richard says the press wheel keeps the seed in exactly the right place. Along with the accurate depth control, the Vaderstad system ensures exact seed spacing for every individual plant to achieve maximum growth.

Each seeding unit takes a bag and a half of seed and Richard usually does 8-9 ha of maize on a full load.

With GPS on his ISOBUS tractor, he can use the Tempo’s auto shut-off feature. It can be used for precision farming, automatically changing fertiliser and seed rates according to a map set by the farmer, although currently none of Richard’s clients need this feature.

The rate can also be changed manually on the fly using the iPad monitor. Richard says the iPad makes life easy. “I take it out of the cab when I am calibrating the seed and fertiliser. It has everything right in front of me and it is basic to use.”

He plants at about an inch deep. If it is dry, he may push the seed a little deeper.

When Richard is preparing ground, he usually discs or rips sprayed-out ground He then works it with a power harrow, and after that he goes in with the Tempo.

Richard pulls his Tempo with a 250 hp New Holland T7.250 tractor, though he says it does not need this much power. On good-going paddocks he works at about 14 kph. In rougher conditions he drops to 8-9 kph.

Machines only make money when they are working. Richard says it only takes a minute to get in and out of transport mode, letting him get onto the next job quickly.

At the same time he bought the Tempo, Richard also bought a Horsch Pronto 4DC 4m direct drill, for chicory and grass.

Richard bought his Tempo F8, Horsch Pronto and New Holland tractor from Norwood Morrinsville. He says they provide “bloody good service”. Technicians came out when the Tempo was first delivered and then on the first job, they spent all day with Richard ensuring he was getting the best out of it. “If I am not sure of anything, I give them a call. If they can’t sort it over the phone, then they come straight out. It’s a bloody good drill and I’m glad I went that way.”