Multiplanter – Frequently asked Questions
- What is the biggest Multiplanter you make?
How big do you want to go? The biggest Multiplanter frame at the moment is 65m (212ft). We have plans on the drawing board for a 92m (302ft) Multiplanter with 273 tines which can be pulled by a D11. Want to have a go?
- I want to farm conventionally, can I do this with a Multiplanter?
Yes, the Multiplanter is designed to work in all soil types and conditions. You can plant using a speartip, then replace it with a low profile sweep to cultivate, or chisel point to renovate. Fit a delta tip to apply gas. All tine operations can be individually depth controlled by the press wheel.
- My country is undulating and I have large contour banks. Will this be a problem?
Multiplanters are built in sections and have uniballs and buffer plates for floatation (except some folding wing models, but we can make them with a combination of hinge and uniball if required). The pull can be built so that it will bend when going over large contour banks, we recommend this for the larger models.
New addition based on customer feedback. We now fit air chambers to EVERY frame with 1/2″ hoses instead of 1/4″ hoses so that the oil can escape quicker when sowing at a 90 degree angle over a large contour bank.
- I'm an organic farmer and I want to be able to seed and cultivate with one machine. Can the Multiplanter do that?
Absolutely. Sow with speartips at planting time, then swap over to sweeps for interrow cultivating using the same machine. Press wheels can be left on to depth control the sweeps so they will simply skim the weeds off the surface, alternatively, remove the press wheels so that they don’t wear out as quickly, but have the wheels of the frame depth control the sweeps. To avoid shifting the tines around the frame, linkage machines will need to be offset, and autosteer will be need to be fitted to the tractor AND the Multiplanter to avoid slope creep and ensure accuracy.
- I only want a small Multiplanter, will you make one for me?
Absolutely, whatever size you want. We make Multiplanters of every size – one tine to whatever you can handle!
- What is deep moisture seeking and how can I do it?
Deep moisture seeking is useful when you want to plant on the calender into subsoil moisture without waiting for seeding rains. Depths down to 230mm (9″) have been recorded using a Multiplanter, while still leaving 50mm (2″) of compacted soil over the seed. Simply wind down the nut on each tine and retighten. A nut/bolt combination enables infinite adjustments within the range, as opposed to limited settings that are available on competitor machines.
- If I buy a Multiplanter now, I may want to extend it in the future. Can I do that?
Talk to us. There are very few Multiplanters that can’t be extended and we would be happy to do it. It is better if we can plan for it before the original machine is built so we can make sure we don’t put stays in the way, add uniballs to the outside wing or whatever else may be required.
- How fast can I seed at?
For maximum efficiency, speeds of up to 8km/hr can be achieved with 333mm (13 1/3″) row spacings, but you can travel faster with wider row spacings. The limitation is that you need to ensure you aren’t throwing soil into the adjacent row and upsetting its seed depth.
- How much will a Multiplanter cost?
How long is a piece of string? Like everything, it depends on what you want. End tow, folding wing, rear steer, double or single shoot, inter row cultivating sweeps, standard or wider row spacings – one planter for all conditions. Talk to us, you’ll be pleasantly surprised to find you’ll be able to purchase such a durable, robust machine with high quality components for such a reasonable price.
- What are the ongoing costs associated with my Multiplanter?
WE ARE NOT IN THE BUSINESS OF SPARE PARTS! We realise that we are unique as manufacturers because our aim is to make the initial capital outlay your last major purchase. We want your grandchildren to use the same machine for years to come. And no, we won’t go out of business, because you will tell all your friends what an amazing job it does, how cost effective it is, and what great people we are to deal with. We have had many of our new customers come to us because they have looked over the neighbours fence and seen what a great job our Multiplanter has done year after year whilst spending almost no money on it. You can’t buy that kind of advertising. Besides, we are farmers ourselves and we hate it when things break down. Why would we do that to you if we can possibly help it?
Ground engaging tools such as spear tips and press wheels will need replacing, as well as seals over time, but generally the Multiplanter will give the farmer a trouble free life. There is very little that can go wrong. Our pet hates are grease nipples, castings and springs. We can’t get away from grease nipples for the swash plates on the wheel assemblies and in the bearings, and our speartips and bearing housings are cast, but you won’t find any springs (OK, unless it is a coulter)!
We have purposely designed as many of the components as possible so that any breakages can be fixed in your own farm workshop, or you can go into town an buy a replacement off the shelf (eg bearing, bolt etc). We also use as many interchangeable parts as possible so that customers with multiple machines can stock minimal items. eg our Multiplanter speartips, chisel points and sweeps will also fit on the Multiworker Hydraulic Cultivator. Bearings for the tractor, truck and aircraft wheels are all 2 1/4″, even though the axles may be different sizes, they are all machined down to fit the same bearing.
The most common problems we see are wheel forks being bent by going into a gully (we changed the design a few years ago to 18″ castor instead of 10″ on the front to help them climb out of gullies and to minimise the wobble up that can happen when travelling down the road at speed) and adjuster bolts snapping off when heavy going seeding at great depth. We continually innovate to fine tune the Multiplanter into the best machine it can possibly be. We have had MANY good ideas come from our customers, and we are looking forward to the many more to come.
- You have a lifetime warranty at your discretion. What does that mean?
It means that if it was our fault we will fix it for free, if it was your fault, we will still fix it (or give advice on how it needs to be fixed), but you will need to pay for it.
For example, about 10-15 years ago we had a number of wheel parallelograms in a batch that weren’t welded properly. We occasionally get a phone call from a customer telling us that one has broken out. If the farmer pays the freight both ways we will fix it for free.
For customers where it isn’t practical for us to fix the item due to physical distance, we ask the farmer to engage a boilermaker they trust on our behalf, and we will either instruct the boilermaker direct or the farmer as to what needs to be done. We will then pay the boilermaker direct.
- Why do you sell direct AND have a dealer network?
We have tried just about everything. We have given dealers a geographical location to service before, and found that one actually used this to NOT sell our machines because we were cheaper than the opposition and there would be very little after sales spare parts income. At the same time we had some farmers tell us that if they had to go through a certain dealer just because of where they lived, then they would not buy a machine from us.
Like all professions there are good dealers and bad, and we decided that our first priority was the farmer, so we now give the farmer the option. Some want to go through a dealer because they want to trade in a machine that isn’t one of ours (we will trade Multi Farming Systems machines) and because their dealers will keep speartips/press wheel rubbers onhand at planting time. These are both good services and we are more than happy to sell through dealers who provide a good service to their customers.
On the flip side, we also sell direct and find it is often quicker and more efficient that way. You’re the customer, you decide what you want to do.
- I hear you sell second hand machines now, what is that all about?
Customers who are selling one of our machines often ring us to check what a new price would be, and to ask us if we know anybody who might be interested. We maintain a list of people selling, as well as buying, because we often get calls from customers who can’t afford a new machine but want to get into the market. A couple of years ago we had a customer who wanted to get a new 36m (120ft) Multiplanter to match the one he had just bought, but needed to sell the two 24m (80ft) Multiplanters he currently had first. That’s when we came up with the idea of trading in and reconditioning second hand Multiplanters and selling them on. Farmers still have the option of choosing their design, and it is often more efficient for us to add new steel instead of chopping up an old frame. The farmer gets the design he/she wants at a much cheaper price, sand blasted and painted, with the same lifetime warranty at our discretion.
We have always had a list as long as your arm of the people wanting to buy machines, with a list as long as your finger of people wanting to sell them.
- What Multiplanter frame options do I have?
We can make linkage Multiplanters and trailing Multiplanters with an A frame pull or pull pole with chains depending on requirements. We have single or double folding wing and end tow models. Just about any configuration can be accommodated. Let us know what you want to do with your Multiplanter and we’ll design it with you to suit.
- I have low overhead powerlines and lots of narrow bridges to cross. I want to travel at speed along the road with a decent sized Multiplanter. Can I do this?
We can make a folding wing or end tow Multiplanter to suit your requirements if a single frame is going to be too wide. The most popular folding wing sizes are 12m (40ft) single fold or 18m (60ft) single/double fold Multiplanters. The biggest end tow Multiplanter to date is 65m (212ft). Talk to us, we can work out what would best suit your operations if you give us the height and width parameters.
- The parallelogram tine assemblies I have seen wear out and shake to pieces. Why does the Multiplanter tine assembly work so well and last so long?
The Multiplanter tine assembly is unable to jiggle and wear while it is in the working position under hydraulic pressure. The tine is Bisalloy, so it has some flexibility while working and often snakes around obstructions, but other than that, there is very little movement apart from the occasional stump jump.
- How can the digging tip penetrate with so little pressure on it?
The long rear lead of the C shaped tyne enables it to hook into the ground naturally under its own weight in normal conditions.
- How do I know which digging tip to choose?
It depends on what you want to do.
We only have two speartips and both work well in most conditions. Hardfaced speartips (with tungsten chips) are more suited for rocky country where tungsten tiles may be chipped off. Knifepoints are used for rhizoctonia or to dig underneath the seed. Delta wings are used to apply gas some distance away from the seed. These tips are all interchangeable using a rollpin.
For more heavier going, fit a 380mm (15″) or 560mm (22″) sweep to each tine for full cultivation depending on row spacings. We find on our 333mm row spacings machine 380mm (15″) sweeps on the front two row and 560mm (22″) sweeps on the rear work well. To inter-row cultivate simply offset the Multiplanter via GPS autosteer, or raise and pin the tines over the rows to cultivate between the rows. Fitted via a bolt/nut.
For even heavier going like cotton pupae busting, fit a 50mm (2″) chisel point. It is also attached to the tine via a bolt/nut.
- I keep hearing about this 15 degree speartip soil entry angle. Why is it so important?
15 degrees enables a very low profile, so the speartip moves through the ground like a submarine. The little wings on the side of the speartip allow the soil to flow back into the trench, creating a seedbed with tilth. Very little horsepower is required to pull a tip at this angle which saves fuel.
An angle less than 15 degrees will cause the tine to heel out, which in turn causes a whole host of problems which may include:
– The back of the tine and underside of the speartip wearing away,
– Inadequate soil flow over the wings and back into the trench,
– Loss of a seedbed and tilth,
– There is a high chance the seed tube will get blocked up with mud,
– The seedbed trench may get smeared, making it difficult for young seedlings to emerge, and
– The speartip will probably be cutting into the soil at a much higher and therefore wider point, wearing it away quicker, and increasing the draft on the tractor (meaning you’ll use more fuel as well).
Just in case you didn’t get the picture – IT’S IMPORTANT YOU DON’T ALLOW YOUR TYNES TO HEEL OUT!
An angle greater than 15 degrees will cause the soil to be bulldozed and thrown out of the trench, because the speartip point is not able to pierce the ground. The higher, wider part of the speartip will dig in, creating a greater draft, and using more fuel. Speartips will also be worn away much quicker.
There is a very simple test to ensure you have the speartip soil entry angle set at 15 degrees, so there is no need to worry about it being a complicated operation.
- What are hardfaced speartips?
Hardfaced speartips are made from cast iron and have runs of hardfacing wire with tungsten chips embedded in them for hardwearing. Moist soil gets trapped between the hardfaced runs, causing the soil to wear on soil, thus extending the life of your speartip.
- How can the digging tip penetrate with so little pressure on it?
The long rear lead of the C shaped tine enables it to hook into the ground naturally under its own weight in normal conditions. The Multiplanter itself is much heavier than the majority of our competitors, and so the weight of the frame spread across the tines helps them to penetrate as well. The 15 degree soil entry angle of the speartip enables a low profile with just a 50mm (2″) speartip. All these factors together help keep the pressure requirements down.
- How do I know which press wheel to choose?
All our press wheels are 18″ (460mm) diameter semi pneumatic Manutec press wheels. The large diameter means a longer life because there are fewer revolutions, and it helps to keep them turning in tough going.
We recommend 55mm (2″) flat for normal operations, 80mm (3″) wedge for soft sandy loam country, and in extremely soft country you may need 100mm (4″) flat press wheels to keep them up out of the trench. Some customers use semi pneumatic for and put solid press wheels behind the tractor tyres because those tines bring up more lumps. For very deep moisture seeking when the ground is dry and lumpy on the top, some customers use solid rubbers across the entire Multiplanter.
- Will the press wheel smear the trench?
We have large 18″ (460mm) diameter press wheels which seem to keep turning better than smaller diameter press wheels. As long as you’re not planting too wet you shouldn’t have too many problems.
- How to you keep the mud from building up on the press wheels?
The person who discovers a universal solution to that problem deserves to become a millionaire! We have recently redesigned our press wheel arm to remove the crossbar in front of the press wheel because customers were telling us it was causing a mud built up problem in very sticky wet conditions. We were concerned that by removing the bar there was no opportunity for the mud to be scrapped off when conditions were wet, but not too sticky. We have found that the mud can still build up on the press wheel, but with semi-pneumatics there seems to be a point where it self cleans. However, this is not the case in all situations.
We have developed a press wheel mudscraper which can be retrofitted to the press wheel axle and adjusted to suit. Do we have the entire answer? No. Some people love it and it works well for them, others don’t have success. In particular, when there is a lot of trash on the ground, it can stick together with the sticky soil and jam up the mudscraper.
We have said to MANY of our customers – if you can come up with a solution we will make a full set for you for free and will make them for our future customers. Anybody want to take up the challenge?
- Can I fit GPS auto steer to my Multiplanter?
Yes, this will give you much better control over undulating country, and is a must for inter row cultivating if you aren’t on linkage. We can provide the steering rams and hydraulics to make it work, you will need to purchase your own GPS system to fit to it, and will need to ensure it talks to the GPS system in your tractor. You don’t want the two fighting each other!
- I want to be able to steer my Multiplanter while end towing. Can I do this?
Yes. Steering rams can be fitted to the rear centre wheel assemblies for end tow steering, and can be operated from the cab. We recommend this for larger Multiplanters, as it gives greater control when travelling down roads at speed, getting across narrow bridges and turning sharp corners.
If you have GPS autosteer to rear steer your Multiplanter in the working position, we will use the same rams, although in most cases you will need to swap one ram from the back to the front.
What Do I Need To Look For In A No Till Or Minimum Tillage Planter?
For a no till or minimum tillage operation, all the farmer needs is:
– A No till seeder, a boom spray of multiple widths and a low horsepower tractor.
– Weed control via chemicals is assisted by harvesting water into the seedbed.
– Applications of seed and fertiliser / gas can be made in firm ground in one pass.
Lets have a look at what you must have and how the Multiplanter fulfils those requirements. We will also identify what you need to watch out for to ensure you get what you need.
Must have. Depth controlled seed tubes. The Multiplanter tine is parallelogram controlled by the press wheel.Look out for. If the seed tube is mounted to the tine, and the tine isn’t independent to the frame, it can’t be precision depth, even if it has its own press wheel. It is being depth controlled by the wheels on the frame.
Must have. Narrow 50mm (2″) speartip with wings, and a 15 degree soil entry angle for minimal soil disturbance.Look out for. Steep soil entry angles that bust the soil up and out of the trench. Discs alone do not provide a seed bed.
Must have. Hydraulic pressure, a small 50mm (2″) speartip and C shaped tine that pulls itself in at a 15 degree angle. The Multiplanter is able to vary pressure on tines from the tractor cab on the run.Look out for. Springs can’t be adjusted on the run. Watch out for hydraulics that have fixed pressure and can’t be adjusted from the cab on the run.
Must have. The depth of the digging tip controlled. Multiplanter press wheels control the depth of each individual digging dig, so there are even trenches over undulating country, with limited bulldozing or skimming.Look out for. Uncontrolled digging tips, where there will be skimming and bulldozing.
Must have. The ability to pull extremely wide machines with smaller tractors. At normal depths, a D11 will be able to pull a 65m (302ft) Multiplanter with 273 tines at 4hp per tine.Look out for. Digging tip fixed to the frame and not depth controlled.
Must have. High 840mm (33″) underframe clearance, C shaped tine, large wheels fore and aft, minimum of 333mm (13 1/3″) rows to allow trash to roll through.Look out for. Wheels inside the frame and straight tynes. Low underframe clearance, with narrow row spacings.
Must have. The Multiplanter has the ability to plant into subsoil moisture down to 230mm (9″) deep.Look out for. Planters that can’t vary the depth of the seed placement. Operations will be limited to good planting seasons only.
Must have. The ability to channel water directly to the crop and deprive weeds on the mound of moisture.Look out for. Press wheels that are wider than the tip, they will not be able to penetrate the trench. Discs do not allow for collection of water.
Must have. Multiplanters have little wear and maintenance. Demonstrated is the wear of a 19 year old bolt from a parallelogram pivot point. There is no opportunity to wear when the tine is under hydraulic pressure.Look out for. Disc machines, machines with lots of grease points and castings, parallelogram tines not under pressure, tips without adequate long life protection and pneumatic press wheels that will puncture.
Must have. Accurate seed placement, planted at speed, and placed at the bottom of the trench.Look out for. Smaller row spacings that throw soil into the adjacent seedbed, compromising depth.
Must have. The ability to plant shallow, compact each seed in moist soil, so that every seed can come up, quickly and evenly.Look out for. Gangs of press wheels, not individual press wheels. They won’t follow each individual tine and pressure under them may be uncontrolled.
Must have. Large 18″ (460mm) diameter semi pneumatic. Wedge for sandy soils, flat for all other soil types. Less revolutions means longer bearing life, semi pneumatic smear less than solid rubber.Look out for. Pneumatics puncture too often. Small diameter press wheels are a maintenance problem and battle to turn in rough country.
Must have. The ability to set the breakout to whatever level is desired. The Multiplanter tine and press wheel come up in unison (renovator tine shown). Slow hydraulic release after compression.Look out for. Springs which get stronger as they compress. Torque transference causes premature metal fatigue.