Edited by Mary C. Gannon,
senior associate editor

Versadrill machine

The Versadrill machine takes advantage of a hydraulic motor to power a blower for seed planting.


When it comes to planting crops, farmers need versatile machines that can work in a range of soil conditions and with a variety of seed shapes, sizes, and weights. This need is met by the ‘Versadrill’ range of agricultural machines from SUMO UK Ltd., which gives farmers and contractors the ability to cope with most ground conditions to achieve fast and efficient seed drilling. They permit direct drilling into land with stubble, or that is ploughed or pressed, in just one pass with diverse types and sizes of seed. To achieve this, the company uses custom-engineered, hydraulically driven blowers.

The Versadrill includes adjustable soil-loosening legs for depths up to 300 mm, which relieve soil compaction and aerate in a V-shape. This V-shape has two rows of seed placed accurately via disc coulters (vertical blade to cut soil) along each side to give the crop the best possible chance to both germinate and grow to maturity with free roots. The company’s research has shown that there is no need to deep loosen earth for every seed row, helping to save fuel.

Seed is delivered to the disc coulters via a blower system. Initially seed is accurately weighed as it leaves the 2700 l bulk hopper mounted on the Versadrill. It is then drawn down to pass through a venturi valve from where it is blown along a feeder pipe to a multi-leg distribution hub that delivers seed to each coulter via dedicated feed hoses.

Using this technique, different models of the Versadrill can plant from 16 to 48 rows simultaneously. Seeds that can be handled by the SUMO machines range in size from oilseed rape up to broad beans.

The blowers employed by SUMO are supplied by Air Control Industries of Axminster and are powered by a hydraulic motor driven by the Versadrill’s hydraulic systems instead of the normal electric motor because no suitable electric power is on board the vehicle. The vehicle features an onboard hydraulics system to power other systems besides the motor. The 7.2 cm3/rev motor is rated for pressures to 200 bar and working speeds from 3500 to 4500 rpm. It supplies torque to 17 N/m.

“ACI has been very responsive to all our needs”, said Chris Byass, product development manager for SUMO. “The blowers are sized accurately to each Versadrill model following an analysis of performance requirements so energy consumption is minimised.”

For more information, contact Matthew Forknall at matthewforknall@aircontrolindustries.com or visit www.aircontrolindustries.com.