In what it says is an effort to provide customers with a wider, more advanced air drill for no-till production systems, John Deere is introducing two larger sizes of the 1890 no-till air drill for 2011.

The new air drills utilize the field-proven active hydraulic down-force system and precision seed placement of the 90 Series air drills, but in wider seeding widths — 50- and 60-foot models.

"The addition of the 50- and 60-foot 1890 no-till air drills complements the lineup of seeding products from John Deere and are ideal for use in not only no-till, but reduced-till and even conventional small grain, cereal and soybean operations," says Aubrey Grove, seeding product marketing manager for John Deere. "The larger seeding widths allow producers to cover more acres in less time, which can be critical in areas where there is a short window of opportunity for seeding."

Both the 50- and 60-foot models of 1890 no-till air drill feature a five-section, drawn flexible frame with an over-center fold for easy transport and storage, and come with a dual-row spacing package of either 7.5/15 inches or 10 inches, depending on the crop and operator preference.

The new drills use 90 Series single-disc openers that are hydraulically raised and lowered to ensure precise, consistent seed placement in varying field and soil conditions.

"The active hydraulics can provide from 165 to 400 pounds of down pressure per opener, which is easily adjusted by the operator, to provide the correct amount of pressure to penetrate even hard soils with heavy residue," Grove says. "Each row has an individual gauge wheel, press wheel and closing wheel and is designed so each row unit moves with the contour of the land to improve seed-to-soil contact and even germination."

In addition, John Deere has redesigned the air towers to make the manifolds more easily accessible for clean out. SeedStar2 blockage sensors are also available to monitor seed lines for blockage, which can result in yield-robbing skips in the field.

For optimum operation, the company recommends tractors with a minimum of 375 engine horsepower for the 50-foot model and a minimum 475 engine horsepower for the 60-foot model.