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Gigantic Planter Delivering No-Till To Australian Farming

On a continent where equipment is said to have lagged behind advances in cropping practices, one manufacturer is looking to convert the land to no-till in a very big way.

They're thinking big down under. The 120-foot planter manufactured by Multi Farming Systems is already the world’s largest, the company says, and negotiations are under way to build a 302-foot version at customer request.

The Multiplanters are designed to no-till through virtually any residue or even virgin land that has never been farmed, the company says. “This is the machine that will deliver sustainable agriculture into the hands of the Australian farmers,” according to MFS officials.

And in yet another size surprise, the standard set-up of the enormous planter includes 13 1/3-inch row spacings. David Trevilyan says that’s the spacing that proved to be most efficient and profitable on his farm over the years. Trevilyan, an engineer and a farmer who has been no-tilling for 20 years in central Queensland, Australia, established MFS in 1982 and designed the Multiplanter because he could not find appropriate no-tilling equipment.

Now, with a 302-foot planter on the drawing board at the family-run operation, he says, “Our problem is not how big we can make a machine, but finding a tractor big enough that can pull it…The problem is not the horsepower required to pull each tine, because each tine has only a 2-inch spear tip, but this soon adds up for a machine with 273 tines.”

The customer interested in the 302-foot model operates an 850-hp tractor. MFS calculates that about 4 hp is needed to pull each tine in average soil conditions.

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Despite the size of the standard 120-foot planter, MFS describes…

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