A new HE-VA Evolution specialist oilseed rape seeder was launched by Opico at LAMMA this week and it will come in 3m, 4m and 5m formats.

Originally shown last as a prototype 3m machine, fine-tuning its development has resulted in the Evolution mounted drill.

With flea beetle, blackgrass and slugs making conditions challenging to establish a strong and viable rape plant, the new rape drill will provide a fully-loaded machine which can achieve precision drilling and seed placement, soil and nutrient management and pest control in one pass, said Opico.

The seed bed is prepared by low disturbance, medium-depth sub-soiling legs with points which alleviate compaction and with minimal surface disturbance, which encourages good rooting. A V-profile roller then re-consolidates, creating a micro-tilth ready for seed placement.

For this part of its work, a front disc works ahead of each leg, slicing through the soil surface to prevent the likes of blackgrass seed being brought to the surface. Then the proven HE-VA Accu-Disc double-disc coulter places the seed to the required depth and a rear wheel then closes and re-consolidates, ensuring seed to soil contact.

Slug pellets can also be applied in the same pass using HE-VA’s twin multi-seeder and an optional Nitro-Band or Nitro-Jet can also be added to put on granular or liquid fertiliser.

James Woolway, Opico's managing director, said: "Establishing oilseed rape has been difficult again this year, with flea beetle hammering crops at cotyledon stage. This, combined with blackgrass and slug pressures, is making it challenging to get a currently profitable crop out the ground. This new seeder throws all our best technology at the plant getting it off to a good, strong start and able to withstand any pest pressures.’

A 5m version was shown at LAMMA and the range starts at £34,952 plus VAT for the 3m model.