Broadacre tillage and seeding specialist, Gason, have developed a new, improved version of their press wheel that scored top marks in a recent Kondinin Group survey.
The new mounted press wheel is superior to the version tested by Kondinin that rated in the top groupings of reliability, construction and performance with rankings of 80%, 90% and 84% respectively.
Managing director Les Gason was delighted with the result and said it reflected the company's policy of continual investment in engineering.
"It would be nice to reduce engineering design costs for a couple of years, particularly when times are tight but I don't believe you can do that. Ongoing product improvement is vital for the future.
"I found it very interesting that we did so well in the category of intention to purchase again. We were fourth out of 29 suppliers. This reflects our approach of building products for the diverse range of cropping conditions found throughout Australia.
"Most of the Australian manufacturers did well in the survey. This tells me it's important to keep close to Australian farmers, understand their needs, and build equipment specifically for this market. There has to be some inevitable compromise in machines designed for global markets," Mr Gason said.
"If you want performance and reliability there is simply no way you can compromise and build a cheaper product. It just doesn't work."
Extensive field testing helped shape the design of Gason's new press wheel, according to engineering manager, Greg Gason. Much of the early work was done at Pimpinio near Horsham in Victoria.
"One of our engineers, Bruce Bartlett, has a family property there," Greg said. "We set up a three-point linkage test rig to try a variety of design improvements under different conditions. It gave us a lot of flexibility. We could make changes quickly and try things out at different speeds, depth settings and moisture levels.
"But a test situation and the real world are two different things. So once we were happy with the basic design we built 20 sets and sent them to farmers all over Australia and asked for their feedback.
"The result is a press wheel that we know works well in Australian soil types and stands up to our conditions."
Les Gason said press wheels could be seen as an expensive proposition but controlling seed depth and retaining more moisture can make a big difference to yield. “Selecting a quality product from a company with a proven track record means the investment should be rewarding and profitable,” he concluded.