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High capacity cart keeps seed flowing

ST. BRIEUX, Sask. – Bourgault Industries plans to go big next year.

Of the three new product carts that will go on the market in 2008, the biggest is the recently unveiled 6700ST, a four-compartment, three-hopper, 700 bushel behemoth.

“Looking at our sales for air seeder products, we found we were still not meeting the demand for large equipment,” said Rob Fagnou, of Bourgault.

With farms getting bigger and farmers pushing to increase efficiency and reduce costs, the demand for large equipment keeps growing.

“We decided to come up with a larger tank that we could release for spring 2008.”

The St. Brieux company will sell a limited number of the 6700ST carts next year, he added, with full production planned for 2009.

Dean Thomas, the company’s air seeder designer, said the goal was to cover more acres.

“Our sales of 550 bu. seeders were continuing to grow, but we’ve been approached by customers for something bigger, so obviously the need is there,” Thomas said.

“It’s the same height and width of the 6550ST, but it’s eight feet longer. We can’t go wider or higher. It has three hoppers, with four tanks. The previous models – the 450 and 550 – are also four tank models, but they only have two main hoppers. In order to keep this thing from being as long as a freight train, we had to add another hopper.

“With the 700 model, tank three can dump into tank two or tank four. On the other two models, tank two and tank three can dump into the other tanks. (The new 700) model is a little bit less flexible than the other two, but in the big picture, it’s still very versatile. We have the ability to combine tanks.”

The 6700 has splits of 370, 95, 30 and 205 bu., from the front tank to the rear. Thomas put together a few seeding scenarios that highlighted the tank’s flexibility.

If seeding wheat, he can put 370 bu. of urea in tank one, then combine two and three for 125 bu. of phosphate. Tank four would contain 205 bu. of wheat.

Applying 140 pounds of urea per acre, tank one puts out 159 acres while tanks two and three combined will deliver 148 acres at 50 lb. per acre and tank four will deliver 157 acres at 1.5 bu. per acre.

With peas, Thomas suggested tanks one and four carry peas, for 575 bu. At three bu. per acre, they would cover 192 acres. Tank two would carry 95 bu. of phosphate that at 40 lb. per acre would cover 183 acres. Granular inoculant in tank three would cover more than 400 acres.

With canola, tanks one and two would deliver 200 acres of urea at 140 lb. per acre, tank three would seed 288 acres at five lb. per acre and tank four would deliver 160 acres of phosphate at 100 lb. per acre.

“We try to set our tank splits so they work out fairly evenly,” he said.

“With canola and peas, you’re covering a quarter section before you have to fill.”

With the third tank now at 30 bu., compared to 15 bu. for the previous models, Thomas said it can now handle a mini bulk bag of canola seed, if that’s how the farmer is handling it.

Because of the three hoppers, three tank metering is standard. On the previous models Thomas said farmers could get away with two meters.

“Four tank metering is optional, but I expect just about everybody will order it with four tank metering.”

The 6700 tank differs from other Bourgault tanks in how it steers at the front.

“With a tank this big, there’s only so much weight you can put on the axles,” Thomas said.

“We already had to dual the rear axle, so we had to put more weight on the front axle and use much larger front tires. With that, we had to use wagon-type steering rather than the fifth wheel steering like on previous models, where the whole axle would turn. So it’s our first model with this type of steering.”

The new setup allows the tank to turn sharper than the old system. Thomas said co-operators who tested the prototype felt this type of steering makes the cart easier to pull.

Because of the cart’s size, Bourgault has moved from the standard one inch hitch pin on other air carts to a 1.5 inch hitch pin.

“Standard tires on the rear are dual 650/75R34, at 18 psi. On the front are 30.5Lx32 12 ply at 16 psi. Those pressures are fairly low. Anything over 20 psi and guys start to complain.”

Fill time is a legitimate concern with such a large capacity. Farmers want to have the drill in the field seeding rather than sitting for a long time filling. So instead of a larger auger, Bourgault uses a 10-inch tube with a 15-inch conveyor belt to load the cart.

“The biggest feature of this model, besides the size, is the conveyor. We use a Batco conveyor to speed up the fill times. We have a 10-inch deluxe auger on our other models, but it wasn’t fast enough,” Thomas said.

“The 10-inch deluxe will move 85 bu. a minute, while the conveyor will do about 125 bu. a minute, which is a 50 percent increase. It takes less power and has a low profile hopper to fit under semitrailers.

Thomas said the conveyor allows this tank to be filled faster than the 6550.

“The only problem with the conveyor is it’s so long. You can only run it at 25 degrees, or product will roll back on it. So it has to be long, but it’s a decent fit on this model because the tank is so long.”

For added convenience, the conveyor can be operated with a wireless electronic remote control that has a range of 300 feet. Manual controls on the cart are available if the remote is damaged or lost.

The ground drive metering system is similar to the system on other 6000 model product carts. Fan options include single shoot single fan, double shoot double fan or multi shoot double fan, with a high speed fan option available.

Bourgault has a couple of monitors available for the cart that include options such as zone rate control, variable rates, seed rate, guidance and autosteer.

Bourgault’s second introduction for 2008 is the leading 6550ST. It’s similar to the standard 6550ST cart but is designed as a tow between unit.

“Our largest leading air seeder before was 450 bushels. This came from Australia, where they wanted larger leading air seeders. We were able to develop a configuration that worked for our 550 tanks,” Thomas said.

“Leading air seeders are far less popular than tow-behinds, but there’s still certain customers that want them.”

The leading 6550ST has the same tank configuration as the tow behind, with seven different combinations available from four tanks. The tires for the cart are dual 650/75R34 with 18 psi.

Thomas said the leading 6550 is heavier on the drawbar than the leading 6450, so in many cases the tractor pulling it will require a drawbar support kit.

While much of Bourgault’s air cart focus has been on the larger units, Fagnou said the company is still concerned about its emerging Eastern European markets and parts of the United States.

“The 2200 is an entry level unit with two tanks and a 200 bu. capacity, with a chain drive metering system similar to that on the 3000 series carts. It’s a simple cart, with not a lot to go wrong,” Fagnou said.

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