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Accuracy and speed key selling points for contractor

When purchasing a new Maschio Gaspardo Chrono 508 Drill, Anthony and Tristan Dale of Dales Agri Services were after high speed and precision.

high speed precision drill

Tristan Dale of Dales Agri alongside the Maschio Gaspardo Chrono 508 Precision Drill.

Dales Agri is an agricultural contractor based near Macclesfield, covering the surrounding counties. The business has been providing agricultural services for over 35 years and was established by Anthony Dale, who now runs the business alongside his son Tristan.

Anthony and Tristan describe themselves as providing the full dairy industry service, from grass harvesting and baling (round and square bales), to ploughing and cultivating, all aspects of slurry, plus arable services including, combining and drilling.

Covering Cheshire, Staffordshire, Berkshire, Derbyshire and Norfolk, during the busiest times of the year they have a 25-strong team consisting of self-employed and sub-contractors, who ensure the Dales team can provide a full agri-service to their customers.

The Dales Agri team have been operating Maschio Gaspardo machines for a number of years; including ploughs, drills and a power harrow, before deciding to purchase a Chrono 508 high speed precision drill in 2021 from the Cornthwaites Group.

Set apart from the rest

Maschio Gaspardo product specialist & territory manager, Mac Simpson, says: “The Maschio Gaspardo Chrono 500 is a mounted drill which has a key feature that sets it apart from the rest. It can be set up to run with variable row spacings and is equipped with either eight or 12 planting units, making it suitable for sowing a range of crops with 45, 50, 70 or 75cm row spacings. This versatility makes it possible for the operator to switch from drilling sugar beet in the morning to maize in the afternoon, the conversion taking less than two hours.”

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Anthony Dale comments: “When we first bought the drill we had a few initial teething problems; however, the back-up and support that we received from Maschio was excellent and problems were sorted really quickly.”

The decision to purchase the Chrono, was very much based on the speed, accuracy and ability to vary the row spacing, Anthony continues. “Before buying the Chrono 500, we were running two Gaspardo drills, a Mirka 8-row at 75cm and a Magica 8-row variable 45–80cm – but we wanted a machine that could cope with both fodder beet and maize and at the speed and accuracy we need to provide for our customers, which led us to the Chrono 500.”

Having built such a good relationship with Maschio Gaspardo, the Dales Agri team continues to test the products today. “We eventually became an unofficial tester as we kept pushing the machinery to the limits,” explains Anthony.

Maschio Gaspardo precision drill

This year, they have drilled 80% of their maize at 50cm spacing with tramlines and are looking forward to seeing the results.

Tristan Dale says: “Although the Chrono can also be used for other small seed crops, such as OSR, we are currently using it for maize and fodder beet as these are very much the needs of our customers and the areas we cover.

“Due to the speed and the accuracy of the Chrono 500, we are able to drill on average 100–120 acres a day working at a rate of between 12–18kph, which is great compared to other drills available. We have had other drills in the past, but that aren’t as easy to swap out the rows and we really like that you can vary the pressure too.”

Anthony adds: “When drilling sugar beet, you need to drop the downward pressure because you need to be careful as the higher pressure can blow the seed out of the slot.

“And so, the accuracy and speed were the deciding factors for choosing the Chrono.”

Keeping ahead of the drill

One area that the team have found challenging is ensuring they keep ahead of the Maschio Gaspardo Chrono 500, as the speed means they need to have the ground ready to go sooner than previously required.

“The weather can be a real challenge for ensuring we keep well enough ahead for the drill. Due to the speed the drill can work at, if we’ve had too much rain it can make it difficult to ensure we have worked the land in time ready for the drill to pass, because as we know, that can also cause its own problems, such as compaction and soil structure damage,” explains Anthony.

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The Dales Agri team also run a Maschio Gaspardo 8m Jumbo Power Harrow, that is used to stay ahead of the drill. The Jumbo is an ultra-heavy-duty power harrow suitable for extremely hard stony soil, due to its specially developed barrel style double taper roller bearing.

Mac Simpson points out: “The Chrono is also fully Isobus-compatible enabling all its functions and adjustments to be handled either through an existing tractor terminal or an additional Isobus controller. In combination with the electronically-driven seeding units and microgranular applicator, the GPS-compatible drill controller also provides automatic row shut-off/section control and the potential for variable rate seeding and fertiliser applications.”

Great investment

Both Anthony and Tristan agree the Chrono 500 has been a great investment for their business. “The Chrono 500 comes as a full package and so all the optional extras are included meaning we have the flexibility and convenience of the function adjustments from the tractor cab.

“The accuracy of the drill at such high speeds combined with the ability to change rows quickly has made a real difference to the business, meaning we only need to run one drill not two,” concludes Anthony.

If you would like to learn more about the Chrono 500 series contact your local Maschio Gaspardo dealer, or visit the Maschio Gaspardo website

For more information on Dales Agri visit the website

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