It is often said that the simplest ideas make the best solutions; and that is certainly the case with the SeedSock, a device that makes emptying a seed drill or fertiliser spreader hopper a whole lot easier.
Arable farmer Olly Harrison came up with the idea and a neighbour who manufactures bouncy castles enabled him to turn the idea into a practical product – a sheet of heavy-duty PVC with lifting loops in each corner and a flexible discharge chute in the middle.
“A lot of drills are awkward to empty and mostly involve dumping seed on to a concrete floor then sweeping and shovelling it into a sack,” explains Mr Harrison. “The Agricontract SeedSock makes this job a whole lot quicker and easier by discharging on to sheet that turns into a temporary container when lifted off the ground.”
He suggests the most obvious time to use it is when drilling and changing from one crop or variety to another.
With the SeedSock laid out and the drill positioned overhead, the hopper is emptied, the drill moved out of the way, and the sheet gathered up and lifted using pallet or other forks, or a hook attachment on a loader.
The contents can then be held in temporary storage or transferred to a sack or bulk bag using the tied-off flexible discharge chute.
Mr Harrison points out: “It’s a great time-saver because if you need to change varieties or crops during the day, you can do so out in the field using the SeedSock instead of running back to the yard.”
While acknowledging that others have made something similar before, it was a chance conversation with his bouncy castle manufacturing neighbour that led to the strong and durable Agricontract product being made.
“Bouncy castle structures are quite complex to cut and stitch, and they obviously have to be tough enough to take a fair bit of punishment,” says Olly Harrison. “So, I didn’t invent the idea, I just happened to find the right man with the expertise to make the SeedSock in the right way and at the right price.”
Early buyers have found other uses for their SeedSock; emptying a fertiliser spreader hopper after a mechanical break-down, for example, and preparing a cover crop seed mixture on the floor – like mixing concrete with a shovel – and then loading it from the SeedSock into a drill.
Available for £257 / €309 from Spaldings, the device is fully tested for CE/UKCA approval with a maximum load rating of 400kg SWL and comprises a 3m x 3m sheet of cross-webbed PVC with strong lifting hoops stitched in from corner to corner.
The 1.4m long outlet ‘sock’ at the centre is tied off for filling and then released to give controlled discharge into a sack or other container.
“It’s a big sheet, 4m from corner to corner so apart from using it to empty the seed hopper you can use it to cover bags on a trailer as weather protection,” notes Olly Harrison. “And there’s no set colour because that depends on what material is available when another batch is made – we’ve had them in green, grey and pink with yellow seams!”
Like all products supplied by Spaldings, the SeedSock is available to order either online via the spaldings.co.uk website; by calling the dedicated telesales team; and by contacting the nationwide on-farm sales team that covers the United Kingdom and Ireland.