my stanhay sower on the ferguson te20

Stanhay Sowers: Pioneering Precision in Agricultural Machinery

Step into the rich history of Stanhay Sowers, a cornerstone of agricultural innovation since 1921. Explore the humble beginnings, transformative innovations, and enduring commitment to excellence.

1920-1950: The Beginning

Since its inception in 1921 in Ashford, Kent, Stanhay Sowers has been at the forefront of agricultural innovation. What began as a dealership for Ford tractors soon evolved into a multifaceted enterprise manufacturing a range of mounted implements.

1950-1970: Drill Sales Boom

The company’s trajectory took a significant turn during the 1950s to 1970s when it rose to prominence following a groundbreaking achievement. In response to a competition spearheaded by the Ministry of Agriculture and the British Sugar Corporation, Stanhay developed a drill capable of precisely placing single sugar beet seeds at regular intervals in the soil. This triumph catapulted the company into a period of unprecedented growth, with precision drill sales skyrocketing.

stanhay mk2 metering unit
The Stanhay Mk2 seed metering unit and coulter from one of my sowers.

1970-1980: Stanhay Webb Emerges

The 1970s ushered in a new era as Stanhay merged with Webb, based in Exning, Suffolk, giving rise to Stanhay Webb Ltd. This strategic alliance fortified Stanhay’s position as a leader in precision drilling technology, earning the company accolades and recognition across the industry.

1980-2000: Technological Advancements

The subsequent decades witnessed a flurry of technological advancements. Stanhay’s relentless pursuit of excellence led to the development of the patented multi-line Singulaire vacuum metering unit, a breakthrough that garnered prestigious awards such as the Royal Agricultural Society’s Burke Trophy and a Queen’s Award for Technological Achievement.

2000-2020: Worldwide Expansion

As the new millennium dawned, Stanhay embarked on a journey of global expansion, establishing a formidable presence in over 60 countries. With a focus on diversification and strategic investment, the company unveiled a state-of-the-art manufacturing facility in Bourne, Lincolnshire, underscoring its commitment to delivering cutting-edge solutions to farmers worldwide.

2020 – Present: The X Series

In the face of evolving challenges, Stanhay remained unwavering in its dedication to innovation. This commitment bore fruit in the form of the X Series, the company’s most technologically advanced precision drill to date. With its sleek design and unparalleled functionality, the X Series exemplifies Stanhay’s enduring legacy of precision and reliability.

a stanhay model x precision sower
A modern Stanhay vacuum-assisted precision sower.

As Stanhay Sowers continues to push the boundaries of agricultural machinery, its journey serves as a testament to the power of innovation and the enduring spirit of excellence. From its humble beginnings to its current standing as a global leader, Stanhay remains steadfast in its mission to empower farmers and cultivate a brighter future for agriculture.

A Breakdown Of The Parts In A Precision Sower

Stanhay precision sowers are designed to sow individual seeds at exact depth and spacing, here’s how it typically works:

  1. Seed Hopper: The seed drill is equipped with a hopper that holds the seeds. The size and design of the hopper can vary depending on the specific model and the type of seeds being sown. usually, the hoppers are not very big – each one holding only a few Kgs of seed.
  2. Metering Mechanism: Inside the seed drill, there is a metering mechanism designed to regulate the flow of seeds from the hopper to the soil. This mechanism ensures that the seeds are distributed individually and at the determined rate. The metering of seeds can be via a rubber belt with holes (early Stanhay models), a steel wheel with holes (Webb design) or a metal disc with holes under vacuum (modern Stanhay vacuum sowers).
The cover removed from the Stanhay metering unit, which shows the choke, belt and rubber deflector tyre.
The cover removed from the Stanhay metering unit, which shows the choke, belt and rubber deflector tyre.
  1. Coulters or Discs: As the seed drill moves forward, coulters or discs create furrows or rows in the soil where the seeds will be planted. These furrows provide the ideal environment for seed germination and growth. The depth the seed is sown into the soil is set by the coulters or discs in small increments up or down.
  2. Seed Placement: Behind the coulters or discs, the seeds are placed into the furrows at the desired depth and spacing. After the seed is placed into the soil a drag bar in the shape of a V is pulled over the furrow which pulls soil over the placed seed.
  3. Press Wheels: Press wheels or rollers follow behind the drag bar to firm the soil over the seeds, ensuring good seed-to-soil contact and promoting uniform germination.
  4. Depth and Spacing Adjustment: Seed drills have many ways to alter the type, depth and spacing of the seed being sown. Some seeds are larger than others which means special metering devices need to be fitted when changing the type of crop being sown. For example, a swede seed is around 2.5mm in diameter and a fodder beet seed is around 4mm in diameter – you cannot use the same metering belt or disc to sow swedes and fodder beet.