Based outside Trim, Co Meath, Frank Eivers farms just over 350 acres, mainly in the one block. As a rule of thumb, Frank aims to grow all winter cereals, oilseed rape and spring beans.

However, tricky weather conditions last October hampered winter sowing, leaving half of the acreage to be planted this spring. With little let-up in the weather since, Frank was behind on planting when we visited.

Operating as a one-man band as much as possible, Frank runs one tractor, a Claas Arion 630. He carries out all sowing, spraying and harvesting operations while other jobs such as ploughing are contracted out.

Frank sowing with his Claas Arion 630 and Alpego Jet-X 300.

In 1990, Frank bought his first one-pass combination drill, which was a Lely power harrow coupled with an Accord seed drill on Suffolk coulters. From there, Frank ran two Kuhn Venta double-disc machines consecutively.

After 13 seasons with his second Kuhn and sowing over 350 acres annually, Frank was conscious that the power harrow was showing signs of internal wear and that the coulters were also worn. He felt it was time to consider upgrading the drill.

The quick-release tines have a working depth of up to 280mm.

Why Alpego?

Having attended the 2022 FTMTA Farm Machinery Show, Frank paid careful attention to the machines on offer. Although an unfamiliar brand to the Meath man at the time, he was drawn towards the Alpego Jet-X 300 for a number of reasons.

Frank said that the 355mm single-disc coulters were a major selling point of the Jet-X.

“I was impressed with what I saw. Initially, it was the build quality that caught my attention. Then having heard about the features of the machine, I was well impressed.”

The Dosal seed metering unit, capable of accurately sowing up to 450kg/ha really impresses Frank.

Frank was also reassured by the fact Alpego manufactures the large majority of its components in house, including its gearboxes.

Frank’s decision to opt for the Alpego was made easier having already had a 20-year plus relationship in buying tractors from Alan Douglas Machinery, his local agent for Claas and Alpego brands. He still recalls buying his first new tractor from Douglas, a Renault Ares 696.

The Jet-X 300 arrived in time for sowing winter cereals in 2022. Roll the clock forward to the current challenging spring-sowing season, Frank has over 500 acres done with the machine to date.

Jet-X range

The Jet-X range is the Italian manufacturer’s pneumatic seed drill aimed for more professional users. Three working widths are available, 3m, 3.5m and 4m. The Jet-X uses a quick linkage system for the easy detachment of the seed drill and its couplings from the power harrow. The only downside Frank finds is that the seed drill lacks a second stand when uncoupled.

Keeping things simple, Alpego offers the Jet-X as grain only with one single disc coulter option. All adjustments including harrow working depth, harrow levelling board and seeding depth is manually adjusted at ground level.

Hopper capacity is 1,500l as standard with a 250l extension available as an option. Half-width shutoff is also available as an option. However, Frank didn’t feel it necessary for a 3m machine.

The Jet-X comes as standard with a tramline shut-off kit.

Power harrow

The Jet-X can be equipped with Alpego’s RTEK power harrows. Although features are largely similar, Frank is running the RTEK’s predecessor, the RK300 Rapido.

Alpego opts to fit 12 rotors within the 3m working width. Coming from his previous machine which had 10 rotors, Frank believes the additional two rotors help to keep large stones from passing through the machine, instead pushing them forward and off to the side.

The RTEK harrow includes Alpego’s patented Twin Force Tek system whereby each pair of rotors are mounted on a one piece support. The harrow bed is fitted with Timken tapered roller bearings and reinforced hardened gears.

Frank Eivers, Trim, Co Meath.

Frank’s machine originally came fitted with the harder wearing forged quick-release tines, which were replaced after 350 acres. He complemented their ease of replacement, noting that all tines can be replaced in under 40 minutes.

Metering unit

The Jet-X is equipped with Alpego’s own Dosal electric seed metering system. This fully stainless steel unit is capable of rates from 2kg/ha to 450kg/ha.

Changing from small seed crop types, ie oilseed rape to large seed such as beans, requires switching between metering wheels and/or drive cogs to alter its rotational speed.

Frank pointed out that the metering unit’s guillotine door is a good feature, leaving it possible to make changes even while the hopper is full of seed.

The calibration procedure involves attaching the supplied bag to the metering unit, running the system for a set number of seconds, then weighing it with the scales provided. Once a weight is known, it is inputted into the terminal and any necessary adjustments are done automatically.

Once metered, seed is then pneumatically fed into the Turbo Rotal distributor head. This system sees a spinning impeller located in the centre of the head to promote even seed distribution in the hilliest of fields.

The only downside to the electric metering system, Frank finds, is that there isn’t enough of an adjustment range of adjustment on the toplink sensor to set the height at which seeding starts and stops.

“As the saying goes, the proof of the pudding is in the eating. It’s a bit like that with a drill, I think.

“A good drill is determined by seeding accuracy and how well crops emerge afterwards.

“Naturally, oilseed rape is one of the harder crop types to set a drill up to sow, given its seed size and seeding rate. After sowing 40ha last year at 2kg/ha, I had 1kg of seed left over. This was impressive and the seeding rate per square metre was bang on the mark too,” Frank outlined.

Coulter setup

Alpego opts to only offer a large 355mm single-disc coulter as opposed to a double disc or Suffolk option. Keen to move away from a double disc setup due to blockages, Frank felt that one large single disc would be more trouble-free and allow for improved performance in more tricky conditions.

The Jet-X uses a quick linkage system for the decoupling of the harrow from the seed drill.

Row spacing is 125mm while both coulter rows are mounted on individual rubber elements for shock absorption.

The discs are seated within double roller bearing. Individual coulter pressure can be adjusted from 0 to 60kg. Frank feels that this allows for great even seed depths regardless of conditions.

Out of curiosity, when setting up the Jet-X and to test the maximum penetration of its coulter system, a maximum depth of 6in was achieved which Frank found impressive.

The toplink sensor could do with more adjustment in Frank's view.

Frank's machine is equipped with a tramline kit, pre-emergence discs and row markers. The row markers are fitted with a shear bolt protection system which he feels is a good addition.


Jet-X models are Isobus-controlled as standard. Given the fact Frank’s tractor was Isobus ready but without its own terminal, he has it fitted with a Hexagon GPS Isobus terminal.

In hindsight, Frank would have opted for a larger Isobus terminal.

This is used for drill related functions only. To avoid switching between display screens, a TeeJet manual guidance system is also being used. However, it is Frank’s intention to retrofit an auto steer kit this year.

“Once familiar with the control interface, it’s quite easy to make adjustments or go through the calibration procedure. The only downside to the Hexagon terminal is that its screen and font size are a little on the small side.”

Frank has added rear work lights, a rear camera and a camera inside of the seed hopper, noting that the latter provides a good visual of the remaining seed before the low-level sensor signals.

The calibration procedure is simple and straightforward, according to Frank.

Frank Eivers said: “The Alpego has worked out very well for me. The move from a double-disc coulter to a large single disc, I think, has been a good one. I’ve had no blockages yet. The build quality and paint finish is superior to a lot of competitors and, surprisingly, the price was keener than most at the time too.

The Jet-X 300 weighs 2,765kg empty.

“The single best feature of the Jet-X is the result it leaves behind. Regardless of crop type, seed placement always seem perfect, in terms of depth and spacing. In good conditions, I would sow between 6km/hr and 8km/hr and get through about 40 acres/day. At the moment, 30 acres/day is more realistic. I generally run a press on the front linkage but this year, it has been a little on the wet side for that, so I’m going direct into ploughed ground. Overall, the move to Alpego was a good decision,” Frank concluded.

  • Model: Jet-X 300.
  • Power harrow: RK300 Rapido (RTEK300).
  • Working width: 3m.
  • Number of rows: 24.
  • Coulter: 355mm single disc.
  • Pressure per coulter: 0kg to 60kg.
  • Fan: hydraulically driven.
  • Metering system: electric with radar speed control.
  • Hopper size: 1,500l (250l extension option).
  • Unladen weight: 2,765kg.
  • Price: €52,000 plus VAT.
  • Likes

  • Accuracy of metering unit.
  • Build quality.
  • Dislikes

  • Seeding bar needs stand.
  • Back window if opened will hit the hopper.
  • Since delivery late in 2022, Frank has over 500 acres put through his Jet-X 300.