Drilling Excellence in Mid Canterbury

Source: Ashburton Guardian Interview 2013


For some crop farmers and contractors, the land conditions here on our back door in Mid Canterbury can be foreseen as a challenge.

We at Allen Custom Drills are here to meet the land conditions. Manufacturing air seeder direct drills for those all over the country, that are in need for a direct drill in the right price range, of any size and specifications, a drill that can not only sustain the conditions long-term but provide the most accurate results.

The company started with Craig Allen’s father, Dave Allen’s initiative with modifications made on his imported direct drill when he was farming and contracting himself.

He saw a niche in the market for a low-cost, durable, simple and accurate air seeder direct drill. The company originated back in 2002 and has been successful here in Mid Canterbury ever since, and now is well known throughout New Zealand.

Craig Allen is now CEO of Allen Custom Drills and is behind the innovation, design and working side by side with clients as the manufacturing process takes place, ensuring this drill will exceed client expectations, no matter what size or model or the condition of the soil.

Craig Allen says “We take into serious consideration any factors that will provide a cost effective, low maintenance and long lasting product. We design our drills using four principles; Accuracy, Simplicity, Durability and Reliability.

“We can build everything in the drill to the customer’s specifications, from its working width, to whether or not it has a fertiliser box, insecticide box, crane and more.

“We have many features available that other drills don’t have. Our drills are designed to be adjusted to planting different types of seed.

“It also has to be tough. Drills made in Europe are not designed to handle the stony soils that we have.

“I’m very proud to be producing a New Zealand made product and right here in Ashburton. The best part for me is seeing the drills out there working, handling some rough conditions and seeing the client’s seed take off.

“At the end of the day I’m trying to design drills that are going to be the best piece of machinery for the farmer or contractor in all aspects and seeing the results come through feels pretty darn good”.

Allen Custom Drills are built to an extremely high standard; every engineer working on the machine, every part incorporated into the machine is closely monitored and carefully checked through.

The staff here are experts at what they do, they respect the high standards, be of engineering or the customer service and they feel proud of the end results.

Mid Canterbury is a powerhouse and we’re proud to be manufacturers here in Ashburton, strongly supplying a product nationally and recently having the opportunity to supply internationally. We’re looking forward to seeing what the future brings.

David Clark - Speaks about his PD-6000


David Clark is an arable farmer, growing cereals, peas, ryegrass, clover and vegetable seeds as well as farming breeding ewes and fattening trading lambs.

He purchased a P-D series 6 metre drill from Allen Custom Drills which was delivered in February.

When considering where to purchase a new drill, ultimately he chose Allen Custom Drills.

“We looked closely at all of the European air drills and chose the Allen drill primarily because of its very robust construction. The pricing of this drill was also more than competitive with imported alternatives,” David remembers.

     The strength, quality and performance of the drill have exceeded David’s expectations.

“The strength of the frame is outstanding. The rubber block oscillation on the coulters means that there is no mechanical connection between the ground and the frame and we think that will greatly reduce the maintenance costs of the drill.

“Being equipped with an RDS electronic controller and Accord electric feed rollers has meant that I can calibrate the drill in the shed and once the controller has determined the density of the seed, the application rate can be altered from the cab. We are operating this drill on a tractor with RTK Auto Steer so we know exactly how big the field is and this has eliminated any overlap so when used in conjunction with the RDS controller which is so accurate, we can precisely apply the amount of seed that is required for that field. As a example, in sowing new ryegrass seed crops this autumn in 25 ha paddocks that were allocated 250 kg of seed, we were consistently finishing these fields with 4 or 5 kg of seed left.

“The manufacturing quality is very good, all plates are CNC profile cut, the frame and fittings are square and well laid out and the paint quality is excellent. This is a very professional product that in my view is the equal of any imported machine,” David said.

Overall David found his experience with Allen Custom Drills to be excellent, exceeding his customer service and performance expectations.  "Craig and his team have been fantastic to deal with, and were very collaborative during the design phase and several of our suggestions were incorporated into the final product. The drill was on-time, on budget and has exceeded our expectations. We are extremely pleased with the machine and the service provided by Craig Allen."