The Rapid seed drill – rationalisation in a single machine

The first Rapid

Rapid became a revolution that still has momentum. The early 1990s was a gloomy time in Swedish agriculture with deregulation and world market prices. At Väderstad we considered that only machines that would streamline and lower production costs would be relevant in the future. And so, Rapid was born. 

A dead end for DS

The story, however, dates back to the mid-1980s when the straw was burnt and direct drilling was in fashion in a bid to save costs in the face of low grain prices. Taking inspiration from the UK and loaned machines, Väderstad began a journey that ended with us developing our own direct drilling machine – the DS. It was a bumpy ride which led to a dead end as snails ate the direct drilling crops and demand dwindled. But the enthusiastic farmers who tested and bought the DS-machine sent us a clear message: skip the direct drilling, but develop the machine for combination drilling without the need for harrowing.

All-in-one pass

With that message we had the specification required for Rapid. The development work was interrupted for around a year, but once it took off a cultivating front tool was involved from the start, as well as the possibility of combi-drilling with mineral fertiliser alongside the seed. In short, Rapid-drilling would cultivate the soil, seed the crop, place the fertiliser and reconsolidate in a single pass. Seldom have one and the same machine taken on so many tasks in a single pass with such success.

Revolution and lifeline

Rapid was launched 1990 and started shipping 1991. Its success was soon obvious. Rapid became the epitome of rationalisation. That was exactly what was required during this time with low grain prices. So far, we have manufactured well over 25,000 units and Rapid seed drills are now working all kinds of soils in many different parts of the world. Rapid more than doubled the efficiency through faster working speeds and versatility. The machine has been refined with thousands of small improvements over 25 years. For many farmers, Rapid is both a revolution in crop production as well as an economic lifeline.

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