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Dickinson Research Extension Center staff proposed to develop and assemble
a no-till plot drill for use in planting on farm demonstration projects
utilizing new technology in low disturbance seeding and fertilizing. The drill must meter and plant seed ranging
in size from canola to garbanzo beans.
Additional information about the design and construction of
this drill may be obtained by contacting Roger Ashley, Area Extension Agronomist or Jim
Nelson, DREC Scientist.
criteria that the Center used in developing the no-till plot drill
Low Disturbance studies indicate that low disturbance
seeding results in:
weed seeds less opportunity to germinate and establish.
content is maintained in soils.
and time conservation.
in soil organic matter.
of soil structure, earthworms, beneficial soil micro-fauna and micro-flora.
2) Accurate placement of seed for uniform germination
and emergence. Uneven germination
and emergence will create problems with weed control, crop injury,
Manage large amounts of residue.
The drill must handle more than just the average
amount of residue. Yields have
been trending higher. In some
years, we plant into 70 and 80 bushel per acre winter
wheat stubble, 100 bushel plus per acre barley stubble, and 90 bushel
per acre corn stubble. We do not have the luxury of multiple drills
to select for a particular situation and besides it is expensive to
have extra equipment on hand.
Operate under a wide range of conditions.
Soil texture, moisture content, and crop residue will vary
across a field and between farms so if the drill is to be useful it
must be able to perform consistently across a wide range of operating
Provide for separate bands of fertilizer and seed.
Seed in contact with high rates of fertilizer results in lower
germination rates or damaged seedlings.
If adequate amounts of fertilizer materials are going to be
applied in a no-till situation at planting time then banding fertilizer
separate from seed is required.
The drill must seed both small research plots as well as larger
demonstration plots. The drill
must have the capability to use fluid as well as dry fertilizers. Producers want to see performance of a wide
range of practices over a large field in wide ranging conditions.
The technology we incorporate into the drill must be available
and ready for adaptation and use on the farm today.
The plot drill can be no wider than 8 feet and no longer than
14 feet. In addition to these planting conditions, since
the Dickinson Research Extension Center plants a number of on-farm demonstrations,
the drill and tractor must fit on a 32-foot long trailer. We also need to do this legally so width is
About the opener selected.
Cross-Slot opener developed from research conducted at Massey University, New Zealand and the Agricultural Research Service
at Pullman, WA is designed specifically for no-till seeding. The Cross-Slot opener uses parallel linkage
so the opener follows the irregularities of the soil surface found
in no-till conditions. A vertical
scalloped coulter cuts through crop residue.
A blade on each side of the coulter cuts a horizontal slot. Seed is placed in the horizontal slot created
by the left blade and fertilizer is placed in the horizontal slot
created by the right blade. A
scraper behind each blade on the opener prevents sticky soil and seed
from being thrown up onto the surface by
the coulter. The two semi-pneumatic wheels on each opener
control the depth of penetration as well as pressing the soil and
residue back into place thus closing the slot.
The horizontal slot created by the blades plus the vertical
slot created by the coulter give the opener its name.
Fertilizer can be placed deeper than the seed by using a short
or a medium length blade for placing the seed and a long blade for
placing the fertilizer. Growers in Washington State indicated that they do this for their
spring wheat plantings. Separation
can be ½ inch to the side and 1 ½ inches below the seed. Up to 300 pounds per acre of urea fertilizer
has been applied through a drill equipped with the opener without
injury to germinating seed when the fertilizer is place horizontal
to the seed according to Dr. Keith
retired ARS Scientist, Pullman, WA. A hydraulic
cylinder on each opener raises and lowers the opener as well as providing
constant down pressure to each opener when in the planting position.
length of drill = 14 feet
width = 8 feet
weight empty = 7,760 pounds
= 9 Cross-Slot
Minimum mounting area on frame required
inches x 38 inches
three-inch wide pneumatic tires per opener
opener has a hydraulic ram capable of 1,500 pounds of force
x 4 liters with memory valve, sensor system
to 3 inches
Blades and Scrapers
Fertilizer placement in relation to seed placement
blade ½ horizontal or long blade ½ inch horizontal
and one inch deep
between openers on tool bar = 16 inches
occupy two tool bars.
between rows = 8 inches
planting width = 72 inches
Small plot seed
metering = Hege belted 5 inch diameter cone system.
cones on two frames (5 cones on front frame and 4 cones on back
timing = design by Todd Mayer, Steffes Corporation, Dickinson,
plot dry fertilizer metering = Single 12 inch diameter cone system.
60 gallon cone tanks
CDS John Blue Company LM-1255 single piston metering pump
Manifold = Pattison Even-Flo, 9 outlet manifold system
Dry Fertilizer and Seed Metering System
from a Melroe 202 drill
CDS John Blue Company drive wheel system by Dean Kovash, Steffes Corporation,
pounds per wheel
12 ply 14L x 16.1
design and manufacturing of the Drill Steffes Corporation,
Todd Mayer and Dean Kovash
Larry Kostelecky and Lyle Mayer
Western Malting Barley Initiative
ND Dry Pea and Lentil Association
CDS John Blue Company
JR Simplot Company
Pattison Liquid Systems Inc
Syngenta Crop Protection
The information given herein is for educational purposes only. Any
reference to commercial products or trade names is made with the understanding
that no discrimination is intended and no endorsement is implied by
the Dickinson Research Extension staff.