The Final Act: Closing The Seed Slot

Field variability, tougher trash and growers’ early-planting ambitions drive improvements to planter closing wheels used in no-till fields.

When planting is done and crops begin to emerge, no-tillers have a chance to evaluate how well their planter has performed — including whether the unit’s closing wheels are doing the job closing the seed slot.

If closing wheels aren’t set up and adjusted properly or if no-tillers fail to account for changing field conditions, furrows can dry out and open back up or sidewall compaction can seal too tightly and cause delays in germination or emergence.

No-Till Farmer spoke to industry sources and experts about the evolution of closing-wheel technology, the pros and cons of various wheel setups and what questions no-tillers should ask if they’re planning to buy or switch out closing wheels.

Manufacturers also highlighted the features and competitive advantages of their best closing wheels for no-till practices.

A Bit Of History


When no-tilling began to take hold during the 1970s, planters available on the market were challenged to meet the needs of no-tillers. Most were designed for conventional farming with drier soils with far less trash, while no-tillers were dealing with more trash and higher moisture.

Some early-model planters were also tasked with doing seedbed firming and furrow closing in the same function.

“Allis Chalmers planters back then were trying to gauge the depth, close the furrow and provide seed-to-soil contact, all at the same time,” says Matt Hagny, lead engineer and owner of Exapta Solutions. “There needed to be an in-furrow closing device for no-till.”

Most planters only offered smooth, rubber-coated wheels that required high…

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John Dobberstein

John Dobberstein is senior editor of No-Till Farmer magazine and the e-newsletter Dryland No-TillerHe previously covered agriculture for the Tulsa World and worked for daily newspapers in Chicago, Milwaukee and St. Joseph, Mich. He graduated with a B.A. in journalism and political science from Central Michigan University.

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