Proven No-Till Planter, Drill Modifications That Work

Four no-tillers let readers in on their best shop-tested equipment secrets.

Not content with using a plain, old no-till planter or drill, a panel of four innovative no-tillers at last January’s National No-Tillage Conference explained their best-kept secrets when it comes to modifying equipment.

From different types of wheels, to no-tilling more accurately at higher speeds, to the future of New Zealand’s cross-slot system in no-tilling corn, these panel members covered it all.

Erik Hayenga, Andover, S.D.

Hayenga no-tills corn, soybeans and spring wheat in his 9,000-acre farming operation. Every time he gets a new piece of equipment, he modifies it to get the most for his money. Through trial and error, Hayenga has come up with several ideas that work, and don’t work, on his no-tilling farm.

  • Forget about using firming wheels with a newer style John Deere air seeder, says Hayenga. While the wheels are supposed to travel in the furrow behind the seed and pack it into the bottom of a 3/4-inch wide trench, the 1 1/8-inch wheels do not accomplish that claim, according to Hayenga.

“We’ve documented that in wet conditions, the firming wheel will build up with enough mud that it will begin to rub on the gauge wheel, which runs immediately next to it,” explains Hayenga. “Because of the rubbing action of the gauge wheel, the firming wheel will counter rotate. It will actually turn in a reverse direction, pull seed out of the ground and destroy what little seedbed you’ve attempted to create.

“We’ve consistently seen better stands without the firming wheel than with…

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