Should You Buy A No-Till Air Drill

I'm considering buying a 42-foot John Deere 1850 no-till air drill with a 1900 cart, even though this rig seems so expensive with high maintenance! Since the 1860 drill offers some improvements, should I consider that model instead?

—Scott Arthaud,

We’re thinking about buying the same drill, but would like to use liquid fertilizer. Can this be done? Yetter used to make a coulter fertilizer injection system that would work, but I don’t think they offer it anymore.


If you want to put down fertilizer and use a disc opener on a no-till air seeder, the only options are probably the Flexi-Coil with double shoot Barton shoot openers or the Bourgault with mid-row banders. However, a few Great Plains no-till drills are setup to place liquid fertilizer behind the front Turbo coulter.

Double-shoot hoe openers are a simpler, less expensive option if you can live with added soil disturbance.

—John W.

You need to know if your tractor has open or closed center hydraulics before you make this decision. There’s a kit for each type of hydraulics that is easy to install.

The biggest drawbacks are fertilizer placement, the ability to no-till through large amounts of crop residue and effective seed placement.

Flexi-Coil drills equipped with the Barton opener are not effectively working through large amounts of crop residue in this area. After a number of years of no-tilling, the angled blades become worn and start pushing residue instead of cutting it.


I wonder about…

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