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Slick No-Till Modifications

Like all no-tillers, Northwest no-tillers have to come up with their own modifications for their climate. Here’s some of the best.

Modifying Equipment for specific regional needs seems to go without saying for no-tillers. While the dry, climate of Eastern Washington offers no-tillers a longer growing season, it also houses plenty of hills and requires specific planter needs and often irrigation.

Dwayne Blankenship, Pullman, Wash.

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Terrain: Predominately long ridges with upper slopes in the 40 to 45 percent range.

Soil Type: “The soil is mainly Walla Walla silt loam in the hills, breaking out onto a shallower and somewhat sandier bench on the eastern edge of the farm. We call 10- to 12-inches of precipitation normal with the typical rotation in the area being wheat-fallow.

Rationale: “It’s been 20 years since I began putting together the design for the first drill. My opinion then and still is that a direct seeding machine is first and foremost a fertilizer placement machine. With that in mind and considering our steep terrain, hillside stability and tracking became my main design focus.

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Modifications: “Carrying seed and material for multiple fertilizer inputs add up to a lot of weight. To make the weight work for the drill instead of against it, I moved the bulk of it as far forward as possible. The liquid tanks are carried on the front of the tractor to balance the load. The ammonia tanks are carried on the hitch between the tractor and the drill.

“The front of the hitch is carried by the tractor, but the rear reaches under the drill frame to a point in line with the…

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