Once again, Morris Industries had new features on display this year at Canada’s Farm Progress Show to entice visitors into its display. But seeing a plastic seed opener on the updated C2 Contour drill shank might have been an unexpected sight for many of those who stopped by.
The injected polymer material on Morris’ new opener, however, offers some significant improvements over the cast iron version it replaces, according to the company’s marketing reps.
“We’ve worked on these for four years now,” says Garth Massie, Morris’ corporate agronomist. “It’s a type of plastic that’s fairly malleable, so for stones, if there’s an impact, it will take some blows without shattering. It’s kind of an interesting material we’re getting from a company in Germany.”
In field trials over the past four years, the new polymer stood up extremely well, proving it can easily compete with the previous cast iron type when it comes to durability, explains Massie. “We found these boots run in the shadow of the shovel so they don’t really wear,” he says. “So we weren’t too concerned (about wear). On our own drill at the farm we’ve had them on for four years. You wouldn’t really be able to tell them from new. There isn’t really any wear on them.”
Using this new material allowed engineers to improve overall performance of both the opener and the shank. One significant advantage is the polymer is less prone to dust and debris buildup from fertilizer in damp conditions.
“One of the things we learned along the way, with the cast (opener) in these high humidity years if you combine that with some iffy quality fertilizer, dust will gradually build-up on the inside. With these, because of the material, they don’t get a buildup.”
And the polymer openers are more compact, making them shorter and a little narrower than the cast iron type, which helps improve soil flow around the shank.
“They’re quite a bit lighter,” explains Massie. “The cast one is quite a bit longer, it’s about nine inches, and this one is only six. So there is less surface area for soil to stick to. And if you look at the profile, this is 1-1/8 inch wide and the cast is 1-1/2. Soil flow is going to be better around these openers, because they are narrower. You don’t want to have any soil pushed to the outside. That normally determines how fast you go, because you don’t want to cover any adjacent furrows. Hopefully, these will be a little more forgiving, because they’re narrower.
The polymer openers are designed to accommodate granular, liquid and anhydrous ammonia fertilizer types. And because the new openers do a better job of closing the seed trench, Massie notes there is less ammonia smell and off gassing when using anhydrous.
“As far as agronomic performance, fertilizer and seed separation, we really made sure we maintained that level of performance that was always a hallmark of that particular opener,” he continues.
The opener shank itself also gets an update, which includes the additional of nearly a third more hardened carbide parts to help reduce wear on the metal and improve longevity.
“The plastic material is quite a cost saving,” says Massie. “There are two main savings in this design. First you won’t need those mud guards. Those are costly. And this (polymer) material is quite a bit less than cast. But because we’ve introduced almost a third more carbide, that’s basically eaten up any cost advantage. We’re thinking they’re going to be quite similar in cost (to the previous design), but they should last considerably longer. I’m thinking on our own farm it should double the wear life, but I don’t know if that will be true for everybody.”
Also on display at this year’s show was the Razr coulter drill Morris launched last year. But for 2015, it too gets an opener update. When the company first introduced the Razor it was available only in a single-shoot configuration. Company executives, however, acknowledge that really only appeals to a small segment of the marketplace. So this year, the Razr drill on display in Regina sported a new double-shoot option.
The Razr can now place fertilizer between seed rows with the addition of a row of dedicated openers. The fertilizer openers are exactly the same as the seed openers which allows for commonality of parts, and the fertilizer coulters can be locked up to revert to a single-shoot application if desired.