Gordon Sharp of Riceton, Sask. and Henning Wubbe of La Riviere, Man. have completely different soil conditions, but both say any tool that can keep mud from building up on packer wheels at seeding is almost worth its weight in gold.
Both grain and oilseed producers have become solid believers in the Devloo Roto Mud Scapers they attached to their respective seeding systems over the past couple years. The scrapers, developed about four years ago by Manitoba farmer Mark Devloo, can make the difference between whether these farmers can seed or have to wait two or three days for conditions to dry out.
“I have been really impressed with how well the scrapers have worked,” says Sharp, who farms on soil commonly referred to as Regina gumbo, just southeast of the provincial capital. “I had people tell me that no scraper would work in these soils, but these roto scrapers do a great job of keeping the wheels clean.”
In southern Manitoba, Henning Wubbe crops about 4,200 acres of mostly sandy-clay type soil. With the right or wrong conditions, depending on perspective, he says it wasn’t uncommon for mud build up on the air drill tires to lift the whole machine out of the ground. “And you can imagine what impact that has on seed placement,” says Wubbe. “I have been really happy with these scrapers. Even when conditions were a bit wet, as long as we could go with the tractor we could seed the crop and keep the seed where we wanted it.”
Devloo who himself farms with family members at Somerset, Manitoba says being able to keep the packer wheels free of mud allows him to be seeding at least two or three days earlier and that translates into being able to harvest crops earlier too.
“We like to be seeding as early as we can in the spring,” says Devloo, who developed the scrapers initially to cope with his own field conditions. “And it is not even the real wet conditions that are the problem. The problem develops on fields that may appear dry on top but as soon as you disturb that you expose this half wet, sticky type of soil that just clings to the wheels. So I wanted some simple, low maintenance scraper that could keep mud off the wheels.”
Working with an idea originally suggested by his dad, Jerry Devloo, Mark got busy designing and testing different prototypes. It took some trial and error with on-farm research and development, but he finally came up with this cup-shaped scraper that can be mounted just above the packer wheels. The scrapers not only allow him to be on fields sooner, but he says at harvest having that few days of earlier crop maturity also help him to beat the fall frost.
The Devloo Roto Mud Scraper was something he developed for his own John Deere 730 cultivator for seeding, but recognizing other farmers could use it too, he has gone on during the past 18 months to sell about 15,000 of the scrapers across Western Canada and even into Australia and New Zealand. The invention that has won innovation awards at Canada’s Farm Progress Show in Regina,Sask.; Manitoba Ag Days in Brandon,Man.; as well as the Agri-Trade Show in Red Deer, Alta. was introduced to European farmers at the world’s largest Agritechnica Farm Show in Germany in late 2013.
Devloo realized there were rigid bar-type mud scrapers on the market but he wanted something different that had less wear. He came up with this cup or cone-shaped scraper, with a bearing on top. With a simple bracket it can be mounted just above the packer wheel.
“The idea is to have the cup mounted about a quarter inch above the wheel and just off to the side,” says Devloo. “And the cup can turn. It doesn’t move unless it comes in contact with mud on the wheel, but as soon as it does it turns and because it’s using the full circumference edge of the cup there is a lot less friction and less wear. A lot of these scrapers have been used two or three years and they still have the original paint.”
The roto scraper will work on any packer wheel and Devloo has designed a wide range of brackets that work with almost any make and model of drill. The scraper itself is laser cut from 1023 carbon steel, with a durable NTN 6203 motor grade bearing. And as Henning Wubbe discovered any problem is quickly corrected.
He tried the Devloo scrapers for the first time in the spring of 2013 on a new John Deere 1830 hoe drill. That drill came equipped with bar type scrapers over the packer wheels. On a previous drill he had built his own bar scrapers to keep mud off the wheels that carried the main frame of the drill. He wanted to give the roto scapers a try on the new drill.
From the Country Guide website: A good idea goes to market
“The first brackets we tried were a bit difficult to install and then we found the bracket itself was causing a problem with mud, so we contacted Devloo and explained the problem,” says Wubbe. “Within about two hours he was at the farm with a different style of bracket and that worked fine. As it happened we had a rain delay for a couple days, and before we started again Devloo was back to the farm with a complete set of brackets that were quickly installed and we were able to get going. That was pretty good customer service.”
Gordon Sharp, who crops about 4,500 acres of wheat, canola and lentils, bought one of the first set of roto scrapers in 2011. He is using a K-Hart double disc drill with packer wheels. “We had three or four wet years starting in 2010,” says Sharp. “When that gumbo gets sticky it just plugs everything up, so we just had to quit and wait for the fields to dry.”
“I think we bought only the second set of these scrapers and there were no mounting brackets available at the time, so we made our own,” he says. “We actually took one of the packer wheel assemblies off and mounted it on a quad and then tried some different brackets designs until found one that worked, and we ran that quad through every wet spot we could find, and the scraper worked fine.”
With the scrapers mounted on the K-Hart drill he’s able to operate even under sticky soil conditions without mud balling up on the tires and without pulling the openers or seed back out of the ground. “The scrapers keep the mud off the packer wheels and so far they show no sign of wear,” says Sharp. “And we’re able to be out seeding two or three days earlier than we would without scrapers.”
Devloo says the scrapers will work with virtually all makes and models of seeding equipment. He has a wide range of mounting brackets, and brackets can be custom made to fit specific situations. For more information on the Devloo Roto Mud Scrapers visit the product website at: rotomudscrapers.com.
Lee Hart is a field editor for Grainews in Calgary. Contact him at 403-592-1964 or by email at [email protected].