5 Indy-Link Openers Compare D

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cylinders rather than many independent opener cylinders.

On an 1870, fertilizer knife depth across the entire drill is set with the frame, while seed opener depth is adjusted by sliding the opener up or down on each individual row. The Conserva Pak linkage grips the seed opener on all four sides at the adjusted depth position, eliminating the need for pin and hole adjustment systems, which can wear over time. This also makes it possible to independently vary seed and fertilizer placement depths.

“(The Conserva Pak) has been in development for over 25 years,” says Grove. And, he adds, the company is confident all that experience has led to the development of a design that is capable of handling a very wide range of soil and moisture conditions.

Deere offers the Conserva Pak drill in 40-and 56-foot implement widths. Shank spacing is 12 inches, and both single and paired-row seed openers are available. A variety of fertilizer openers are available for dry, liquid, anhydrous or any combination of application methods.

A detailed look at the 1870 Conserva Pak is available online at www.deere.com.

MORRIS

Morris’s Contour independent opener uses a parallelogram linkage to maintain a constant opener angle relative to the soil and constant opener depth in relation to the packer It does this with four pivot points separate from the hydraulic cylinder. This allows for 43.2 cm (17 inches) of up and down contour travel without affecting the opener angle. “The chief benefit of this design is that the depth control remains very accurate regardless of the terrain the opener travels over,” says Garth Massie of Morris Industries.

You can set opener depth manually by adjusting a notched cam and pin system. That allows for seeding depths from half an inch to two inches, adjustable in quarter-inch increments. You can make these adjustments without lifting the whole opener link arm, which can be surprisingly heavy on some brands.

The Morris system uses a hydraulic accumulator to control fluid flow for the openers. This passive system eliminates the need for continuous oil flow. “(It) reduces hydraulic pump requirements for the tractor typically by five to 10 gallons per minute,” says Massie. Pressure can be adjusted from the tractor cab and monitored on a digital display. Trip-out force can be set from 45.3 kg (100 pounds) to 226.8 kg (500 pounds), and the packing force increases proportionally from 31.7 kg (70 pounds) to a maximum of 77.1 kg (170 pounds).

The Morris drill is a single-shank design which, the company claims, gives it lower draft requirements than dual-opener types; that translates into fuel savings and helps minimize trash-clearance problems.

Morris offers a variety of opener tip styles: paired row, side band, narrow knife and spreader tip. With the paired-row opener, seed is placed first at 3.8 cm (1-1/2 inches) to each side then the fertilizer at two cm (3/4 inches) below the seed and down the middle.

The Morris Contour Drills will be available in 2009 with a three-frame configuration up to 14.3 m (47 feet) wide and a five-frame configuration to a maximum of 21.3 m (70 feet). Opener spacing options are 10 or 12 inches.

When it comes to durability, “The contour opener has several design elements that improve its stability and lifespan,” says Massie. Those include solid top and bottom pieces of the parallel linkage and mortise and tenon-style gusseting that prevent skewing during turns. The packer wheels have greaseable hubs — which are the only grease point on the opener — with twine guards and sealed bearings.

See www.morris-industries.com for full details on Morris products.

SEEDHAWK

Seedhawk’s independent link opener has what the company calls a Quick-Pin style adjustment feature. Basically, it allows for an adjustable depth setting using a gear and sprocket mechanism. “You don’t have to lift anything. The opener can be on the ground or in the air (when adjusting it). It doesn’t matter,”

says Pat Beaujot, Seedhawk’s president. The Quick Pin opener arm is made of 5/8-inch by 3-1/2-inch steel for extra strength.

The opener itself uses a two-knife design that has the seed knife behind the fertilizer knife and just ahead of the packer/ gauge wheel. The fertilizer knife is only 3.8 cm (1/2-inch) wide for minimum soil disturbance, and fertilizer and seed depth can be independently adjusted. “The two-knife system always gives proper separation of seed and fertilizer, especially in poor conditions,” says Beaujot.

Two opener styles are available, the Twin Wing and single side band designs. The Twin Wing design places seed in a paired row 7.62 cm (three inches) apart with fertilizer banded down the middle and two cm (3/4 inch)) deeper. The single side band design places one seed row four cm (1.5 inches) to one side of the fertilizer.

The company offers 10-and 12-inch spacing options with a limited number of 15-inch machines designed to accommodate the twin-wing opener, which results in a 12-inch seed-row spacing.

When it’s out of the ground, the Seedhawk design has plenty of clearance. “We have 14 inches of ground clearance with a minimum cylinder stroke. The speed it lifts is quicker, which eliminates the need for accumulators,” says Beaujot.

Beaujot says Seedhawk’s independently linked opener design has been in development and production for 16 years now. That has allowed them to fine-tune it’s performance. One example of that is the move to rubber drop tubes, which the company found eliminated plugging problems in wet conditions. Rubber packer wheels are also used. Rubber allows the wheel to flex and release mud buildup without a scraper. But a scraper is available for wheels following the Twin Wing opener, due to the increased soil disturbance and the greater risk of accumulations.

Seedhawk also has an optional moveable frame design that keeps the openers between the existing stubble rows. Using a paddle sensor to detect the previous year’s stubble, the seeder’s frame location is adjusted laterally by hydraulic cylinders to keep the openers correctly aligned with the existing stubble. Seedhawk calls it Seed Between the Rows (SBR) technology. As well, the company offers their Sectional Control Technology to minimize input costs and avoid unnecessary overlap of seed and fertilizer where part of the drill has to travel over previously seeded areas.

For more information go to www.seedhawk.com.

SEEDMASTER

Seedmaster’s original independent link opener system has been on the market since before 1992, which means the design has plenty of acres of field experience under its belt. “It was designed from a ground-up approach from a seed-placement perspective,” says Cory Beaujot, marketing manager for Seedmaster.

This opener uses a dual knife system. The forward knife places fertilizer, while the rear places the seed. Keeping the seed-placement knife close to the packer wheel, which acts as a depth gauge, makes for more precise seed placement according to Beaujot.

The system is factory set to place seed at a depth of 3/4 inch, but can be adjusted to settings between 1/4-inch and two inches. This gives the system flexibility to seed forages or seed down into moisture in extremely dry conditions. But Seedmaster recommends sticking with the factory setting for most applications.

The Seedmaster is capable of handling a wide variety of seed sizes from canola and forages to corn and soybeans.

To improve residue flow around the openers, the first knife has a standard deflector shield to minimize trash problems. Seedmaster’s Smart Hitch option keeps the openers between the previous year’s stubble rows to further minimize clearance problems.

For about $2,000, a packing-force sensor option gives the operator a real-time readout of downforce. The operator can manually adjust the pressure to maintain a consistent 45.3 to 54.4 kg (100 to 120 pound) rate on the go, right from the cab. For 2009, Seedmaster expects to offer an automated version of this system, which can adjust down force without operator input.

Seedmaster claims the unique shape of their carbide openers gives them one of the longest lives of any on the market (about 15,000 acres for the fertilizer and 30,000 for the seed knife) and minimizes draft requirements. The packer wheel has sealed bearings and a twine and mud guard to protect the hub from damage.

Seedmaster builds drills up to 90-feet in width. See www.seed-master.ca for more details.

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