Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Minimum Till Disc Seeding

Seeding Last Year (2013)
Seeding This Year 2014

Last Year

What a difference a year makes. You can clearly see how much more organic matter is left within the soil when using a disc seeder compared to our old tyne machine in 2013.

So all this stubble left in place helps bind the soil together and retains moisture so our reliance over time on timely rains won't be as great.It just looks so different, it's amazing.

This Year

This is the goal, the stubble retention, the water retention, better quality crops and higher yields, but it does come at a cost. 
Setting up the rig itself costs dollars but in order to pull this thing, we are using a lot more Diesel. 
But you've got to take the good with the bad.

The whole rig in action.

The CAT track tractor, John Deere Air Seeder Hopper and the Cross Slot Disc Seeder with liquid tanks mounted on top.

A lot of our ground is quite rocky with some limestone ridges. We've had a couple of small breakages on the really rough ground but haven't broken a disc. Touch wood!

Normally, after we have sown the seed, we then scoot over the ground with the stone roller to flatten all the rocks back into the ground so that they don't damage our wind rowing and harvesting equipment when it comes time to windrow and reap the crop.

Basically, we'll be retiring the 'stone roller' now as we just don't need to use it anymore. The disc doesn't pull the rocks out like a tyne seeder does.

I had to really strain my eyes to be sure what part of the paddock hubby had already sown and which was last years stubble lines.

 Turning the rig seems to be going fine.

Tuesday, 13 May 2014

Cross Slot is up an running

Well! We are finally seeding, Fu__ing yeehaa!

I've been learning quite a bit about this fandangled machine of late, although my mechanical brain is more suited to computers, but I'm trying to get my head around it all.

My photos today have been labelled with the help of my husband as I, unfortunately, have absolutely no idea how this all works.

Just to make the season more complicated, instead of just changing our seeder to a Cross Slot, the boys decided to go one better and fit a 'liquid system' as well.

This is a right hand medium blade with the liquid fertiliser tube fitted and plumbed (see the black and purple tube)

The blade is then fitted onto the tool bar


The small oval shaped tanks at the front are called accumulators, they control hydraulic oil pressures 


From 'Liquid Systems', an EVI Spiker System (low dose pump) mounted on side of Cross Slot (the grey box with the yellow signage)

The 3 tanks are from 'Rapid Spray'. They contain the following liquids:
  • Back tank contains 2500L of liquid fertiliser
  • Middle tank contains 500L of clean water
  • Front tank contains 500L of trace elements - copper, zinc, manganese 

The hoses on this Octopussy looking thing are from the John Deere Air Kit. The green hoses are for grain and the black hoses are for granular fertiliser.


The black hoses coming down from off the top tank are the 'fill hoses' for the Rapid Spray liquid tanks. These run the liquid fertilisers and trace elements.

Hoses running to the disc - green hose for seed, black hose for fertiliser, going down to one of the blades on each side of the disc

The thin black hose is the liquid line - i.e. fertiliser and trace elements. 
It is placed with granular fertiliser, horizontally 20mm from the seed.

John Deere Air Cart hydraulic hoses.
These control functions like folding, disc up and down, hydraulic pressure for the disc, liquid pump flow.
We ordered 2 extra hydraulic banks to make the JD compatible with the Cross Slot

Liquid line feeding down into fertiliser blade (black tube with yellow stripe)

Same again. The small red 'thing' between the white and black is the line restrictor, which controls the flow of the liquid fertiliser.

The black and yellow valve is a check valve, or a non drip valve, it stops it from dripping when it's not running

Hose and plumbing kit. Heavy hose held up with chain to keep things tidy and folds up without hitting the tyres.

Secondary distribution tower with head blockage kit on top (looks like a flying saucer). 

These tell the tractor driver when there is grain and fertiliser moving through the hoses.

So that's the jist of it so far. I'll be taking some happy snaps of the whole rig in action this week so will post them next.

My husband has spent several years nutting this out and has had some great assistance from the following companies, so thank you to:
  • Scott Siviour, John Baker, Brian Sefton and Bill Ritchie from Cross Slot who have basically custom made this machine to what we wanted and have provided exceptional back up support to us
  • Don Pemberton from Rapid Spray for the tanks
  • Peter Burgess from Liquid Systems for the liquid fertiliser set up
  • Raycol for the brackets and brake away couplings
  • And of course John Deere, although I think you've got some customer service competition guys so may be time to pick up your socks!