New product: Lifetime durability with premium Valion™ Ultra seed-tube guards for all John Deere planters and Kinze 2000-series. Already the new benchmark for durability, Exapta takes the Valion to the ultimate with tungsten carbide inlays on the Valion Ultra.
New product: original Valion (chrome) guards for Kinze 3000-series planters.
Exapta Solutions, Inc. announces the addition of two models of Valion™ Ultra to their line-up of extremely durable seed-tube guards for Deere XP & pre-XP, and Kinze 2000s. These Valion Ultras with tungsten carbide inlays, and the entire guard zinc plated, will be available for purchase by late Dec. 2013. Valions (VAL-yon) prevent opener blade flex, which is the only way of obtaining consistent seed depth in firm soils – otherwise, blades allowed to flex inward by worn OEM guards result in furrows that are pinched and variable in effective depth. Valions extend no deeper than OEM guards, so there’s no danger of smearing the bottom of the furrow. Instead, Valions create uniform depth by halting blade flex. This uniformity of depth is a major ingredient in getting all the seedlings to emerge at the same time and continue to grow at the same pace, which is the cornerstone for top yields.
Following a successful introduction of the Valions in 2012, the company has been testing guards made of heat-treated cast steel, but with tungsten carbide inlays in the lower edges that take the brunt of wear from the blades flexing hard against the guard. Longtime agronomy consultant and Exapta founder, Matt Hagny, says, “The original Valions are lasting about two-and-a-half to 4 times longer than OEM guards. While that’s a huge improvement, we thought we could do even better. So we kept trying, and the tungsten carbide inlays of the Valion Ultras have passed extensive testing this past spring on planters across the U.S. I think farmers deserve the option of something that will last essentially the lifetime of the planter, without the hassle of constantly replacing softer OEM guards to keep the planter working correctly.”
Hagny steps back to explain why this planter part is so important: “What is generally referred to as a ‘seed tube guard’ – the cast piece that hangs down between the opener blades, just ahead of the seed tube itself – would be more appropriately called a ‘blade flex guard,’ since it’s a crucial element in getting the planter to perform day after day without alteration of the furrow shape.” Hagny continues, “Pinched furrows have been a longstanding problem. We’ve been pointing this out for over a decade— as unbiased observers without any financial stake. There was a definite need for more durable seedtube guards. Now, we’ve developed products that prevent opener blade flex over a much greater Exapta Solutions, Inc Phone: 785-820-8000 firstname.lastname@example.org (Leah Lanie, Sales Mgr) PO Box 952 • Salina, KS 67402 lifespan, thus creating a properly shaped furrow that’s consistently wide enough to get the seeds to the bottom of it, which gives farmers more planting depth control.”
While intended to limit opener blade flex, standard OEM seed tube guards can wear substantially in just a few hours of use due to their construction from mild cast iron, and small wear surface. In all but the mellowest of tilled soils, the seed tube guard is a crucial part of the furrow-forming process by preventing the pliable opener blades from being compressed together by the soil’s resilience (structure, and/or crusting). The consequence is a furrow that’s pinched at the bottom, sometimes no thicker than a credit card, and far too narrow to get a corn, soybean, cotton, or sunflower seed to a uniform depth – since the amount of blade flex (and the degree of pinching) varies every few feet as soil mellowness changes. This depth variation causes less uniformity in timing of emergence, and thus robs yield.
Hagny remarks, “Farmers are surprised that this piece of the planter is all that important. Yet if you sit on the back of the planter and watch, if it’s running Keetons, and the guards are worn, you can sit there and watch the effective depth of the furrow change as you go through the field – the top of the Keeton rises and falls in relation to the soil surface, which indicates that the seed depth is also changing, because the furrow is too pinched, and the amount of pinching continually varies in firm or moderately firm seedbeds. But on rows with new seed tube guards installed, the Keeton will run smoothly, and all the seeds will be at the same depth.”
Valions provide consistent performance from Day One of planting season, and not just weeks but years to come. Some farmers in tougher soils are known to rebuild their planter with new OEM guards midseason, but the Valion’s extreme durability eliminates this hassle during planting season—when days and hours are critical. Plus, the Valion’s internal channel can hold ¼” plastic tubing at the ideal location to deliver liquids to the seed furrow, and this capability means more versatility for farmers.
The new Valion Ultras are available for all Deere planters with XP cast row units ($63), and Deere pre-XP row units (JD 7000 thru early 1700-series) and Kinze 2000s ($68). The original Valions – high-chrome castings, but without the tungsten inlays — remain in Exapta’s product line-up for all of these planter models.
In another major product introduction, original-type chrome-alloy Valions for Kinze 3000s are now available (mid-Nov 2013) for $23.50 ea., but do not have liquid capability. Leah Lanie, Exapta’s Sales Manager, explains: “The Kinze 3000-series owners were begging us to develop something for them, since the Kinze 3000 guards not only wear quickly and are annoying to replace with their allen-bolts, but neglecting to replace them often enough results in destruction of the shank of the opener itself.”
Exapta Solutions, makers of the Thompson wheel and Mojo Wire, was founded by Matt Hagny in 1998, with the simple vision of providing better tools for no-till seeding. Hagny has been an independent crop consultant for no-till systems since ’94, and agronomy is still his passion. Exapta relies on the necessitydriven innovation of many farmers & researchers to find solutions for high-performance planting and production. www.exapta.com