New product: Sharper, stronger blades for JD 50/60/90-series drills, available only from Exapta Solutions.
Exapta Solutions Inc. announces a major upgrade now available for the John Deere 50, 60, & 90-series no-till drills: Stronger, sharper blades. For these drills, the OEM & all other aftermarket blades have rather dull edges when new, and they only get duller with use, which hinders the cutting of straw and stalks—resulting in hairpinning, i.e., tucking the residue into the furrow with the seed sandwiched in the middle—as well as poor cutting of the soil itself. Attempting to overcome this requires more down-pressure and frame weight, sometimes a great deal more. To get at the heart of the problem—dull blades—Exapta commissioned Ingersoll-Canada to custom-build a blade to fit these drills, using Ingersoll’s proprietary, proven technology in steel formulation. The result is a boon to farmers with blades that are much sharper new, and stay sharper as they wear. Since the blades are a stronger steel, they actually are less susceptible to breakage in rocks.
Longtime agronomy consultant and Exapta founder, Matt Hagny, says, “We’ve always fought to get the Deere no-till drills to cut residue adequately. Hairpinning of straw and stalks has been a weakness for them. I’m surprised no one has tackled this problem with sharper blades thus far. Fortunately, the folks at Ingersoll were receptive, and we got it done. I’m looking forward to seeing a lot less hairpinning in my clients’ fields, and less overall down-pressure being needed to cut both straw and soil.”
Leah Lanie, Sales Manager for Exapta, comments, “Blade dullness on these drills is a big issue, especially if straw is damp.”
The blades are available through Exapta for $36.23 ea. Dimensions are identical to OEM.
New product: Mojo Wire for Keetons on grain drills.
Exapta is also expanding its highly successful Mojo Wire product line to include all current Keeton models for grain drills. Most grain drills lack an OEM in-furrow seed-firming (“seed-lock”) mechanism to apply a small but consistent pressure directly onto the seed at the seed’s location in the bottom of the furrow. Instead, these drills use trailing packer or ‘press’ wheels that run on the soil surface to try to compress all the soil above the seed to obtain sufficient seed/soil contact. These are problematic in the more structured soils of no-till cropping, and often result in subpar emergence if it doesn’t rain right away. Hence, many farmers install Keetons on these drills, which help, but often don’t have enough pressure. Exapta’s Mojo Wire solves this problem by applying 2x to 5x more pressure onto the Keeton.
Hagny says, “We’ve had a number of requests for these, and some farmers and dealers were modifying our Mojos for planters to fit the drill Keetons. We thought we’d make it easier for them. For the drills that lack a firming device running in the seed furrow, these are a big plus in getting good emergence.”
The Mojo Wires fit all of the 2-piece Keeton models (the only style sold in recent years) are now available through Exapta for $7 ea. This style of Keeton & Mojo will fit most Sunflower, Crustbuster, Great Plains, Marliss and certain other double-disc drills. These also fit the new Case-IH Precision 500 / New Holland P2800-series drills using a steel bracket ($10.75) available only from Exapta.
Educational Effort: DVD, No-till Seeding Explained
Farmers will now be able to get even more from their planters & drills with a completely ‘rebuilt’ 3rd edition of Exapta’s highly acclaimed DVD, No-till Seeding Explained—revised and expanded to account for new technology and products that have come onto the seeder market in the past 5 years. The information-packed 2-hour video vividly shows the discrete actions necessary for highly effective seed placement in no-till (or stale-seedbed) conditions, while explaining seeder components and their effects—all in a candid and approachable style, with narration by Ken Root.
Matt Hagny, founder of Exapta and longtime independent crop consultant for no-till cropping systems, originally decided to put together this DVD in 2007 (’08 edition) to assist producers in their quest to better understand no-till planting. Hagny says, “Establishing a vigorous stand of healthy plants in no-till—with seedlings emerging and growing at the same rate as neighboring seedlings—shouldn’t be seen as mysterious, or random luck. In fact, it’s actually quite a bit more consistent than in tilled seedbeds, since crusting is eliminated. But good no-till results, year after year, only happen for the farmers who mind their Ps and Qs—mechanically, planting in no-till is very different from planting into a tilled seedbed.”
He explains, “All the seeding equipment built in recent centuries–including almost all of what has been built in the last 25 years in North America–and all the knowledge handed down from one generation of farmers to the next, has assumed a tilled seedbed—soils that had been loosened and dried with considerable tillage. The planter or drill opener went into the tilled soil relatively easily, and repacking the soil in all directions from the seed was generally beneficial. Neither is true in no-till, which requires some unlearning.”
Exapta’s 2014 edition of the DVD provides no-tillers with greater access to Hagny’s distillation of many hundreds of hours of careful field observation and research. Hagny’s primary occupation for the past 20 years has been as an (independent, unaffiliated) agronomy consultant for no-till systems.
The DVD looks at the hard evidence as to the importance of uniform emergence timing versus uniform seed spacing―in other words, why neglecting placement (as opposed to spacing) can be so costly. The DVD includes a detailed narrative and visuals to guide the viewer through everything from off-season overhauls, to important upgrades for planters and drills (and the regions, soils, and other factors dictating the benefits and trade-offs of each item), to exact step-by-step adjustments of seeders in the field. Also included are many agronomic discussions of seed germination requirements, seedling growth habits of broadleaf and grass crops, as well as the reasons for using or not using pop-up and/or side-band fertilizer placement, plus actual footage of Hagny excavating seeds in furrows of both planters and drills, and discussion of what highly effective seed placement looks like.
Hagny says the DVD examines no-till seeding in the broadest possible terms, so that no-tillers from around the world will benefit—and in fact, the DVD’s previous editions have met with high praise from top-notch farmers (and engineers, and cropping system scientists) in Australia, New Zealand, Europe, and South America. The kudos arrive from farmers with an incredible variety of seeding tools. Kevin Love, farmer at Hazlet, Saskatchewan, who still runs a shank-type drill a
lthough he’s looking to move into a disc-opener drill, remarks: “Regardless of the color of no-till equipment being ran, there are core principles of seed establishment that are clearly articulated in this outstanding, in-depth video. . . . It is pretty obvious to me watching the DVD that the observations that you share in the video are the result of a lot of crawling around in the dirt—seeing what works and what doesn’t work.” Eddie Hoff, who farms near Boonville, MO, says, “I’ve watched the Exapta video at least 4 times—I review it every year. It’s by far the very best no-till seeding video I’ve ever seen.”
The video has 6 chapters for easy navigation between segments on planters vs drills, setup vs adjustment, and why seed placement is important. The DVD comes with printed step-by-step guidelines for adjusting planters and drills in the field. Price is $65 (S/H included) each for shipments in the U.S. & Canada (overseas: additional S/H may apply) 785.820.8000, or www.exapta.com. An excerpt from the DVD is [will soon be] available on Exapta’s website. The DVD is educational, with only the occasional mention of Exapta hardware for certain scenarios.
Exapta Solutions, makers of the Thompson wheel, Valion seed-tube guards, and the 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 necessity-driven innovation of many farmers & researchers to find solutions for high-performance planting and production. www.exapta.com