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Low-disturbance NH3 Openers

Agriculture.com Staff 07/28/2009 @ 11:50am

One thing that dampens the enthusiasm of no-tillers is the need to use more expensive liquid or dry nitrogen. Lower-priced NH3 involves tillage, and ardent no-tillers are reluctant to gouge into cherished soil structure with a shank. But now, low-disturbance single-disc openers can cut a fine line between high ideals and low costs.

"No-tillers like the single-disc openers because the openers slide through the soil to place NH3 with minimal disturbance, so surface residue is left in place," says Craig Rife, regional representative for Exactrix Systems, Hutchinson, Kansas.

Rife says there are more benefits. "There's less than one third the draft of a shank, so you can drive faster to get more done with a smaller unit so transport is also easier. And, corn growers can begin sidedressing earlier."

Avoiding the loss of NH3 because of the relatively shallow placement is critical. This prompts some users to add high-pressure NH3 equipment like aNH3’s Equaply or the Exactrix system. Those systems enable high-speed application in cold weather, when tank pressures are low. The systems divide NH3 evenly between rows, can prevent freezing at the coulter, and may make the NH3 release point less critical by actually injecting NH3 below the coulter.

"The fine points of NH3 application vary with soil conditions. But pressurized systems allow us to do things that a standard heat exchanger setup won’t allow," says Joe Bassett, director of operations at Dawn Equipment, Sycamore, Illinois.

One thing that dampens the enthusiasm of no-tillers is the need to use more expensive liquid or dry nitrogen. Lower-priced NH3 involves tillage, and ardent no-tillers are reluctant to gouge into cherished soil structure with a shank. But now, low-disturbance single-disc openers can cut a fine line between high ideals and low costs.

One of the first single-disc openers to be used for NH3 was the Mid Row Bander (MRB) from Bourgault Industries of St. Brieux, Saskatchewan, and Minot, North Dakota. MRB units are being used with and without the aid of NH3 delivery systems from Exactrix and aNH3. The units are widely used to apply NH3 while planting in direct-seed operations. Many growers have also used individual coulter units (available for $1,215) to build their own applicator bars and row-crop sidedress fertilizer rigs. The unit features a 20-inch-diameter coulter that slices a narrow path for a combo boot that allows the use of dry, liquid, or NH3 forms of nitrogen without a time-consuming changeover. An optional tightly coupled closing wheel seals the slot to prevent the loss of NH3. Other features include quick depth adjustment, a heavy-duty hub, and a pivoting coulter arm.

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Make

Description

Price

Bourgault Industries

Mid Row Banders are used widely in Canada and the northern U.S. on air seeders to apply NH3 in direct seeding. Row-crop farmers are using the units on toolbars for preplant and sidedress application.

$1,215
701/852-8800
agriculture.com/go/6575

Case IH

The SDX opener features a large-diameter 22.5-inch blade, which allows deeper NH3 placement to reduce escape. Openers may be difficult to obtain as individual units.

Units not sold separately –
see dealer
agriculture.com/go/6576

Dawn Equipment

The Model 3004 fertilizer coulter was designed to apply NH3 on a no-till planter, but some growers are using the unit on toolbars for preplant and sidedress applications.

$1,386
800/554-0007
agriculture.com/go/6577

Dutch Industries

Dutch Industries of Pilot Butte, Saskatchewan, produces a single-disc no-till NH3 coulter, though it’s not distributed widely. The unit’s 18-inch, compound-angle coulter is sold with a packer wheel.

$1,600
306/781-4820
agriculture.com/go/6578

John Deere

John Deere’s stable of low-disturbance NH3 tools includes the 2510H Nutrient Applicator and the SFP 1895 air drill. Innovators have also used 90 Series no-till openers with an NH3 injection system.

Units not sold separately –
see dealer
agriculture.com/go/6579

Wako, Inc.

The No-Till Offset opener features a massive 24-inch-diameter blade able to place NH3 up to 8 inches deep. Use is spreading from wheat growers in Oklahoma and Kansas to the Corn Belt.

 

$930
580/234-3434
agriculture.com/go/6580

Yetter Manufacturing

Yetter’s 2987 Magnum fertilizer coulter is a popular choice for equipping sidedress toolbars. Low soil disturbance allows application to begin earlier without damage to the young crop.

 

$1,400
800/447-5777
agriculture.com/go/6581

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