Disc seeder the answer to tough soils

Jo FulwoodCountryman

It's a disc seeder with a difference.

Designed over a 30-year period by a Massey University scientist, the Cross Slot low-disturbance no-tillage seeder bar could be the answer to preserving microorganisms and carbon in Australian soils.

Manufactured in New Zealand, but suitable for large grain producing countries around the world including Australia, Canada and the US, the Cross Slot seeding system is commonly referred to as keyhole sowing.

The machine's inventor, John Baker, believes the improved yields as a result of his machine will speak volumes about its effectiveness. Some reports show an increase of up to 50 per cent in crop yields.

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The seeder bar works with a unique inverted T-blade, which is split in half, holding a disc in the centre.

WA and South Australian distributor Scott Siviour said the machine had the ability to cut through heavy residue, while at the same time ensuring low disturbance of the soil.

"This machine is unique in that it has the ability to penetrate those compacted soils," Mr Siviour said.

"The superweight of the machine is consumed through the disc and blades penetrating the soils."

The machine works by creating two side-by-side pockets, with seed deposited into one and fertiliser in the other.

Mr Siviour said the keyhole sowing technique allowed for the retention of microorganisms, humidity and soil carbon, translating into good crop establishment.

"The ultimate aim of any seeding machine is to ensure the retention of good soil structure," he said.

"This machine is the first of its kind, coupling low disturbance techniques with the weight and power of a disc bar."

The Cross Slot disc seed drill will be on display at the Dowerin GWN7 Machinery Field Days.

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