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Cuts like a knife? Opener Blades

If there is one part that doesn’t get replaced as often as it should, it’s the openers. When you decide to get “another season” out of your blades there are other key parts of the planting process that are affected. 


“When do you change the blade on your utility knife?” The common answer is, “When it gets dull.” In No-till, the same answer applies to opener blades on planters and drills.

On planters this means replacing blades before they get to 14.5″ diameter. As blades wear, they not only loose their bevel, they also get thinner. This causes the blade to flex more as it runs through the ground. If your seed tube guard is less than ¾” wide and you have blades that are close to 14.5″ you will have too much blade flex. This causes a narrow furrow, in which the seed might not reach the bottom. A furrow that’s not wide enough also won’t allow the Keeton to stay in the furrow to firm the seed. This isn’t even considering that you were able to cut through residue and form a furrow in the first place.  

This blade is completely shot–hardly any bevel remains (it was 18.0″ new). This is with just under 3/8″ gone from the radius. When the bevel is only 3/4″ new, it doesn’t take much wear to make them super-dull.

The same thing happens on drills as well. A worn blade affects other steps after the furrow is formed. If your opener blades on your drill are close to 17.5″ at the start of the season you can pre-maturely wear the seed boot (a much more expensive item to replace!) This is because as you lose diameter the seed boot gets deeper into the furrow. Blade flex is still an issue here as well, a thin blade will not hold the 7° angle it needs to create a wide enough furrow. 

To summarize the opener blades are extremely important in doing a good job at seed placement and getting uniform emergence. Avoid looking at the blade as just one part and visualize all the steps after that it will affect. Exapta sells the Forges De Niaux blades for planters and for drills, which we have had very good luck with. Growers are reporting 20-30% longer life and blades staying sharper longer. This longer life can mean the difference between just barely getting by towards the end of planting versus still doing an excellent job on all your acres. 

Chris Horton

Chris Horton brings 25 years of management with him. He grew up on his grandparents farm in Reno County Kansas where they mainly grew wheat and cattle feed. He worked on feed lots as a pen rider and cow-calf operations before moving to Southern California where Chris started a new career in the transportation and transport logistics, eventually managing the western region for a large commercial vehicle leasing company. Chris moved home to Kansas, to manage a local Farmers Coop and then eventually the service dept for a tractor dealership. The opportunity to join the Exapta team came up, and he knew he wanted to be a part of this team.

Bob Pagel

Sales & Service Representative

Prior to joining Exapta, Bob Pagel was an Agricultural Territory Sales Manager for Ritchie Brothers, serving parts of MN, WI and IA. He continues to support his family farm in SE Minnesota

Jon Zeller

Current Product Engineer

Jonathan Zeller joined Exapta excited to return to working with no-till planting equipment. He supported research of no-till planting and other ag related projects for 7 years with Kansas State University’s Agricultural Engineering Department after getting his engineering degree. He later worked 3 years for Landoll Company, LLC. where he gained experience in a design engineering role. Jonathan grew up on a small family farm in NE Kansas working with row crops, hay and cattle. Jonathan enjoys solving engineering problems and improving or creating products to be robust and easy to install and service.