by Matt Hagny

Looks like it’s going to be a very soggy spring season for nearly all of North America —are you equipped to do a good job with seed installation in the mud? 

In handling wetter-than-desired conditions at seeding, Exapta has the experience and products to get the job done the best way possible—we focus on this a lot with our R&D. First, we simply need to make the Deere 50/60/90/Pro-series drills able to go thru the mud without balling up, and our DuraLok seed lock wheels give you that advantage. And always—wet or dry—the DuraLok gives you superior seed firming, unlike wider seed-lock wheels, or ones that run on a large rigid rim (ours is the narrowest on the market—because that’s what performs best, wet or dry). As the name implies, these are built to last an incredibly long time, since urethane wears so slowly compared to softer rubber (neoprene) compounds, and it won’t pull out of the hub. The DuraLok’s narrowness also makes the furrow easier to close—something one of our customers discovered, surprising both himself and us.

The sleek shape of the DuraLok allows it to stay clean when competitor (aftermarket) firming wheels are clogging with mud, pulling seeds out, and dragging against the gauge wheel. Even the SDX firming wheel was having more problems than the DuraLok. No competitor firming wheel stays as clean as the DuraLok.

Our Thompson closing wheels handle mud much better than most closing wheels, and they won’t overpack the soil above the seed—unlike all the excessively heavy styles on the market, including OEM (and the Thompsons don’t bounce like Deere’s, which is a disaster).

The Thompsons also fit Case-IH’s PD-500 / New Holland P-2080 drills, with use of a special mounting bracket and lighter spring—and also the addition of a Keeton is required, since the Thompson wheels don’t do any packing: The Keeton + Mojo does the seed-to-soil contact once the OEM packer is removed.

Exapta’s Ninja seed-bounce flaps for the JD drills don’t goober up with mud like the rigid plastic ones do. Plus, they wear indefinitely (after 4 yrs on the market, we still don’t know of any that actually wore out). And, they put more seeds in the bottom of the furrow. No wonder these are our #1 seller.

Can’t cut the damp straw with soft mud underneath, or side-lined too much in the morning and evening because of dew? Have a look at our Aricks row cleaners for JD drills (we do have enough in inventory to outfit a small to mid-size drill or two; at the very least, try a few rows to see if you like them, as this probably won’t be the last time you’ll ever be faced with tough straw from rain or dew).

Speaking of cutting the straw, have you upgraded to the Forges de Niaux 200s for the JD drills? They have a deeper bevel than any other brand, including OEM. Deeper bevel means they cut better when new, and stay sharp longer. Also, the edge on the Niaux 200 blades is harder than the others, for 20-40% longer wear life.

Both in terms of reducing hairpinning as well as minimizing sidewall compaction in damp soils, nothing beats our game-changing UniForce hydraulic downforce system for the JD drills. Due to the geometry of Deere’s opener design, these drills benefit far more from getting rid of the downpressure springs than on any planter. Plus, we’ve kept the system simple and robust, which keeps the cost down as well as making for an extremely reliable system with very long service life.

MudSmith has become the go-to brand of open-rim gauge wheels in North America because of their highly robust, quality construction. Their open-rim design has proven to be excellent for shedding mud. The rubber in MudSmith tires is thicker and lasts longer than other brands, yet they still have a softness or pliability to cushion the soil (unlike some brands that are rubber but have little or no air cavity, and are hard as a rock). MudSmith gauge wheelsare available in 3″ or 4.5″ widths to fit your JD or Case gauge-wheel drills. Call to order 785-820-8000.

Don’t have time to install the upgrades, or even make key repairs? Give us a call, and we can recommend air drill rebuilder services for the Great Plains, with some ability to travel to the Corn Belt and Deep South for significant jobs. (We realize there’s a lot of highly unscrupulous folks in this industry, and think we’ve now got a decent handle on who is trustworthy and competent, and who isn’t—at least on the central & southern Great Plains.)