Seed Opener Designs: Past & Present Choices/Trends on Modern Equipment, with Lessons from the Past

by Matt Hagny, consulting agronomist for no-till systems since ‘94.

Many of you are perplexed as to why we at Exapta endorse certain seed opener designs for no-till (NT) and not others. (And many of you wonder if I’m qualified to render judgment at all 🙂 but I’ll save that topic for another day. Suffice it to say that I’ve been compelled to spend hundreds of hours digging behind a gamut of opener designs & settings, and I’m highly analytical. Plus, the huge range of climate and soil textures across Kansas— going from native short-grass prairie to a tree-dominated landscape in a mere 300 miles with relatively poor, low-OM soils in an unforgiving climate being typical—has afforded me plenty of diversity of soil conditions to play with. I frequently get out in the field in other parts of the world too. 🙂 ) So, here goes:

In the beginning…well, okay, maybe not that far back. At the dawn of agriculture, people used sticks to make holes in the soil, drop seeds in, tap them with the stick again, then kick soil back into the hole. Or you would drag the stick (later, a hoe) to make a shallow furrow, then poke the seeds in, and cover. Hence, the hoe opener. Very old technology. But the seed firming and closing was done with care, gently, and was completely separate from the depth-gauging (visually, by a mark on the stick). Much, much later (in recent centuries), people figured out wheel axles that were durable enough to transport heavier implements around, so… continue reading here: Seed-Opener-Designs