SP FAQ - Applications
Some people have argued that way. In the horse racing industry it is well known that certain horses run better on wet tracks and others are superior on dry tracks. And the same applies to some no-tillage machines but it shouldn't.
Most farms contain several different soil types, especially with the trend towards amalgamation of farms. And in some cases these soil types may change their characteristics with moisture content. Some may even change with overnight rain. It is non-sensical therefore to expect a farmer to have several different no-tillage drills on hand to cope with the different conditions as they occur. In any case this would increase the capital expenditure and negate the purpose of buying a cheap drill in the first place.
It is better to invest in a single sophisticated machine that will handle all conditions, such as Cross Slot.
There are very few (if any) conditions that Cross Slot machines cannot cope with. That is partly why they have taken so long to develop. The designers and scientists needed to know that a farmer could truly rely on no-tillage full time with such a machine, which would ultimately give that operator the confidence to literally sell the plough and rely 100% on no-tillage.
Operators in 17 countries have done exactly that and never looked back.
Cross Slot openers cope very well with stones. They do not hook stones out of the soil as most tine or shank openers do. They ride over them. In fact they hammer orange-sized stones progressively deeper into the soil with each successive pass. They simply ride over larger stones and half-buried boulders, and because of their robustness, breakages are very rare indeed. In fact many farmers find they can bring stony soils into production much better with Cross Slot no-tillage than by any other means including tillage.
The central disc can be moved up (relative to the blades) in stony soils, making penetration in tightly packed stones easier than when the disc is lower.
Typical stony soils in which Cross Slot openers thrive. Note how in both cases the stones are already being hammered into the ground with successive passes of a Cross Slot drill.
'Self-mulching' montmorillinite clays are the most difficult soils to deal with (in terms of stickiness when wet) but a special Cross Slot sticky soil blade is under development that is expected to extend the use of Cross Slot no-tillage to these sticky soils as well as virtually any other soil type.
Sandy soils are no problem at all. In fact, because Cross Slot retains the maximum amount of residues on the soil surface, such soils quickly gain organic matter and become increasingly productive under Cross Slot no-tillage. Dry surface soil does not fall into the slot (as with angled disc type openers) where it can otherwise interfere with germination.
Some sandy soils also become 'non-wetting' and of course are highly erodible when dry. The best and fastest way to improve this situation is to maximize the amount of organic matter in the surface layers. This means retaining the maximum amount of crop residues, which in turn implies using openers that can handle such residues. Cross Slot has no equal in this respect and has already won environmental awards in several countries because of this.
A Cross Slot opener operating in pure beach sand (note the absence of inversion)
For three reasons:
Firstly, they do a lot more work on loosening the sub-surface soil in the root zone than other openers. Most other openers at best loosen the soil at the surface where it is not required to be loosened or simply do not loosen the soil at all. Some in fact compact the soil rather than loosen it.
Secondly, the way in which Cross Slot openers are designed to handle surface residues (by rubbing two blades on the side of the central disc) produces a disc-braking effect that creates drag. But since this function is fundamental to the superior residue handling and biological performance of these openers it is simply one of the costs that must be paid to get superior crops.
Thirdly because they can be (and often are) operated at greater speeds than other openers.
It is easy to get that impression because Cross Slot openers are capable of applying downforces up to twice those of their competitors. But measurements have shown that a single Cross Slot opener requires about the same downforce to attain a given seeding depth as an equivalent diameter double disc opener. The difference is that Cross Slot openers will promote seedling emergence from soils that are far too dry to even contemplate sowing into with double disc and most other openers. Therefore Cross Slot openers get used in drier ground than other openers and thus require higher downforces to cope with this.
0 to 500 kg (1,100 lbs) per opener.
Yes but that amount of downforce is only required when the soil is very dry and hard. So many Cross Slot seeding machines are designed so that weight can be easily added and removed. Most have a basic weight of 300 kg per opener and this can be increased to 500 kg per opener when needed by adding ballast weights.
Yes, but some modifications of the basic frame may be necessary in order to get sufficient weight and strength into it to handle Cross Slot openers. This applies to drills, tool bars and planters.
It is commonly believed that aggressive no-tillage openers (such as tines) are more effective in controlling rhizoctonia then disc-type openers because their actions break the pathogen's mycelia beneath the seedling zone. General tillage does the same. But the central disc on Cross Slot openers also penetrates some 75 mm below the seed zone, which probably has the same effect. By contrast, all other disc openers place the seed at virtually the same depth as the disc(s), which accounts for their poor control of rhizoctonia.
Anecdotal reports suggest that Cross Slot openers are little different than tined openers as far as rhizoctonia control is concerned, but both are better than other disc openers.