SP FAQ - Economics
Only if the more sophisticated machine gives you a better crop. Operators must put values on two things:
a. The cost of crop failure, or alternatively the cost of having to re-drill or re-plant a crop.
b. The cost of loosing 1%, 5%, 10%, 15% and 20% in crop yield.
With no-tillage, a change of mind-set is required to understand the economic implications of choosing between a sophisticated and a cheap seeder. Few operators of conventional drills think about the possible effects the seeder might have on crop yield because in conventionally tilled soils it is the tillage implements that affect yield not the drill.
But in no-tillage it is the seeding machine that has the biggest effect on crop yield.
Therefore operators need to start thinking about yield at the time of drilling. Then the advantages of a sophisticated machine like Cross Slot come into focus.
At current world prices for arable crops it is easy to compare the costs of operating a Cross Slot seeder versus a cheaper alternative and then to calculate how much change in crop yield you would need to get to make the cheaper alternative uneconomic.
It may be surprising (but nonetheless true) that you may only need a 1 - 3% difference in crop yield to make cheaper alternative drills uneconomic compared with Cross Slot, which has never been beaten on yield. Gains of up to 50% in crop yield from Cross Slot seeders have been recorded.
Even more surprising, is that even if the cost of operating an alternative seeding machine became zero (such as when a seeding machine is inherited for no cost) it would only take about a 5 - 8% reduction in yield from the zero-cost drill to make it uneconomic against a fully-paid-for Cross Slot drill.
We can supply a simple spread-sheet (on Microsoft Excel) that allows you to insert any figures you choose for the operating costs (of Cross Slot and competing drills) together with the expected returns from a given crop, the crop yield range of your choosing, and the currency of choice. It will calculate for you (the algorithms are shown so you can see how the calculations are done) how much crop yield difference you would need to get in order to make the cheaper drill uneconomic compared with Cross Slot.
The results will surprise you.
We are happy to email the spread sheet to any enquirer at no cost.
Yes. By identifying some 28 vital functions that most no-tillage openers should perform, and then rating each of 7 generic openers types 1 - 5 on the basis of how well each opener type fulfils each of these 28 functions (where 1 is poor and 5 is excellent) it is possible rank opener types on a quantitative basis. If an opener was rated 5 for each function (none were) the maximum possible score would have been 140 (or 28 X 5).
The table below lists the ratings for the 7 generic opener types, as a percentage of a theoretically- perfect score of 140.
|Narrow tine||Wide hoe||Sweep||Double disc||Single disc||Slanted disc||Cross Slot|
Clearly, Cross Slot openers rated much higher (94% of possible) than any other opener type. The next best was the narrow tine (66%) the rating for which however, was still well behind that for Cross Slot. This is not surprising, as the Cross Slot design was developed from the science on which such ratings are based. It would have been most surprising if an opener developed from such science was not considerably better than other designs that never had the benefit of such science.