A Unique Seed Environment

The Cross Slot® Low Disturbance No-Tillage System creates a unique horizontal slot providing the best possible seed environment

  • Creates unique horizontal seed slots (most others are vertical)
  • Self covers the slots
  • Traps soil humidity in the slot
  • Conserves 50-100mm (2 - 4 inches) soil moisture per year
  • Guarantees soil-to-seed contact
  • No slot-shrinkage problems

Diagram

Assured Emergence

Slot micro-environment/residues

Only untilled soils contain usable amounts of vapour water in addition to liquid water. Only inverted T-shaped seed slots trap this humidity for use by seeds. Only Cross Slot openers make inverted T-shaped slots. Cross Slot’s ability to micro-management surface residues is why germination failures are very rare indeed (see experiments 7, 8,9,10,11).

Compaction/smearing

Almost all no-tillage openers smear the slot walls in damp soils. Some also compact them. When smears dry they become crusts that restrict root growth. Cross Slot openers do not compact or allow smears to dry (see experiment 14).

Hairpinning

All disc openers hairpin from time to time and most then place the seeds in the hairpins. Cross Slot openers position the seeds to one side of hairpins, thereby negating the problem entirely.

Depth control

Consistent depth control is more important in no-tillage than tillage and difficult to achieve. It requires two separate but complimentary drill functions. Only Cross Slot faithfully follows large ground surface undulations at the same time as it self-adjusts to changes in soil density.

Seed quality

Seed slots made by Cross Slot openers are so favourable to seeds that they will even force germination of poor quality seeds, which are otherwise incapable of developing into high-yielding crops. High quality seeds are therefore recommended.

Seed types

Cross Slot openers can successfully handle most seed types from small (clover, brassicas, grasses) to medium (cereals,soybean, sorghum) to large (Garbonzo beans, maize, peas).

Diagram

Emergance Graph

Supply of Soil Water

Residue retention (macro)

The more residues that are retained on the soil surface the greater will be the moisture conserved by no-tillage. This demands openers with superior residue-handling properties where Cross Slot has no equal (see experiment 15).

Snow catch

Maximum stubble retention traps maximum snow but is often sacrificed to accommodate poor residue handling by openers. Cross Slot has no such restriction.

Low disturbance

It takes at least 80% residue retention is to gain greatest benefit from no-tillage. Cross Slot regularly achieves 80%+.

Cover crops (permanent cover)

Growing cover crops achieves many of the good things that residue retention achieves between crops. Cross Slot handles cover crops with ease and preserves the ground cover they create.

 

Supply of Soil Nutrients

Fertilizer placement

Few things are more important than separately banding fertilizer at seeding so long as this can be achieved without damaging the seed. All Cross Slot drills undertake this function as a standard requirement (see experiments 1,2,3,4,6).

  • Dry, liquid or combination fertilizer can be banded simultaneously with seeding
  • Fertilizer can be banded at seed depth or deeper
  • Fertilizer is separated from seed by 1.5-5 cm
  • Fertilizer banding is unaffected by soil moisture, form residues or speed
  • Soil disturbance is minimal and confined to sub-surface

 

 

 

 

Good Soil Structure

Residues

Residues that are allowed to rot on the soil surface are incorporated into the soil by soil fauna as soil organic matter (SOM)

Soil organic matter

SOM is the feed-stuff of millions of beneficial soil microbes that build soil structure. Good soil structure positively influences crop yield and halts soil erosion, but is otherwise destroyed by all forms of tillage (there are no exceptions).

CO2 emissions

Tillage discharges large quantities of CO2 into the atmosphere through aeration. No-tillage greatly reduces this. The less the disturbance the less the CO2 discharge. Cross Slot openers achieve the least disturbance of all.

Soil biology

Only now are soil biologists realising that tillage has been distorting the soil biological eco-system for centuries and that new levels of crop yield may be attainable under continuous low-disturbance no-tillage

Soil that has been undisturbed for 50 years (Ukraine) Note the strong crumb structure, organic matter and pore spaces.

Same soil that has been conventionally cultivated for 50 years. Note the severe soil compaction to full tillage depth.

  Same soil that has been conventionally cultivated for 40 years then minimum tillage for 9 years. Note the compaction still in the top 75mm but deeper layers are recovering to good soil structure. 



Crop Husbandry

Residue management

Residue management starts at harvest when the aim should be to spread the residues as evenly as possible. Residue chopping and stripping are optional for Cross Slot openers, which function perfectly well regardless.

Pest control

Diligent pest and disease management is essential with all no-tillage, which otherwise fits neatly into integrated pest management (IPM) systems.

Weed control

While no-tillage generally enhances weed control, new crop rotations may be appropriate to avoid developing resistance to certain herbicides.

Disease control

Certain diseases thrive on crop residues and must be treated. But the predators of other diseases also thrive in the new biological eco-system and change the incidence of infestation. No-tillers need to learn new management strategies.

Proven results on the farm from a unique partnership of biological science and engineering