Older farmers remember the field downtime, perpetual greasing and bearing replacement and some swear they never want to see another disc drill as long as they live.
However, Kim Hartman said it’s time to put the past behind us.
The owner of K-Hart Industries in Elrose, Sask., thinks every bearing on a modern disc drill should last the lifetime of the drill.
Hartman, who debuted his new 75-foot double disc drill at the Crop Production Show in Saskatoon earlier this month, said replacing bearings on any modern disc drill is no longer acceptable.
“So, I buy special bearings that will last the lifetime of the drill,” he said.
“If you grease them according to recommendations, they’ll last as long as you.”
He said the design of the 75-foot Gen II two-row frame is fresh because the drill carries more weight than the Gen I. The new frame is in response to farmer requests for a bigger canola drill.
“We have guys buying our disc drills specifically for their canola because they follow the ground so well,” he said.
“Now, I don’t want people thinking the double disc drill is just for canola. Guys use it for all their other crops, too. We needed this bigger heavier Gen II frame for a couple of reasons. We’re selling a lot of mid-row banders, so we needed a frame that has space for them and can carry that much additional weight. Plus, the Gen II folds up a lot nicer than the Gen I.”
He said seed placement is excellent with this combination of frame and openers, but building a 75-foot frame comes with different challenges than does a 40 or 60 foot drill.
Hartman said the top slung hitch makes it easier to install the mid-row fertilizer banding coulters. The Gen II now uses hydraulics for the fore/aft levelling adjustments, saving time when changing seeding depth.
The powder-coated frame is four by six by 3/8 inch box tubing. The Gen II is available in a three-section, 34-foot frame, up to a five-section, 74-foot frame.
Hartman’s new 4612 parallel link, double disc openers, designed specifically for the Gen II frame, are based on 25 years of seeding system analysis.
“We’ve evolved through a lot of openers since the old 2612 series,” he said.
“The 4612 is the culmination of everything we’ve learned over the years. We took all the neat features from previous series and incorporated them into the 4612.”
The opener trip mechanism allows for 10 inches vertical travel. Six pressure settings from 120 to 800 pounds can be selected without using tools.
Without tools, packers are set to set establish seeding depth in half inch increments.
In the working position, the packer rests against an adjustable cam stop that provides positive disc depth control.
When the opener rides up over a rock, the packer is spring loaded in the opposite direction so it stays on the ground to maintain packing pressure. Packer force is adjustable from 20 to 150 lb.
Disc size is 16 inches across most of the frame and 17 inches on the openers that follow the path of the tractor’s tires. Right and left hand disc geometry is designed to ensure that the drill tracks squarely.
“Crop Production was the first time we’ve publicly shown the new mid-row banding kits. They’re 100 percent K-Hart built,” Hartman said.
“We have a separate linkage system running in front of the double disc openers. We now have hydraulics so you can lift the whole coulter bar for those fields where you don’t need it.”
K-Hart mid-row coulters and double disc openers have spring loaded trip mechanisms as standard equipment, but they are engineered so individual hydraulic cylinders can be installed.
“But most of our customers told us to stay with springs only,” he said.
“People are concerned about leaking hoses and high maintenance costs with hydraulics. So we kept the springs.”
Hartman said 1,500 lb. of slicing power makes the 1600 series fertilizer coulters the most powerful in the industry. They also have the fewest moving parts.
“They have a unique linkage system that acts much like parallel linkage,” he said.
“When the blade hits a rock and rises up out of the soil, the fertilizer attachment stays in the ground and continues dispensing fertilizer at the same depth.”
The mid-row banding system is suitable for granular, liquid or anhydrous. The 1600 series has five coulter options.
Hartman installed large, 206, double row ball bearing units in all hubs. He said the 206 is better than the lower-cost tapered 204 and 205 bearings he sees in most other disc drills.
Salford is the only other manufacturer he knows of with 206 bearings.
“This year, we’ve taken it one step further. The inner race and two outer seals are stainless steel,” he said.
“We have triple seals on both sides, but it still has a greasable nipple. You should grease it once a year, probably at the end of seeding. You can pump grease into those nipples all day long and you will not hurt the seals.”
He said a good dollop of pressurized grease charges the housing. Any contaminant that might have snuck through the seals will be pushed out by the fresh grease.
“These bearings will last the lifetime of the drill if they get greased once a year or about every 5,000 acres.”
Hartman said that if a double disc drill does a better job of accurately placing seed and parallel linkage does a better job of controlling those discs, then it follows that a double disc drill on parallel linkage should provide the ultimate in seed placement.
“That’s for sure. And that’s what customers tell us,” he said.
“They say the combination of discs and parallel linkage lets the openers follow the surface contour very well. That’s why the canola guys want these drills.”
Hartman still sells 3612 openers, which are double disc but not parallel linkage.
“Farmers have gotten so hung up on this term ‘parallel linkage.’ It seems to grab so much attention,” he said.
“As manufacturers, we all build to meet the farmers’ needs. If enough farmers tell us they need parallel linkage, then that’s what the industry builds.
“But a previous generation opener like the 3612 is still good. It’s simple and reliable and does a good job of seed placement. It all comes down to what you should buy for the best seed placement on your farm.”
For more information, contact Hartman at 306-378-2258 or visit www.khartindustries.com.