Growers find new uses for cultivator

Salford RTS 1100 | Lightweight machine for small seed crops can seed wheat

Matt Kremeniuk, who uses his Salford RTS 1100 to apply fertilizer, under-seed timothy and seed canola and barley, says wheat will be the next crop to be seeded using vertical tillage.

After two years using the RTS 1100, Kremeniuk said light weight seeding rigs with shallow working tools are the obvious winners when it comes to early seeding in the notoriously wet conditions around Evansburg, Alta., where he farms.

“Last year was bad for barley here. We put down 110 pounds of seed with 240 lb. fertilizer through the Salford,” said Kremeniuk, which is the same rate he put down through his regular air drill.

“Mud was sticking to the tires on the Salford and it was all looking pretty bad. So we were surprised that it came up out of the ground in such a hurry. But the big surprise was when we got a better yield than we got through our air drill. We only got 50 bu., but that’s good for those conditions.”

Kremeniuk’s under-seeded timothy for seed production germinated quickly and was almost too thick to handle.

Converting the 30-foot tillage machine into a drill was not difficult. He said the boot mounts on an adjustable arm just behind the coulter so it blows seed and fertilizer into the trench from his FlexiCoil cart.

Harrows cover the trench. Adjustable, spring-loaded rolling baskets at the back pack the soil and trench.

“Everything is adjustable on this 1100,” he said.

“There’s a lot of adjustment on the baskets, the pressure, the depth, the tilt on the harrows, weight front to rear on the frame. Everything. Some guys adjust the harrows so they flatten out. I run mine more straight up because we do one-pass seed and fertilizer. It stirs things and covers better with the harrows straight up. A lot of people think this is like broadcasting, so you end up with a solid seeded field. But it’s not. It leaves distinct rows.”

Kremeniuk said he’s just beginning to understand the multitude of tasks the machine is capable of performing.

“From now on, I’m not going to wait so long to use it. We waste too much time waiting for fields to dry. This lets me get out on the land sooner,” he said.

“The new drills are so heavy and they sink so easily. Plus they only run at four or five m.p.h. This 1100 may only be 30 feet, but we seed at eight m.p.h. in wet fields, so that makes up for a lot.”

Jim Boak of Salford Machine said the vertical tillage cultivator has been overlooked as a seeding tool until just recently. It weighs less than conventional air drills and works only the top surface of the soil, he added.

“So far, we have about 100 customers in Canada and the U.S. who are seeding small seed crops and cover crops with our 1100,” he said.

“Our seed boot blows seed and fertilizer in right behind the coulter, so the coulter serves as an opener. Guys hook up to our Salford air cart or Val mars or FlexiCoil carts and just about any cart you can imagine. Guys tell us they can put a crop into a wet field when no other seeder can do it. That’s with our 1100 Vertical Tillage Drill.”

Boak said soybean growers use it as a rotary hoe, going in before plants emerge and running at about a 20 degree angle to the crop rows.

“This whole seeding thing started when we were working with a Valmar to spread fertilizer. We added some wheat seeds to make it easier to see where the granules were flying,” he said.

“What we got out of that was a fantastic crop of wheat. So we decided we’d better look into the seeding idea. We started with just small seeds, but this year we have a customer who put in 400 acres of soybeans with our vertical till drill. So we’re watching to see how that turns out.”

For more information, contact Kremeniuk at 780-621-4656.

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