Driller and tiller: seeder has heavy-duty ideas

LANGHAM, Sask. — The new dual purpose Morris Quantum was demonstrated at this summer’s Ag In Motion farm show as both a seed drill and an experimental cultivator.

In the 11 a.m. cultivation demonstration on each day of the show, an experimental version of the Quantum did a pass outfitted with 16-inch sweeps and a novel set of packers. In the 2:30 p.m. seeding demonstration, a look-alike production model Quantum did a seeding pass.

While the drill version is already in production and available, the tillage version is still being studied as a possible entry into the growing group of dual purpose machines that do both jobs. This trend is no doubt sparked by the escalating price of soil-working implements and uncertainty about climatic change, says Morris’s Darrel Schindel.

Nobody really knows how long the generally wet weather will last on the Prairies. It may even be over right now for all we know. But we do know it’s gone on long enough to force many farmers away from zero till and into a tillage regime. As proof, Schindel points to the high number of new high-speed implement debuts at this year’s AIM show designed for tillage and seeding.

Although tillage engineers are working overtime to make one better than the competition, the cost of a new dedicated tillage implement, along with the unpredictability of wet weather, prevents most growers from making the purchase.

The tillage Quantum Morris brought to the show is identical to the seeding Quantum, except that it’s fitted with 16-inch sweeps and unique packer/finishing devices that look like eight pipes randomly welded to a hub. The cultivator version was put together to test the durability of the Quantum frame.

“We took the drill and tested it as a cultivator last fall to test durability of the drill frame. We had a farmer put on 4,000 acres with those 16-inch sweeps, working four inches deep, without a problem,” said Schindel.

“At that point we were just finishing up our design on the Quantum. We wanted to test not only the design, but also to test all the new manufacturing methods we’ve installed such as laser cutting and laser welding. Plus we wanted to check design on those unique rolling baskets our engineers came up with. They’re designed to smooth the soil behind the sweeps.

“The Quantum worked so well as a tillage machine that we wanted to demo it here at AIM just to show farmers how strong it is. That doesn’t necessarily mean we’ll actually bring it out as a tillage machine, unless we see there’s a demand for it.”

Farmers who observed the tillage demonstration commented that with a set of harrows dragged behind the rolling baskets, the field would likely be ready for seeding. However, the soil at the AIM site is very light and sandy. It may not have the same finish in a heavier soil.

Schindel points out that the Quantum is an all-new design, employing a stainless steel distribution header as well as stainless wherever corrosion is likely to occur. Openers have a 16-inch range of travel, reducing the tendency for them to gouge into the crowns of hills. The parallel linkage arms have a 1:1 ratio on the opener/packer to provide better depth control and angle of entry for the opener.

Trash flow is a carryover from the C2 Contour design, but the Quantum has 700 fewer components than the C2. The Quantum has 154 percent higher fatigue strength than the C2 Contour.

In the seed distribution unit, the old C2 employed 24 millimetre divider heads, which produced an average row-to-row variance of 5.3 percent. The re-designed Quantum air system employs a new 28 mm flat fan divider head, which produces a row-to-row variance of 2.1 percent. This results in more uniform seed and product delivery to each row and reduces problems when planting larger seeded pulse crops.

“Our 70-foot Quantum with a 15-inch shank spacing and paired row opener working at six m.p.h. plants the same number of acres as a 90-foot drill working at 4.5 mph.”

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