Bourgault offers new precision drills

Bourgault’s new Paralink hoe drills, the 3330SE and the 3335QDA, have a new dual knife opener option that is part of a system that allows growers to place granular fertilizer in three locations for each seed run. The 3335QDA series can be equipped with AccuSet that allows operators to adjust seeding depth on-the-go from the tractor cab.  |   Bourgault photo

With three opener options including a new one, Bourgault’s third generation Paralink hoe drills have many options for product placement, especially when combined with the company’s Trimax airflow system available on the new 9000 series air carts. 

Two series of Paralink hoe drills are available: the 3330SE and the 3335 Quick Depth Adjust.

Both drills have a three-rank frame composed of five by five-inch steel.

The 3330SE is a solid frame design with opener depth set individually on each opener. It also two opener options: ParaLink Dual and ParaLink eXtreme.

The 3335QDA is compatible with these two openers, but it also has another option: the ParaLink Single opener arm. 

Robert Fagnou of Bourgault said the PLX opener is a rebranding of the company’s XDC opener, and it changed its name to PLX so that it would fit into the series with the other openers. 

“The PLD, that’s a new opener for us. It’s a dual knife system where you have the fertilizer knife and the seed knife, one in front of the other on the same bar,” Fagnou said. 

He said Bourgault has been apprehensive about the dual knife system, largely because of concerns about putting the fertilizer so close to the seed. 

However, he has seen growers, especially in wetter springs, have good success with dual knife systems.

“They were looking for a little bit more soil disturbance, like you would see with heavier hoe drills where you get a little more disruption of the soil to get a little bit of drying action, a darkening of the soil to be able to warm it up,” Fagnou said.

To solve concerns over having products placed so close to the seed row, Bourgault developed a third airstream called Trimax for its 9000 series air carts, which provides three separate granular delivery streams.

This enables growers to push the bulk of their fertilizer to a mid-row band, use the new fertilizer placement option provided by the PLD opener for some starter fertilizer, while seed can have a row all to itself. 

Fagnou said canola can do very well with high rates of phosphorus placed in the seed row, but there is still a pruning effect.

“It is a safer fertilizer (phosphorus), but it’s still a salt. So, if you have prills that come up against a canola seed, that fertilizer is going to win out in a battle for moisture every time, even if it’s a phosphate prill,” he said.

“Now with the dual knife, you can get with your phos a little bit of separation from the seed. It becomes a safer environment for your seed to germinate.…

“With the tanks and the flexibility to be able to put whatever product you want an in which line, you still have that flexibility of putting a little bit of phos in with your seed if you want to split that.”

To change seed depth on the 3330, operators have to go to each opener and manually set the depth at each arm, whereas the 3335 QDA series has the adjustable frame.

“Just like in our previous popular 3320 QDA, you can come with shims on each of the running gear on the cylinders so you can adjust the depth with the PLD,” Fagnou said.

The PLS opener is essentially the same design as the company’s original two-to-one opener that it has sold since it started selling the 3310 drill. 

“One of the new technologies Bourgault releases with the 3335 is AccuSet, which gives operators the ability to adjust seeding depth right from the cab of the tractor on the go,” Fagnou said.

“On each of these openers you still have the shims and the hydraulic cylinders on each of the running gear, but what we’ve done is we’ve gone to what we call the smart cylinder. It has a potentiometer built right into the cylinder.”

Once this cylinder has been calibrated it recognizes its position and if operators install an app for it on their phone, it will communicate with the ECU for the AccuSet on the drill and allow users to have on-the-go seed depth adjustment controlled by an app.

AccuSet comes standard on drills with the PLX opener and is optional on drills with the PLS and PLD openers.

Fagnou said having on-the-go seed depth adjustment for the one-to-one PLX opener was difficult to achieve because with one-to-one openers frame height typically doesn’t affect seed depth.

A one-to-one contour ratio means that for every inch that the packer wheel moves vertically, the seed opener moves the same distance.

“What our engineers did is they figured out a way that, instead of raising and lowering the frame parallel to the ground, what you can do is raise the back of the drill more-so than the front,” Fagnou said.

“It essentially twists the frame and what it does is, because the mount of the opener is fixed to the frame, it will actually cause the seed knife to go a little deeper.”

He said this system provides a total range of approximately half an inch, which will help growers achieve more uniform emergence, especially on hilly fields.

The 3330SE and the 3335 QDA are available in up to 86 feet wide, with 10 or 12-inch row spacing, but the PLD opener is available only in 12-inch spacing for 2021.

The drills have multiple packing wheel and mid-row bander options, and users can choose a mid-row fertilizer shank.

“They will have to do a lot more work in managing residue in the field because of course it’s a shank so it’s not going to cut through the straw like a disk does. But those farmers who have been taking the mid-row shank and have been on top of their straw management have had great success with it,” Fagnou said.

The same high float flotation system that was popular with the 3320 drill is available with the 3330SE and the 3335QDA.

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