Agronomy consultant and Exapta founder, Matt Hagny said, “Pinched furrows have been a longstanding problem. We’ve been pointing this out for over a decade—without any economic interest. Now we’ve developed a product that prevents opener blade flex, thus creating a properly shaped furrow that’s consistently wide enough to get the seeds to the bottom of it, and gives farmers more planting depth control.” Hagny continues, “What is generally referred to as a ‘seed tube guard’ – the piece that sticks down between the opener blades on planters, just ahead of the seed tube itself – would be more appropriately called a ‘blade flex guard,’ one of the key aspects of getting the planter to perform day after day without alteration of the furrow shape.”
While intended to limit blade flex, standard OEM seed tube guards can wear substantially in just a few hours of use due to their construction from relatively soft cast material, and quite limited surface area to backstop the blade flex. In all but the mellowest of tilled soils, the seed tube guard is a crucial part of the furrow-forming process by preventing the pliable opener blades from being compressed together by the soil’s resilience. The consequence are furrows that are pinched at the bottom, sometimes no thicker than a credit card, and far too narrow to get a corn or soybean seed to a uniform depth – since the amount of blade flex (and the degree of pinching) varies every few feet at soil conditions change.
Hagny remarks, “Farmers are surprised that this piece of the planter is all that important. Yet if you sit on the back of the planter and watch, if it’s running Keetons, and the guards are worn, you can sit there and watch the effective depth of the furrow change as you go through the field – the top of the Keeton rises and falls in relation to the soil surface, which indicates that the seed depth is also changing, because the furrow is too pinched, and the amount of pinching varies in firm or moderately firm seedbeds. But on rows with new seed tube guards installed, the Keeton will run smoothly, and all the seeds will be at the same depth.” This uniformity of depth is a major ingredient in getting all the seedlings to emerge at the same time, which is key to top yields.
The new Valion™ (VAL-yon) seed tube guards from Exapta dramatically reduce blade flex to create a properly shaped furrow and improved planting depth control. Note that the depth adjustment may need to be set shallower with these improvements.
The Valions™ are extremely durable, giving farmers 2 - 5 times the wear life of OEM guards. This is a notable advantage over other guards, providing consistent performance from Day One of planting season, and not just weeks but years to come. Some farmers are known to rebuild their planter with new OEM guards mid-season, but the Valion’s extreme durability eliminates this issue during planting season—when days and hours are critical. Plus, the Valion’s internal channel can hold ¼” plastic tubing at the ideal location to deliver liquids to the seed furrow, and this capability means more versatility for the farmers.
Exapta Solutions, makers of the Thompson wheel and Mojo Wire, was founded by Matt Hagny in 1998, with the simple vision of providing better tools for no-till seeding. Exapta relies on the necessity-driven innovation of many farmers & researchers to find solutions for high-performance planting and production. www.exapta.com