Functions and benefits of the Cross Slot Technology
Cross-slot technology emerged in New Zealand around 30 years ago, and has evolved through intense research work in both New Zealand and the USA, and by being field proven on more than 100,000 hectares. In concept, the technology allows farmers to place seeds and fertiliser very close together in an optimum environment to encourage seed germination and establishment, by using an ‘inverted T’ slot.
The typical machine specification has 19 openers in a 3 metre wide unit, with seed and fertiliser hoppers, control systems and sophisticated electronics including memory functions, completing the package. Additional optional extras can be ordered, including a materials-handling crane, load cells for each hopper, blocked-head monitors, and row-width adjusters. And for larger estates, a 4 metre folding unit can be specified.
As well as offering short-term gains, principally in reductions of time, fuel and machine wear, the long-term benefits of cross-slot technology are what appeals to many farmers. Soil structure, soil moisture, drainage, organic content, and wildlife are all improved under a no-tillage regime. Soil erosion is reduced, if not totally eliminated, and the overall ecological viability and resilience of the land is enhanced.
From a purely economic point-of-view, no-tillage means that farmers only have to travel once across their field to establish seed, rather than 3 or 4 times under more traditional approaches. This reduces the risk of soil compaction. Crucially though, the proven success rate for seed establishment is measurably higher than under other systems, and fertiliser can be precisely placed where required.
Furthermore, even though the machine can cope with stony soils and ridged land, the gradual encouragement of earthworm activity leads to a reduction in machine wear through the natural tendency of nature’s little earth workers to bury surface stones under their worm casts.
Because the technology permits seeding immediately after harvesting, many crops leave a helpful residue of degradable material which provides insulation and protection for the establishing seeds. This No-till machine copes with large amounts of residue, and avoids the common difficulty with other forms of direct drilling, as it does not suffer ‘hair-pinning’ – the trapping of stalks between the seed and the soil.
Each drill is factory-made to order, and will take about 4 months from order to delivery. Experience in New Zealand suggests a single machine can manage about 3000 acres a year. Our machine copes easily with 1200 acres of spring drilling and 1500 acres in the autumn. The machines are also built to last. Our five year old machine has only ever had its wearing metal replaced.
Primewest will happily provide a contracting service with our Cross Slot drill, sell you a new machine and also provide an after sales service and a parts service. You have no need to worry about parts coming from abroad, we keep a well stocked store here in the UK.
If you would like to see some of our crops or just have a question please to do not hesitate to contract Paul or James, we love to talk no-tillage.