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SWEEP Report #39

Report on "Tye-Drill" Modifications for Sowing Soybeans
on Commercial Farms Under No-Till Conditions

J. Rigby et al., Southwestern Ontario Agricultural Research Corporation (SWOARC), Harrow, Ont.

Executive Summary

Evaluation Summary (Tech. Transfer Report Summaries)

View / Download Final Report [453 KB pdf]

Associated SWEEP/LSP Research



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Completed: January, 1992

Key Words:

no-till, Tye drill modifications, coulters, press wheels, no-till planter, soybeans, no-till drill, yield

Executive Summary

In 1988, a study was initiated by a group of farmers in the Rondeau Bay area of Kent County. The goal of the study was to determine if more aggressive and better matched coulter/presswheel combinations would improve the performance of the Tye drill for narrow row planting of soybeans in a no-till system. Experiments with the Tye drill in previous years had shown a tendency for poor seed establishment due to non-uniform seed depth, resulting in the exposure and desiccation of the seed.

In Year 1 of the study, side-by-side comparisons of crop performance were made for fields planted with the Tye drill and with conventional planting units. The Tye drill was outfitted on one side with a bubble coulter and two V-presswheels with 8" rows, and on the other side with a fluted coulter and a single presswheel.

The results of the first year of research were inconclusive, due in part to the drought of 1988. While plant populations at two of the five sites were significantly higher on fields planted with the Tye drill compared to the conventional planter, the differences in yields were not significant.

The study continued in 1989 using the same comparisons as in Year 1, with some additional treatments. The Tye drill equipped with 1" fluted coulters across the front was outfitted on the left half portion of the drill rows with single presswheels while the other half had standard V-type (double) presswheels. On demand, a rake could be dropped behind the full width of the drill. It was hoped that one of these combinations would provide a more favourable seedbed environment, which would translate into greater emergence and yields.

The results of the 1989 field season were not encouraging for any of the Tye drill treatments. At all of the sites, plants seeded with conventional planters experienced more rapid and vigorous emergence when compared to all other treatments. At all but one of the sites, the yield on the plot that was planted with the conventional planter was greater than any of the corresponding yields from the Tye drill treatments.

The results of two years of experiments with the Tye drill were not conclusive. The farmers who were involved in the study are still interested in making minor adjustments to the coulters of the Tye drill in an effort to improve the seed placement. They would also like to evaluate the performance of the Tye drill on a field scale. There was some feeling amongst the farmers involved in the research, that the plot scale research may have introduced errors and biased the results in favour of the planters.

Evaluation Summary

(From Technology Transfer Report Summaries - A. Hayes, L. Cruickshank, Co-Chairs)

In 1988 a two year study was conducted to determine if more aggressive and better matched coulter/press wheel combinations would improve the performance of the Tye drill for narrow row planting of soybeans in a no-till system. Side by side comparisons of crop performance were made for fields planted with the Tye drill and the farmer's planter. Five farmer cooperators from Kent county participated in the study. Year 2 of the study had an additional objective to determine if single or double V presswheels, in combination with a rake, could effectively level the seedbed and/or part the corn residue to improve coverage of the drill row.

The results of the first year were inconclusive due in part to the drought. In 1989 no significant differences showed in the results and no conclusions can be drawn. The report has shown the significance of seed placement and the need for minor adjustments to the coulters. Better seed placement and coverage could be achieved by a combination of improved balance between the front and rear of the Tye drill and/or more pressure up front, achieved by either spring action or weight. The farmers felt the no-till drill did not perform to their expectations.


Although no conclusions can be drawn from this study some good management tips were given for set-up of the Tye drill. The report suggested that the study be repeated on a commercial field scale using a standard bean combine and weigh wagon to better emulate farm practices.

Associated SWEEP/LSP Research:

  • SWEEP Report #20 - Conservation Tillage Equipment: Availability, Utilization and Needs

  • SWEEP Report #SUP-2 - Conservation Tillage Handbook - Equipment Modifications and Practical Tips for Use

Future Research: ( ) indicates reviewers suggestion for priority, A - high, C - low.

(C) As suggested in the report the study could be conducted at a field scale level using traditional harvesting equipment to parallel true farming practices.

(C) Research could be conducted comparing various drills and planter set-ups for the no-till system under various cropping and soil conditions.




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Created: 05-28-1996
Last Revised: Thursday, May 19, 2011 03:05:58 PM