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SWEEP Report #42

Report on Development and Operation of
the Cross-Slot Planter

J. Rigby and J. Underwood, Rondeau Agricultural Conservation Corporation, Blenheim, Ont.

Executive Summary

Evaluation Summary (Tech. Transfer Report Summaries)

View / Download Final Report  [1192 KB pdf]

Associated SWEEP/LSP Research



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Completed: March, 1992

Key Words:

planter, no-till, cross-slot, seed placement

Executive Summary

Normal Openers used for planters produce a "V" or "U" shaped opening. The "V" shape is usually produced with a double or triple disc. The seed is dropped into the bottom of the "V". Some problems with germination can occur if the opening is not closed up or if the soil on the sides of the "V" are smeared and compacted.

Massey University (Palmerston North-New Zealand) began developing a cross-slot planter in 1969. The concept of this planter was to place the seed and fertilizer on either side of the coulter using wings which formed a cross slot under the soil surface. The soil was lightly compacted on the seed to give a micro climate suitable for good germination.

The concept of the cross-slot planter being used for corn and soybeans for no-till planting in Ontario was first proposed in 1989. During the 1989-90 season a program was developed through SWEEP to evaluate the cross-slot planter as a no-till planting system. The opener units had to be adapted to a corn planter system.

Due to some redesign of the wings in New Zealand, the seed placement units did not arrive until the winter of 1990-91. The planter was used to plant corn and soybeans during the 1991 season.

A White Air Planter was loaned to the project by the White-New Idea Company. The planter had to be reconfigured to accommodate the cross-slot openers. The seed was directed down the wing on one side of the coulter while liquid fertilizer was applied through the wing on the other side

Where tillage has been reduced it has been necessary to zone tillage in planting operations to get a good micro climate for seed germination. The cross-slot planter has reduced or eliminated a number of these concerns. Hair pinning of residue in the seed slot has been eliminated. There is no need for tillage coulters and double disk openers which reduces equipment and power requirements.

The crusting around the seed has been eliminated and the smearing of moist soil has been reduced with the cross-slot planter. There is less disturbance of the soil around the seed zone thus, the mycorrhizal effect is maintained, thus speeding up germination and growth. The amount of testing in 1991 was limited. The results however, look good and a continuation of this program with expanded testing and evaluation would be encouraged for the 1992 growing season.

A SWEEP report authored by Dr. Murray Miller, Land Resource Science, University of Guelph is available: 'Comparison of Planters and Fertilizer Application Systems for No-Till Corn' (SWEEP Report #44) gives research results on the effectiveness of the cross-slot planter.


Evaluation Summary

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

The study evaluated the cross-slot unit, a new type of seed opener which was developed in New Zealand in 1969. The report details how the unit was attached to an air planter to seed corn and soybeans. The planter was used in the field one year and early results were promising.

The benefits of this opener include:

  • suitable placement of the seed in no-till conditions without the use of additional coulters or trash whippers

  • elimination of hair pinning of residue in the seed slot

  • crusting around the seed is eliminated

  • smearing of moist soil is reduced

  • less disturbance of the seed zone


The colour plates and diagrams help the reader visualize what is being discussed. This opener could be a major breakthrough for conservation tillage if and when it becomes commercially available. The development work was well done. It would have been nice to have had more field data on the performance of the planter.

Associated SWEEP/LSP Research:

  • SWEEP Report #44 - Comparison of Planters and Fertilizer Application Systems for No-Till Corn

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

(A) Further testing of the cross-slot opener should be done to fine tune it for field conditions.




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Created: 05-28-1996
Last Revised: Thursday, May 19, 2011 03:18:23 PM