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Mid Row Banders - An Essential Investment

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Minimal disturbance, one pass seeding has once again conclusively proven its superiority as a dry-land farming method. Obviously it doesn't fit everywhere. However, it is an excellent fit in most of the world's dry-land farming areas.

The science is simple; moisture conservation pays because one inch of additional rainfall generally produces 4 to 6 bushels of additional grain, provided the nutrients are available to produce the plant's growth and the weeds are controlled. Twelve inches of standing stubble that goes through the common cycle of filling with snow and then melting down to water between the start of winter and when the field is seeded can add up to three inches of water to your soil.

When moisture is limited, those three inches of water can add 12 to 18 bushels to your yield. One is powerless to produce rainfall but conserving it is indeed possible. Conserving moisture helps you maximize your output.

Bourgault's Mid Row Banders, as a component of a one pass seeding system, continue to provide more evidence of their absolute superiority in generating superior bottom line results. The list of advantages over most double shoot openers is a long one:

1. Guaranteed seed and fertilizer separation

2. The ability to use any form (NH3, dry or liquid) of nitrogen

3. No seedbed compromises

4. Significantly lower draft requirements

5. Less soil disturbance

6. Smoother fields

7. The ability to lock the MRBs out of the ground when they are not required, for example, when seeding peas

8. No loss of seed and fertilizer separation as the ground engaging tools wear

9. Allows the farmer to pull a wider seeding implement with the same amount of tractor horsepower

10. The ability to operate in wet conditions where many doubleshoot openers will plug with mud and/or leave a large open trench.

Our competitors claim that their double shoot openers position the Nitrogen fertilizer in an ideal location relative to the seed, that is, one inch below and one inch to the side. We do not disagree that this a good position for the fertilizer.

However, what we found during our own extensive double shoot opener development and testing, in various soil types and moisture conditions, was that seed and fertilizer separation was not always maintained unless there was a large amount of soil disturbance.

Furthermore, when the separation was lost, there were negative consequences to the crop. To try to shed light on the performance differences between mid row banding and side banding, PAMI did a three-year study.

Report #761provides the data for several crops, for several years, indicating how midrow banding and side banding compared. The testing revealed that both systems produced the same yield results. However, the main difference with Mid Row Banders is basically the elimination of the risk of crop failure due to premature seedbed dryout, seed being placed too deep or seed injury due to coming into contact with too much nitrogen fertilizer in a dry spring.

Testing conducted by Alberta Agriculture (AARI report #93-040) has proven that 75 lbs. of Nitrogen, placed in a one inch row with barley, in the urea form, in a drier year, can reduce yield by as much as 60% as compared to banded Nitrogen. This would basically be the same effect as when seeds fall into the fertilizer row when many doubleshoot openers lose seed and fertilizer separation.

In addition, there will be further stress on the developing crop because the seeds are also often placed too deep. Experience has shown that as some double shoot openers wear, separation capabilities can be diminished or lost. In terms of bushels per acre, the AARI test yielded 25 bushels with seed-placed Nitrogen measured against 61 bushels for banded. In terms of gross revenue, with barley selling at $2.00 per bushel, this means gross revenue of $50.00 per acre versus $122.00 per acre. Furthermore, the seed-placed nitrogen increased time to maturity by almost 30%

There is one downside to Mid Row Banders. They are generally more expensive to acquire than double shoot openers. However, the same footage of system with MRB's can be pulled with a smaller tractor relative to a system equipped with double shoot openers. MRBs require less fuel per acre, conserve more moisture and cost less to operate.

With MRBs, seed and fertilizer separation is not affected by opener wear as it is with many double shoot openers. The higher acquisition price for MRBs is also a small number when it is compared with a crop failure caused by poor emergence due to premature seedbed dry-out and/or fertilizer injury due to loss of separation.

It is also smaller than the extra cost of higher horsepower tractors to pull the same footage and the additional fuel per acre they will burn year after year. Leading edge farmers were the first to adopt Mid Row Banders. After 9seasons of use and millions and millions of acres seeded the farmers are not looking back.

Mid Row Banders are a key element in the profitabilty of these farms. Today mainstream farmers are adopting this technology as they realize MRBs are an essential investment in the future.

Bourgault Industries Ltd. has now developed a new generation of Mid Row Bander. It is designated as the Series 25 MRB II (Patent Pending)and it allows farmers to adjust the height of their coulters more quickly and effortlessly than ever before.

The MRB II is another example of Bourgault's ongoing commitment to producing value-adding innovations that improve operator convenience while simultaneously increasing on-farm productivity. Contact your local Bourgault Dealer or visit our web site at www.bourgault.com to learn more about this another Bourgault innovations.

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