Firm assessments of the system over the previous 5 years present ultra-high-pressure (UHP) no-tilling can produce comparable soybean stand emergence compared with standard planters, and should provide the prospect of yield will increase in very dry years.
Dave Bunker, founding father of I-Cubed (Business Innovators Inc.), in Stoney Creek, Ont., says the hassle is an enlargement of expertise pioneered in Australia beneath the Aqua-Until identify greater than a decade in the past.
I-Cubed Purposes Supervisor Jeff Martel, who previously labored at Aqua-Until, says he’s spent the final 12 years of his profession working with UHP for agricultural makes use of, and says when Bunker noticed the potential of the expertise for farming he grew to become very concerned about bringing such techniques to North America.
That curiosity helped spawn Superior Agricultural Purposes (A-Cubed) in 2014 as a separate arm of I-Cubed, a longtime agency in industrial robotic water-jet-cutting expertise.
“After we realized the potential UHP had for planting in heavy residues with out soil disturbance, we needed to ensure this expertise didn’t get hidden and tucked away,” Bunker explains. “We’re satisfied utilizing UHP on the identical floor over an extended interval might help enhance soil well being and supply way more correct fertilizer placement.
Extremely-high-pressure water jet offers chopping motion to slice by way of arduous pan clay and heavy residue with out disturbing surrounding soil. This unit is a part of a water-jet geared up prototype planter system being developed by I-Cubed, a Canadian robotic water-jet chopping firm.
“Whereas we’re engineers, we perceive issues effectively sufficient to know in case you don’t disturb the quilt on the soil, you scale back evaporative moisture losses and enhance weed management. Additionally sustaining undisturbed covers reduces soil erosion in heavy rains and enhances the soil’s biomass.”
Bunker says utilizing 60,000 psi water jets to chop by way of even the hardest residue in fields producing GMO crops reduces the necessity for residue administration tools and might result in smaller energy necessities when pulling massive planters. As a result of the water jet strikes at Mach three by way of nozzles starting from Zero.006-Zero.Zero10 inches it entrains substantial quantities of air which helps decompact the soil in seedbed preparation.
“It stands to purpose in case you use this expertise over a lot of seasons, you’ll see higher decomposition of area residue due to enhance organic exercise,” he says. “Additionally, our assessments working UHP side-by-side with standard planters present comparable soybean stand emergence and yields.”
The corporate has examined the system within the U.S. and Canada together with one Canadian train which noticed the system efficiently plant in a gravel driveway and adjoining frozen floor. One other take a look at with a 2-row prototype in 2019 efficiently planted in a heavy, dry, compacted Texas hard-pan pasture lined with a thick mat of bermudagrass sod.
Trial plantings by I-Cubed in Canada and the U.S. present wonderful soybean stands, even in very powerful residue circumstances, behind the water-jet planter.
Bunker says the system opens the window for extra flexibility in planting as a result of it doesn’t rely upon soil moisture ranges.
“We now have the power to get within the floor when nothing else will work,” he says. “That may enable planting within the first a number of days of the 30-day planting window, and we all know that makes a distinction in crop efficiency.”
Bunker and Martel say they are going to be retrofitting a 24-row John Deere planter for the 2020 season, and point out retrofit kits could also be A-Cubed’s most popular product sooner or later, since neither needs to be within the planter-building enterprise.
“In its most simplistic type, I’d envision a equipment for JD7000 planters and numerous comparable machines,” Martel explains. “Such retrofitting would have an analogous value to a residue administration system, and it might contain a regular seeder and shutting wheel.”
One other step in equipment expertise would come with a specifically-designed floor participating seed tube to raised allow the seed to drop into the very slender water-jet soil slice, a design already being examined by the corporate, he says.
This heavy mat of bermudagrass sod was no match for an I-Cubed prototype water jet planter on compacted Texas clay arduous pan in 2019.
“We see the 24-row planter design as place to enter the market with retrofit kits, because it’s a well-liked measurement on the greater finish of the sensible scale for our designs,” Martel says. “On 30-inch rows the hydraulic traces are fairly lengthy, so a 24-row planter affords lots of benefits.”
A-Dice’s system makes use of a hydraulic intensifier to realize its high-pressure water not like the Aqua-Until items of the early 2000s, which used a direct drive piston pump. Intensifiers have a number of engineering and operational benefits over direct-drive techniques.
Martel envisions a system that would come with a 200-400 horsepower engine, hydraulic pump and injection water on a cart feeding the planter — which might be carrying the intensifier.
“Our assessments present the system makes use of about 9 gallons of injection water per acre when planting 30 inch rows at 5.5 mph utilizing a Zero.007 inch nozzle,” he says.