One of the coolest things about trade shows is the “hot off the press” angle many manufacturers take in showcasing their products. This year at the Western Farm Progress Show in Regina, I saw a number of those products. Some of the products are so new, they don’t have pricing yet. It makes for a great atmosphere around the show and it gives companies a chance to showcase what they’re all about and what they bring to the table.  Traditionally the Farm Progress has always promoted new innovations and this year is no different.

Morris Industries is one of the companies using the show to display some of it’s cool new prototype equipment. Historically, Morris has always been in the seeding business, so the making of a disc drill just made sense. We spoke with Don Henry, Morris’s Chief Operating Officer about their new disc drill, some of it’s revolutionary new features, and what drove them to develop it.

If you cannot see the embedded video below click here.

9 thoughts on “Morris Showcases its New Prototype Disk Drill in Regina at Farm Progress

  1. The parallel link is unnecessary and complicated on a walking beam type opener. A single arm is all that is needed because the walking pivot point does not need to be parallel.

    The width of the gauge wheel is too wide for sufficient residue preservation -unless seeding into tilled soil, 4 inches is excessive.

    Also, in dry soil I don’t think that the packer will close, and even if it does, the scrubbing action will powder the soil over top of the seed row (Flexicoil 6000s in my area do that if the surface is dry).

    I was disappointed in the prototype, though I really like the walking beam idea. In a market where the Deere 90 series opener is the bar of which other openers are measured, a single disc drill that only can single shoot (unless banders are used) needs to be phenomenal to compete.

  2. Andy I’m not trying to attack your opinion nor you personally but I feel you have not given this a fair judgement call. To evaluate this product properly you cannot do it by a quick visual inspection. After seeing it in field trials and talking to other farmers who tested it, I’m quite impressed.

    “The parallel link is unnecessary and complicated on a walking beam type opener.” I disagree with this statement. It may not “need” to be a parallel design but it’s a solid design which will stand up to the stress a disc opener can apply in uneven conditions and while turning.

    “The width of the gauge wheel is too wide for sufficient residue preservation -unless seeding into tilled soil, 4 inches is excessive.” Not too sure what your getting here. It is designed for a variety of conditions and has proven to work very well. From what I observed residue preservation was not an issue. This would be something that an agronomist could either deny or confirm.

    “Also, in dry soil I don’t think that the packer will close, and even if it does, the scrubbing action will powder the soil over top of the seed row (Flexicoil 6000s in my area do that if the surface is dry).” I personally did not see this unit in action on loose soil but I did see some dry conditions and the packer did a fantastic job closing. Flexicoil uses a different method/wheel to close so you can’t really compare the two in that way. Comparing apples to oranges.

    “I was disappointed in the prototype, though I really like the walking beam idea. In a market where the Deere 90 series opener is the bar of which other openers are measured, a single disc drill that only can single shoot (unless banders are used) needs to be phenomenal to compete.” How can you be disappointed in something you have not even seen at work? I’ve used the Deere 90 series opener and when I saw this unit I was impressed but I still needed to see it at work before I could make a more accurate judgement call. I do not personally measure equipment by how it works compared to another brand of equipment. My decision is based on actual field trials and how well it works in the various conditions thrown at it. Put whatever color or name on it and it means nothing to me if it does not work. This unit works and works well. I look forward to seeing the outcome of the future field trials.

    I’m not saying that there isn’t room for improvement as all equipment will show it’s flaws over time. Let the field trials and farmers who tested this product confirm or deny it’s ability to perform rather than making a quick visual judgement call.

  3. If a company brings a product to a farm show, I assume I am allowed to make a judgement about it!

    No hard feelings at all. I will gladly defend my opinions. And I would love to see it work, but as a first impression, this is what I thought.

    The parallel link system is probably easy to use because it is on the Contour, but on a walking beam setup, I don’t see that it adds anymore strength or precision to the design. There is still a single pivot point (where the walking beam mounts to the vertical piece). I am unsure if it would be stronger in a turning situation, because the parallel link will be weakest in a twisting situation, which is what turing would do to it. That could rapidly wear the pivot points out.

    Deere offers a narrow gauge wheel on their 90 series drills. Great Plains also has them on their planter units. The fewer wheels/area that is contacted on the ground the better in dry conditions. It is an easy thing to change, and I would imagine that it will be an option to have a narrower one in production.

    I use the exact same wheel on my Pillars, and know that if they are oriented on the angle, they will powder soil. I did notice that there was a hole that allowed them to be adjusted straight as well. Though I imagine they don’t close as well in that configuration. I worry that with the packing how it it, the trench will not be closed well enough and the seed will be in dry soil. This is what happens in our soil conditions with K-harts and other drills without firming wheels. We haven’t had a spring recently without rain, but I need a drill that can germinate seed without a shower.

    Also, bringing a drill to the show without any way of separately applying fertilizer seems very odd! Its not Kansas, and 1890s / SDXs don’t rule the world.

    I would demo this drill for sure. But I sure wouldn’t even consider buying one without seeing one work in my field conditions.

  4. I was certainly not trying to deprive you of making a judgment call as open forums such as this are designed for people to express their feelings. My personal feeling is your opinion just seemed to be a liitle presumptuous for someone who has not seen this machine at work. A person should not try to compare this unit to a “Deere” or “Flexicoil” as far as the mechanics are concerned as it is a completely different design.

    I have been in discussion with various Morris reps and engineers to better understand the reasoning behind some of the design features as I am not an engineer nor a design genius. (If I was I would probably be working for and designing equipment for a reputable operation.) The parallel link that Morris uses is much stronger than a single arm due to it’s design. It’s like comparing a square tubing to flat iron. Square tubing has a lot less flex to it than a piece of flat iron of the same weight. Understanding this, the parallel link being a box frame system that moves up and down in a straight line (eight inches up and eight inches down) is a lot less likely to skew when going around corners enabling the unit to keep uniform spacing of rows. Obviously turning can have potential to create stress on a single pivot point but that all depends on the sturdiness of the design. I believe the unit on display at Farm Progress had already seeded well over 3500 acres and so far no stress fractures nor abnormal wear has been observed.

    In regards the wheels, again you cannot compare how the “same” wheel will react on two different desisgns. The packing wheel on the Morris design has consistent pressure due to using hydraulics and an accumulator as opposed to a spring pressure design which is inconsistent as the opener moves up and down. Mechanically different designs will create different outcomes as well. Again you can’t compare apples to oranges.

    I don’t care what kind of machine and or closer you use, if you don’t get the seed into the moisture it will still be in dry dirt. What has been noticed with this machine so far by adjusting packing pressure you can ensure excellent closure helping to prevent further drying. In fact in some situations too much pressure had been applied for trial purposes and it was noted that it may have been packed too tightly. I was personally in a field in very dry conditions and I was very impressed with the closure of the seed row. On another note the extra hole that you noticed was for another angle but it was not straight. Remember they said this is a prototype and not a production unit.

    Again this being a prototype unit should explain the absence of separately applying fertilizer. At the show I asked one of the Morris design engineers how they planned on applying fertilizer. They have a few options in mind but they want to do a little more testing first. You may also want to note that Morris sells around the world and not just in Canada. There are still many places around the world that do not apply fertilizer in one pass.

    As I noted before I am not a subject matter expert so I think you would be wise to talk directly to some of the people at Morris who can properly answer your questions. I don’t agree with some of your opinions on the product but I don’t expect you to agree with all of mine either. I personally look forward to seeing the future progress of this drill design and I hope you find what you’re looking for.

  5. Shawn, that’s an interesting question.

    I have owned and operated the Deere drill and for the most part liked how it worked. I believe that the Morris design has solved a few issues that I didn’t like about the Deere design. The Morris drill is much lighter and has in my opinion better penetration due to the walking beam design. The mechanics of this design naturally forces the disc down to achieve the excellent penetration.

    With any disc machine there are bearings to replace so I like that the Morris design has fewer rolling parts per opener therefore fewer bearings to eventually replace. Spring tension is simple but applies different forces depending on how far up or down each opener is. With the Morris design this has been addressed by using hydraulic pressure and an accumulator creating consistent pressure in any position.

    Gauge wheels tend to fill up with mud in wet conditions so having an open spoke design is really intriguing as well. Another thing I noticed on the Morris was the seed flow has a natural front to back motion being much gentler on the seed.

    I really believe that with these improvements Deere should be concerned.

  6. I would gladly take a demo, and hopefully there will be one at a local dealer next year. Bring it out and we’ll play! The wheels (both packer and gauge) running on a ‘scrub’ scare me in the dry years. No matter how the opener is designed, running wheels at an angle (toe in or out from direction of travel) will produce that effect.

    I agree that the fewer bearings the better. But I would go further to pivot points as well. I don’t think the parallel link is needed, but we already knew that!

    The Deere needs improvement in its seed boot. It is designed to be wider than the trench, so it has to be adjusted to ride just above the soil surface. Exapta in the midwestern US is coming with a new boot that addresses this issue.

    Those spoked wheels can be bought from a company in Manitoba (in the green book). A good idea for wet conditions and for bearing life.

    I fear that the Morris disc will plug in wet soil that is thrown into the back rank by the front. I think it will sit between the hub/scraper/hose and may act as a brake on the disc. It happens on our Pillars in wet Chemfallow and it looks similar here. It may need a shield to combat this.

    In order to be sold someplace other than the dry area of the Prairies, I think that some sort of residue manager or anti-hairpinning device needs to be used. The truly successful disc drill for the prairies as a whole has to incorporate some sort of technology to deal with heavy residue (and its not a heavy harrow!). Have heard of guys that had discs and had to go away from them because they grew too much residue and were not getting good seed to soil contact.

    Mike -after having run a Deere disc, do you think that a seed firming wheel is needed? I know it is only an option on the SDXs, but some guys swear by them, and some swear at them! Or will the packing wheel be enough to close the trench and pack the seed. Obviously it is a different packer than a cast wheel on the Deere -and even more of a departure from the aftermarket spiked closers available.

  7. The positioning and direction of the seed tube and boot seem to place the seed very nicely. Combine this with the close proximity of the packing wheel I really don’t see a need for the firming wheel. My direct experience with this drill is still limited so I would like to see for myself how it works in a few more different conditions. The farmers that I have talked to who were able to test it were extremely pleased with how it worked in various conditions.

    In regards to wet conditions I was able to talk to one farmer about his experience during some wet and rainy conditions. He said that he was able to seed in much wetter conditions than his neighbors using non disc drills. He did not mention anything about the discs plugging nor stopping. Again I’m thinking it has something to do with the position and direction of the seed tube and boot.

    Part of my personal experience observing this drill was on ten year old pasture with a tremendous amount of residue. I know this is somewhat different than a stubble field with a lot of loose straw but hair pinning was not an issue and seed placement was excellent everywhere I checked. I would personally like to see how it responds in a “high trash” stubble field but I have heard some positive feedback.

  8. I would like to know why more people are not going back to using the old faithful double disk drill that k-hart and salford manufacture. Is it simply the area and too dry to utilize on their no-till farms or is it something actual mechanical that puts a user in a disposition. I ask this because k-hart was mentioned along with great plains.

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