EUDUNDA farmer Jason Pfitzner launched his own seeding system in January last year, after becoming frustrated with options that were previously available to him.
Since then, his rootboot system has been warmly welcomed by graingrowers and sold across SA and into WA, as well as receiving interest from the eastern states.
His seeding system also saw him become the recipient of the Brand SA innovation award for the Barossa Valley region in 2013. Brand SA is a not-for-profit, member-based organisation that uniquely connects the SA government, media and businesses, to promote confidence and pride in the state's creativity, innovation and industriousness.
Mr Pfitzner said he was very happy with the response the rootboot system had received from croppers across Australia.
"It's been great so far, I've received a lot of enquiry from my customers neighbours and had many requests to fit my boots to different tyne configurations" he said.
"I had a product release in Esperance, WA, in December, and had a fantastic response, with a few farmers committed to buying the product."
The performance of the rootboot was favorable in a South Australian No-Till Farmers Association disc seeder demonstration undertaken at Australia Plains last year.?
The trial was sown at Australia Plains on May 15, and received 180 millimetres of rainfall during the growing season. It compared the rootboot and razor disc to an established seeding system comprised of a single disc with a gauge wheel, seed firmer and a furrow closer, which drops seed to the bottom of the disc slot and covers the seedbed with loose soil.
Trial results showed:
- The established disc seeding system achieved 77.8 kilograms per hectolitre test weight, compared to the rootboot's 78.8kg/hl.
- Moisture was 10.7 per cent with the established system, compared to 10.6pc with the rootboot.
- Sceenings were 6.7pc with the established system, and only 4.6pc with the use of the rootboot.
- Yield from the use of the established product was 1.32 tonnes to the hectare, compared 1.65t/ha with the rootboot.
Observations from the demonstration included some pre-emergent herbicide damage in the established seeding systems, having a knock-on effect on early vigour and root growth and higher weed pressure.
The creation of the rootboot started back in 2011, where Jason had experienced extremely poor crop emergence from imprecise seed placement with minimal soil moisture.
"This was the straw that broke the camels back," he said.
" I had experienced poor emergence before, but in more marginal country and was currently testing one of my early paired row prototypes to overcome this problem, it was showing some potential.
"I wanted a paired row seeding system that can hold up to severe stony conditions, have superior wear protection, place seed in the right spot with minimal soil throw and place fertiliser adjacent to the seed (not deep banded)."
Mr Pfitzner had always had an interest in disc seeders, and the biological advantages they can offer to the soil, but was concerned about some of the problems surrounding them including poor early crop vigour, high maintenance and the price tag.
Not satisfied with the systems available, and being no stranger to creating his own equipment, Mr Pfitzner engineered the rootboot system.
The first of the systems he created was a seed/fertiliser/liquid fertiliser boot that was bolted behind a tyne that uses the knife-point to open the soil and delivers paired seed rows. The fertiliser and liquid product is placed between the paired seed rows with a buffer zone of soil between the seed and fertiliser.
The rootboot razor uses a disc to open the soil, cutting through all residue and weeds from the previous season. The disc is able to penetrate the soil at any depth with no effect on seed depth and placement, and gives paired seed rows.?
The boot's depth is governed by a presswheel that firms the soil between the seed rows, not above the seed. It also eliminates seed-bounce by having soil flow over its seed outlets, encapsulating the seed on clean chemical-free soil.
* Full report in Stock Journal, January 30, 2014 issue.