Overview :

Most No-Till planters that you find in South Africa are manufactured in Brazil. The Brazilians have certainly pioneered in this farming method and wasn’t it for their equipment that was imported our farmers wouldn’t be able to apply the No-Till practices as much as they are today.

8-row Monosem planting No-Till around Lichtenburg

No-Till maize planted with a Monosem in Natal

In South Africa we have learned many things from the Brazilians when it comes to planting without any tillage in advance but nevertheless their climate, soil structure and planting conditions are very different from ours.  Because of their high rainfall the Brazilian planters are designed to accommodate more planter units than what is normally used on their frames in South Africa. What the SA farmer uses as a 6-row at 90cm was designed to be an 11-row at 45cm.  While their planters are build to carry the planter units at 45cm distance our most common row distance in South Africa is 75cm or wider. Many farmers that use Brazilian planters in South Africa find the heavy weight of the machines a big disadvantage.  These machines have such a heavy frame construction because the Brazilian planter construction does also not allow for the planter wheels to run between the planter units. Their wheels are mounted in front of the units which makes their heavier machines longer too.  So, besides the great abilities of the No-Till planters from Brazil to plant right into your previous crop, right into thick stubble, their disadvantages are also quite obvious : The farmer needs a bigger tractor to pull, will consume more diesel and will waste more area while turning than necessary.

The advantages of the Monosem planter frame :

The Monosem No-Till planter has a shorter frame construction and the planter wheels are located between the planter units.  This does not only make the Monosem planter very manoeuvrable but precise fertiliser placement is also ensured due to the short distance from the fertiliser tine to the seed coulter.  This is of utmost significance when planting on slopes and contours where your planting line isn’t straight.

Wheels are positioned between the planter units

The short frame of a Monosem No-Till planter

Since this Monosem No-Till planter pulls much lighter your diesel consumption will be less compared to the Brazilian models.  An other advantage is that the fertilizer bins are mounted low. They are easily accessible for filling and the tractor driver’s view backwards over the machine onto the newly planted lines is not so much restricted.

The Monosem No-Till Coulter & Tine :

The Monosem No-Till planter is equipped with a straight cutting coulter which cuts through the stubble.  A powerful spring loaded fertiliser tine with an aggressive penetration angle pulls the cutting coulter and planter into the ground.

The coulter is 457mm in diameter.  It is held in a fork-type mounting arm and runs on a hub with two large tapered bearings protected by triple lip seals.  The fertiliser tine has an impressive spring that holds it in the ground. It is designed to trip only after a force of 500kg if it hits a rock and kick back into its working position afterwards.  This ensures planting without any interruptions for shear bolt replacement even in the hardest soils.

The Monosem No-Till planter unit “NX” :

The short and sturdy linkage of the Monosem No-Till planter unit “NX” enables the placement of seeds off the fertiliser line.

When planting in heavy No-Till conditions other planter units usually tend to pull themselves into the trench that has been cut by the coulter and fertiliser tine.  Even if the planter units are set to put the seeds some 5cm left or right off the fertiliser line a weak linkage will not keep the planter units where they are supposed to work but the harder ground will push the planter unit sideways to run into the softer soil where the fertiliser had been placed.

Monosem No-Till planter unit “NX”

For this reason many No-Till farmers have given up to try and put their fertiliser out off line but have instead set the planter units in line while they try their best to make sure the seeds end up in line but higher up than the fertiliser. 

This also proves to be quite difficult when in some conditions the fertiliser trench doesn’t properly close before the seeds are put on top.  Even if the trench cut by the fertiliser tine does close there is the risk that air-pockets remain underneath the seed because the tine had cut a lot deeper than the seeding depth which will hinder proper root growth later when the plants are young. No such worries are necessary when planting with the Monosem NX planter.  The planter units are built so sturdy and rugged with a short and strong parallel linkage that it can keep itself 5cm off the fertiliser line even under hard conditions.

No-Till farmer Steve Stamp next to his planter

After planting some 400Ha with his new 6-row Monosem No-Till planter in varying Natal Midlands soil conditions, farmer Steve Stamp is convinced that Monosem lived up to its claim of class leading results in seed placement.

“Monosem have designed a compact highly manoeuvrable No-Till planter that competes in the heavyweight division.  The machine is strikingly simple in functionality without compromising accuracy.  It’s open plan design makes maintenance and adjustments operator friendly.  Most importantly, the backup and interest displayed by the Carrotech team in meeting customer requirements is exemplary” says Steve.

Furthermore he comments :

  • The Monosem No-Till trash cutting coulter is robust and efficient at various depth settings.
  • The fertiliser tine is also extremely robust in construction with significant spring pressure directly acting on the tine which trips where necessary and returns without interruption to the planting operation. Care must be exercised in not placing fertiliser too deep and the fertiliser delivery pipe must be adjusted accordingly.
  • The Fertisystem® fertiliser distribution system on the Monosem planters is accurate and surprisingly simple in design and function.  Each auger’s performance can be seen from the driver’s position and the auger screws can easily be removed for maintenance.
  • The short, wide and robust parallel linkage of the new Monosem NX planter unit allows seed to be placed accurately off the fertiliser line.
  • The fertiliser and seed drive train is positioned above the trash, soil and debris contact zone. Again it is of a simple straight forward design with significantly few chains and sprockets. Calibration changes are easily executed and the system requires minimum maintenance.