One of the biggest problems faced by farmers when using a planter is sidewall compaction which can cause uneven emergence and poor germination. Sidewall compaction occurs when your planter’s gauge wheels pack down the soil on either side of the furrow during planting.
The gauge wheels carry the weight of your planter, which means they are pressing down on the soil which creates significant packing pressure on your soil. Sidewall compaction has been a problem for over 30 years, and farmers around the world have tried to modify their planters closing systems to try and overcome it.
As you know, the traditional rubber closing wheels that most planters come with can’t solve the problem; therefor a spiked closing wheel is the only solution to your problem.
When the first spiked closing wheels hit the market over 20 years ago most farmers would run a spike on one side of their closing tailpiece and a rubber wheel on the other side. The thought was that running one rubber and one spike would ensure that the spiked closing wheel was not too aggressive and would grab the seed out of the ground and pull it to the surface. They thought that by running a standard rubber closing wheel on one side it would help set the depth so that the spikes were not too aggressive.
More and more spiked closing wheels began to hit the market with almost all of them designed to help with sidewall compaction by crumbling the sidewalls. However, none of them would provide any firming action – they were simply designed to crumble the sidewalls.
While this would increase yield over the standard rubber closing wheels there was still yield being left in the field that was untapped – until the Copperhead Ag Furrow Cruiser was invented.
South Dakota Farmers, Todd Terveen and Kevin Berg wanted to design a spiked closing wheel that would not only crumble the sidewalls but also refirm the crumbled sidewall soil back around the seed creating the perfect seed to soil contact.
After countless tests, the final result was a poly spiked closing wheel where the spike size could vary based on the crop being planted and a beveled bottom that would take the loose soil and firm it from the side back around the seed ensuring perfect seed to soil contact.
The test results from their new closing wheels were incredible! Independent studies verified that by not only crumbling the sidewalls but refirming the soil back around the seed it would generate a 10 bushel per acre yield bump in corn and 5 bushel bump in Soybeans over the rubber closing wheels.
There was also yield bump of 5 bushels in corn and 2 bushel in beans per acre advantage over the other spiked models on the market due to the firming action of the newly invented closing wheel, the Furrow Cruiser.
When Todd and Kevin designed the Furrow Cruiser, they designed them as a poly ring that would allow for easy install. You simply remove the rubber from the existing wheels by splitting the rims and installing the poly ring in place of the rubber.
They also designed a complete wheel which comes with a hub and an upgraded bearing for those farmers whose hubs and bearings also needed replacing. If you’re a no-till farmer, they also designed a 1 piece cast iron version called the Cruiser Xtreme that allows no-till you to better penetrate the ground due to the weight of the cast iron wheel.
When we’re talking with farmers about the advantages of the Furrow Cruiser we like to use a 5 bushel per acre yield bump figure in corn and 2 bushel per acre in Beans.
So if a farmer grows 1000 acres of corn and gets an additional 5 bushels per acre that would lead to an additional 5000 bushels over the 1000 acres. Even if you use a $5.00 per bushel corn price that would be an additional $25,000 in year 1 to the farmer for an upgrade that typically costs around $150 per row of planter.
The same math in a 1000 bushels of beans using a $10 per bushel bean price would mean a profit of $20,000 in year 1.
On a 2000 acre farm with a 24 row planter it would cost you $3600 dollars to gain $45,000 in profit in year 1.
In the example above the life of the poly ring is 500 acres per row so it would last the farmer 12,000 acres or 6 years. This means that it would generate $270,000 over the life of the wheels on a $3600 investment.