Grains Research and Development

Knife versus winged points

In an on-farm seeder comparison, in-furrow moisture, crop establishment, head number and yield were all substantially improved when winged points and paired rows were used compared with a knife point seeder (see Table 1).

Table 1: On-farm comparison of a knife point seeder compared with a winged point, paired row seeder on water repellent sand and sandy gravel at Badgingarra in 2011. Yield differences were determined from paired hand harvest index cuts.

Soil type Seeder type Volumetric soil moisture (%) Crop establishment (plants/m2) Number of heads/m2 Grain yield (t/ha)
Furrow Ridge
Pale deep sand Knife points - - 97 180 1.2
Winged points + paired rows - - 201 298 1.8
Sandy gravel Knife points 2.2 4.8 95 299 4.0
Winged points + paired rows 4.2 2.6 222 387 5.4

It should be noted that while the yield responses on the water repellent areas were quite large as measured with paired hand cuts, paddock harvest gave an average grain yield advantage of 200 kg/ha for the winged point-paired row system.

This suggests that most of the overall yield gain was obtained from the increases in the relatively small water repellent areas.

While it is not possible to determine which aspect of seeder design was most important from a seeder comparison it does demonstrate the type of benefits that an improved seeding system can have.

In a research trial at Balla, north of Geraldton in 2011, knife points and winged points were compared. Only with winged knife points was there a trend towards improved crop establishment and more tillers, but there was no difference in grain yield (see Table 2).

In this trial banded wetting agents improved crop establishment and tiller number even when knife points were used (see Table 2). The advantage of the approach is that it can be applied over the entire cropping area with water repellent soils and would have a relatively low cost if only the seeding points and press wheels needed to be changed.

Table 2: Impact of seeding point type and banded wetting agent on crop.

Seeding point type Banded wetting agent Water droplet penetration time (secs) Crop establishment (plants/m2) Shoot number/m2 in June 2011 Grain yield (t/ha)
Knife points No banded wetting agent 15 172 223 2.55
Winged points 8 191 273 2.56
Knife points With banded wetting agent 2 209 285 2.53
Winged points 2 188 268 2.50

Click here to link to the full Crop Updates 2012 report, or download the PDF below.