The Bourgault Side-banding Opener
In the early 90's,side-bander openers were promoted by a number of agronomic experts as a practical method of placing all the nitrogen requirements down safely in a single pass. Various manufacturers developed and released a wide range of openers. Just as each of these manufacturers did, in the early 90’s Bourgault began developing a side-bander opener. Considerable time and money was invested in the attempt to develop a one-pass opener that worked well in all the conditions that can be present at seeding time. Despite numerous attempts, Bourgault could not achieve the seedbed quality, or the fertilizer separation that was vitally important to crop safety. Surprisingly, Bourgault found after conducting side by side comparisons, competitor's side-banders worked no better than the Bourgault prototype. It was then that Bourgault realized there were fundamental flaws with the actual practice of side-banding.
 

Photo of Bourgault Prototype Side-bander

Side-banding Test Showing Soil Disturbance

High Risk System Endangered Producers

It was during this testing phase that Bourgault designers found that side-banding in many cases caused unacceptable seedbed disruption resulting in premature seedbed dry out, uneven seeding depth, and/or seed-to-fertilizer contact.
Bourgault determined that the side-banding concept was a very high risk method of applying seed and fertilizer in one pass, and decided to pursue an alternative method. The development of a Bourgault side-bander opener was terminated.
 

Development of Mid Row Banding Systems

Bourgault teamed up with Garry and Glen Meier of Ridgedale, Saskatchewan, Canada to develop an innovative one-pass seeding system. Garry’s work as the northeast regional soil conservation specialist for the SSCA allowed him to see that the dual-shoot openers on the market were designed to work in a particular soil type and condition, but were inconsistent in a wider range, particularly heavy clays.
Development focused on a coulter style bander that could incorporate the complete nitrogen requirements for the crop between every second seed row. Mid row placement also provide enough distance to prevent the nitrogen from injuring the seed, but close enough for the seedling roots to quickly find the fertilizer. Coulters allowed for fertilizer placement with very little soil disruption, helping to preserve existing moisture and standing stubble. A narrow seed opener could now be used to also minimize soil disturbance.
 

Prototype Mid Row Banding System

Early Systems Placed MRBs Behind Seed Openers

Bourgault Mid Row Banders Enter the Market

Initial prototypes and testing proved that they had a winning concept in their hands. Bourgault entered the marketplace in 1996 with the first generation of Mid Row Banders. Designs were updated and perfected as the market became more aware of the Bourgault MRB® system. Today, Bourgault Seeding Systems with Mid Row Banders® can be found in most of the small grain growing regions of the world.


Next Topic - Seedbed Integrity