I Purchased a New Drill ... Now What?
A basic guide to prepare your new Bourgault Seeding System.

The purchase of any new equipment is typically the end result of many months of deliberating and contemplating the best choice of features, functionality/ease of use, productivity gains, maintenance costs, resale value and initial price that will position your farm to be more successful in the future.
The excitement and anticipation of putting this new equipment to use can quickly be replaced by the frustration and difficulty of learning how to use it properly.  The days of “winging-it” with your new equipment for the first days/weeks are over!

The equipment is capable of so much more now than even a few years ago, but the increased technical complexity along with the potential for huge liability/losses associated should encourage you to take the time to learn how to properly operate this new equipment before the hectic seeding season.  Learning how to properly use a new piece of equipment is no longer measured in hours...but days, with full confidence only coming after a week or more of operation.  Consider also that there have been record sales of new ag equipment the last couple of years, so your selling dealership may not have the resources you were once accustomed to for start-up support.  Choosing to take the time to learn your new seeding system before the seeding rush will prepare you for success and allow you to enjoy not only the benefits of your investment, but the time you spend with it.

Below are some suggested steps to take to aid in making your new equipment experience a success:
Make an extensive list of items and work required to ensure the tractor, drill, and monitor are all matched and working.  The purchase, installation, and set-up should be coordinated and completed well in advance of the seeding season.
  • What tractor will you be using? - Can it meet the hydraulic requirements for the air seeder fan(s) option and rates you will be applying?  (Do I need to upgrade the tractor's hydraulic couplers to ¾"?)  Does it have an appropriate hitch for the seeding system?
  • What drill unit will your air seeder be coupled with?  Are any “upgrades” or changes needed to ensure compatibility?  Do the hydraulic lines on each unit match?  Does the product line(s) on the air seeder match the air kit on the drill? Are the hitches compatible?
  • What are your monitor requirements? GPS signal is very important for the proper operation of the X30 system.  Make sure you have the appropriate cables and connectors to complete the hook-up. Install the X30, then test and confirm a signal is being received – do not leave this until the last minute!
  • NH3/Liquid systems need to be decided upon purchased and installed to again avoid the last minute problems associated with these items. Are you installing a single section system or multiple section system?  Test the system thoroughly, as an incorrect cable or harness can set the entire process back weeks if not available.
  • Will you be performing precision seeding that requires variable rate maps?  It is very important to prepare yourself and the X30 Seeder Controller before you can successfully implement variable rate seeding into your daily seeding program.  If you plan to work with a third party provider, it will require a concerted effort to ensure they have all the information needed to complete your maps correctly and on time.
  • A sure-fire solution for best results with your new system is to provide your selling dealer your tractor for first time hook-up of the complete system (tractor, tillage unit, air-seeder and monitor). Many problems can occur if assumptions are made regarding hook-ups and monitor installations, especially if multiple dealers are involved.  When the dealer has the complete system they can perform the operational checks to ensure all systems are compatible and no items have been overlooked.
The Operator's Manual - An Essential Part of the Success Equation
Once the above items are under control, you can focus on learning all about your new equipment.
There is no better resource for any new owner/operator than the Operator’s Manual.  Even if you are a long time air seeder operator and know how they work, equipment has evolved.  The benefit you will derive from your new drill can only be maximized by understanding all the different features and how they work together.  The details provided in the operator’s manual are essential.

In addition to the operator manual you can access other training resources on the Bourgault website.  If you look under Service & Parts > Frequently Asked Questions, there are many very specific instructions related to the operation and set-up of the X30, calibration, GPS connections etc.  Electronic copies of the operator’s manuals and parts information can also be viewed and printed from the Bourgault website by going to Service & Parts > Parts Books & Operator’s Manuals. (Login as Guest)

The operator’s manual and the resources on the website are particularly valuable when training on the X30 Seeder Controller.  The X30 comes with a power supply, allowing you to bring it to your home/office where you can familiarize yourself with navigating to the different set-up screens and simulate actual seeding scenarios in comfort.  Different set-ups screens (i.e. one for wheat, canola, barley etc.) can be completed prior to the seeding season so you can simply select it when required.  Investing the time in self training during the winter will not only save you time in the seeding season but make your X30 experience that much more enjoyable.

Your selling dealership and Bourgault conduct a new owner’s clinic at their location each year prior to the seeding season.  There you will receive in-person training on your X30 and Bourgault seeding system.  Hands-on training from experienced techs will provide you a high degree of confidence in your new seeding system.  We recommend reading the operator’s manual and experimenting with your X30 at home before attending.  All the X30 monitors, op manuals will be shipped to your selling dealership before the end of January 2014, so make sure to pick up your monitor and manuals, even if your new drill has not been delivered yet.

Once spring arrives, take some time to “practice” some of the more important functions in the yard or on that first piece of dry ground in a field prior to actually going seeding.  Not only does this build your confidence but will also alert you to any potential problems.

By following these important recommendations, you will be well on your way to getting the most out of your investment.  Our success is making sure you are successful with your new Bourgault seeding system.

This article was first published in the Winter 2013 edition of the Cutting Edge.  Go to our Cutting Edge library for downloads of current and past issues.