IT HAS been a nice and wet autumn for many Aussie farmers, particularly in the south east of the nation and the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) is forecasting a wet winter ahead.
This is great news for the cropping sector, but it has meant a difficult season for those with disc seeding systems.
There has been a marked increase in the use of disc seeders, with farmers loving the absolute minimum of soil disturbance and the ability to slice through heavy dry stubbles with ease.
However, the system has its limitations in the wet, with mud build-up on the discs and wheels a particular impediment.
This year, with frequent rain, many of those with discs have been cooling their heels in frustration while their neighbours' tined rigs have been all systems go.
However, some tinkering from the team at RFM NT, which played a key role in developing no-till planters during the 1990s, has made an advance they say helps farmers with discs keep going for longer.
"You look at the disc seeder and the weak point is always the gauge wheel, caking up with mud or trash or whatever," said RFM NT principal Paul Ryan.
"We had a go at a CWS (coiled wheel system) for discs previously and it was OK, but we've made some alterations, primarily to the coil itself and we are really happy with the way it has worked," Mr Ryan said.
The system involves a springed coil wheel, which has flex in it and allows much more dirt to pass through, meaning it self-cleans better and does not lead to caking or smearing.
One of the farmers trialling the new CWS is Warracknabeal, Victoria, farmer Bernard Lindsay.
Brad Jenkinson, who is seeding for Mr Lindsay, said the wheels were working.
"With a disc you can run into trouble when it gets a bit wet, but with these coil wheels we've been able to get onto the paddocks even though it has still been fairly sticky," Mr Jenkinson said.
"Given the importance of getting the crop in on time it is great not to be losing as much time to wet weather as you normally would with a disc.
"The discs are proven to do a great job dry sowing and this year they are standing up well to a tined rig in the wet."
Mr Ryan said the wheels were designed to be retrofitted to a range of planter units.
"We've had six units using them this planting season across a range of soil types from the Wimemra down into the Western District and it is working well, even on those sticky black Wimmera clays."
"It was good timing with the wet autumn, they say that necessity is the mother of invention and people needed something to help them get through the wet soils this sowing so this was a good test for the units."