The arrangement will see Clean Seed license its Smart Seeder technologies to the joint venture, while Norwood will build the machines and contribute its front-folding frame rights, cart, hydraulics and other technologies.
As for the new seeding unit design, it will be available in two models — the Smart Seeder Max and the Smart Seeder Max S. The Max will feature a similar metering system as the CX-6 on the lighter front-folding frame, while the Max S includes new vacuum-based singulation capability.
“It will singulate products such as canola, peas, corn, soybeans, hemp, and it is an addition on (to the existing metering system),” Rush says, noting they’ve also added planter control functions, including downforce and singulation control, as well as new cloud-based software for collecting and processing field data.
To start, the new Max models will be available in a 60′ width on 12″ row spacing. Rush says he expects a 40′ unit will also be available soon.
The opener design will also be evolving “from the traditional Smart Seeder opener into an opener that’s more accepted on the planter side, because we do have the controls, we have singulation now, so now we’re going to be adapting to the planter market in those widths,” he says.
“It’s really in new class. It’s not a planter. It’s not an air seeder. It’s not a double-disc drill. It’s really what I consider the first true hybrid, which is one pass singulation and nutrient placement in a no-till setting,” says Rush.
The more compact frame design will also be easier to ship overseas than the original CX-6, says Rush, potentially opening up markets in Australia and South America. Rocky Mountain Equipment continues to have distribution rights in Western Canada.
Rush says they plan to roll out the first new units this spring, with demonstrations planned for later in the planting season.