USDA Forest Service Boise Aquatic Sciences Lab - Rocky Mountain Research Station








Boise Aquatic Sciences Lab
322 East Front Street
Suite 401
Boise, ID  83702

(208) 373-4340
(208) 373-4391 (FAX)

United States Department of Agriculture Forest Service.

USDA Link Forest Service Link

Grassland, Shrubland and Desert Ecosystem Research Program

Joint Fire Science Program:

Equipment and Strategies to Enhance the Post-wildfire Establishment and Persistence of Great Basin Native Plants


Seed Drills

Boise Shrubland Research


With recent drives to not only include native species, but seed greater diversities of grasses, shrubs, and forbs in post-wildfire restoration efforts, there's a need for seeding equipment that is capable of simultaneously seeding seeds of various size and shape and with many different types of appendages.

For example, small seeds often must be placed on the soil, and pressed, but not buried, into the soil surface.  These small seeds are more successful when broadcasted.  Larger seeds should be covered with soil and therefore do best when placed in a furrow created by a disk.  

Modified Rangeland Drill

Rangeland drill For many years, land managers have used rangeland drills for post-wildfire revegetation efforts.  Such drills have been successful at effectively establishing a few species, often introduced cultivars selected for reliable establishment, fast growth, and palatability for livestock.

This drill is durable and extremely rugged, however the traditional rangeland drill must be modified to accommodate more complex seedings.  Seed tubes can be pulled from the disk assembly to allow seeds to fall on the soil surface rather than into a furrow, but they are not pressed into the soil, and may be buried by soil cast from the adjacent disks.  The addition of three seed boxes allows for broadcast species to be spread.

Drill components

Filling seedboxes with native mix Rangeland drill furrows
Left: Drilled species are placed as the disks create furrows, the chains place some soil over the seeds.  Right: Every other disk is lifted to allow areas for the  broadcast species to be dropped.   Furrows from the modified rangeland drill.


Minimum-till Drill

Minimum-till drill This newer minimum-till drill is a more complex piece of equipment, but is designed to handle seeds with various shapes and sizes, thus allowing a more diverse mix of species to be seeded.

The hydraulic system maintains consistent seeding depths.

Interchangeable drilling disks and brillion cultipackers allow for greater versatility for various seed mixes, including simultaneous seedings of drilled and broadcast species.

Less surface disturbance may be beneficial in conserving bilogical soil crusts and residual natives.

Hydraulic disks

Brillion cultipackers Minimum-till drill tracks
Left: The hydraulic tire/drill creates a furrow for the drilled species which is set by a press wheel, then a chain.  Right: Brillion wheels press broadcast species into the soil. Furrows and brillion tracks left from the minimum-till drill.

USDA Forest Service - RMRS - Boise Aquatic Sciences Lab
Last Modified:  Thursday, 23 June 2016 at 16:49:41 CDT

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