Hi all. I have a couple questions about the 8500.
Soil penetration, how much "down pressure" so to speak would this unit have? I know down pressure is a term mostly for the disk drills, but that is all I am familiar with.
It appears that high residue is not an issue, but how about root bound soils that are bound with perennial grass roots? Can these openers stay in the ground with that much drag against them?
What other points would you make to a first time operator of such a drill?
I had an 8500 for 8 or 9 years. It's a good drill for conventional- or minimum-till. In no-till the openers can ride up out of the ground in tough or dry conditions.
There isn't really any adjustment for down pressure. You can move the boots up or down and change the angle of the point. The trip spring is the limiting factor and that really isn't adjustable. Once the spring tension is overcome the opener is going to run shallower.
I have a neighbor who still uses an 8500 for seeding wheat in chemfallow no-till. He uses a narrow carbide point and gets decent results in reasonably mellow soil. Hard and/or dry soil will cause his drill to produce a somewhat uneven stand.
I used my 8500 for small grains in a minimum-till situation and had very good results. (When I bought a Flexi 5000 a few years ago I switched to straight no-till.) I had good luck with the drill. Some parts are getting hard to find. Axles for the cart wheels, the drive sprocket which mounts on the right-side cart hub and the bushings for the end of the feed shaft where the rate adjuster is are items that seem to be in short supply.
I found that the 8500 was flexible enough to follow the ground well and the seeding rate was fairly accurate. The parts issue is common to most pieces of equipment that have been out of production for quite a few years. The all run monitor is a nice feature, but you will probably find that the majority of the alerts are false alarms resulting from a worn sensor or broken wire. Not having a hopper-bottom tank makes the drill something of a pain to clean out between crops or at the end of the planting season. That's not a job for an old guy like me, but, my son belongs to FFA (father farms alone
). I was happy to get a drill that was easier to clean out.