I had heard of seed drilling before, but was clueless as to how it is done. Luckily Mr. S. Driller was a friendly sort of fellow and took the time to describe the process and tell me how his equipment operates. His particular seed drill is fairly small; he explained that you can see drills operating in agricultural areas that are 4 or 5 times the size of his machine. His machine has three hoppers so you can plant three different types of seed, either one at a time or all three at the same time. We were planting a blend of grasses that make up a dry land prairie mixture.
The first wheels of the drill, the ones with the "ripples", cut into the soil. The next discs are mounted on axles at angles. The seed drops into the wider area at the top and and as the discs rotate they deposit the seed in the cut groove as the discs come closer together at the bottom. As the drill moves along, there are wheels that roll over each groove, in effect shutting the cuts made by the first wheel and the planting wheels. Thus, the newly planted seed does not blow away in our strong Colorado winds (today we
Colorado high plains soil is notoriously poor. There is very little organic matter in it and the soil is easily compacted. Seed drilling helps break up the soil and incorporates what few nutrients may be found, dried horse manure, for example. The machine acts like a core aerator introducing oxygen into the soil and breaking up suffocating mats of grass (in a Colorado pasture? Surely you jest Mr. S. Driller!)
We are hoping that we will continue to have some rain to help the seed germinate and flourish. However, Mr. S. Driller did caution that our pasture will not suddenly grow thick and lush This year we can expect to see wimpy wispy blades of grass along the seeding paths. Over the following two years those plants will expand and thicken as long as we have adequate growing conditions and as long as the horses do not overgraze the land.