Farm Machinery, Seeders

Bourgault Australia continues to go big

Bourgault Australia is preparing for its new deep knife drill to reach full production, but it is far from the only big thing on the company’s radar

Bourgault knows about the word big.

Anyone who has ever used the Canadian manufacturer’s machinery knows it is designed to handle the biggest jobs, its 9000 I Air Carts with 45,000L-plus capacities being one prominent example of this.

Its latest addition to the Australian market – the 4420 DKD deep knife drill – is further evidence of this fact, being capable of comfortably working at depths of around six inches (15cm).

Combine all of this with the fact Bourgault is celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2024 and it becomes clear that not only are the manufacturer’s machines big, but this year is too.

Founded in the Canadian province of Saskatchewan in 1974, the company’s growth journey features Australia at the forefront – making the celebration one which Bourgault believes local customers should feel part of.

Australia was the first overseas market to which Bourgault expanded in the late 1990s and these shores remain crucial to the manufacturer’s success, being a frequent testing ground during the research and development processes of new products.

This has led to instances of products being developed for the unique demands and harsh environments of the Australian market, of which the 4420 DKD is a recent example.

Announced by Bourgault late last year, and first shown to the public at field days during the spring of 2023, the 4420 DKD is about to step up to full production in the coming months.

One of the biggest changes of the 4420 DKD compared to previous drills produced by Bourgault lies in the name – deep knife drill – with the latest unit having a new generation frame with an all new opener with independent fertiliser knife and seed closer.

The front fertiliser knife works to a considerable depth, being optimised for depths of 12cm to 16.5cm below the surface according to Bourgault, and is followed by a seed placing closer that is parallel with a packing wheel.

The 4420 DKD had extensive testing in Australia. Image: Bourgault

Bourgault’s Western Australian operations manager Ben Bulley says customers who have already used the 4420 DKD have relayed positive feedback in several areas.

“The main positive feedback relates to seed placement and good germination of the planted crop, and we believe that comes from some of the design features of the deep knife opener,” he says.

“It holds well in the ground, so it has a good shattering effect of the subsoil. This helps to bring moisture up that may be down in the subsoil and it also helps the roots to establish and find any moisture that is collected there from any rainfall.

“Our packer wheel has quite a good high packing ability and is adjustable so you can tailor it to suit the conditions.

“What that does is firm the seed bed and just pushes a little bit of soil closely in around the seed, squeezing some of that air out of the soil – so you get good seed-soil contact.

“Once you get that, the seed will germinate well and resist disease, helps resist drought, and you get an early strike, quick germination, and you can see the crop coming up out of the ground quite rapidly.”

The 4420 DKD also has a heavy duty forward shank with on-the-go adjustable hydraulic breakout between 68kg and 450kg, plus a 16mm wide knife point.

A heavy-duty rear frame and robust frame construction can accommodate drill-mounted liquid tanks.

Ben says the ability to carry up to 5,000L of liquid on board is important, particularly in markets such as Western Australia where he is noticing increased uptake of liquid fertilisers.

The 4420 DKD also has a ground-following 1:1 contour ratio, easy packing pressure adjustment with a cordless impact driver and easy depth adjustment with a simple handle and pin.

Large tyres, a steerable front axle and floating hitch ensure optimal depth control and superior tracking.

Another significant benefit is the ability for both sizes – which have 12m and 18m working widths – to fold up to just 5.5m for transport.

Bourgault’s new 4420 deep knife drill. Image: Bourgault

It is a product specifically designed for Australian farmers which has undergone plenty of testing to ensure it will be the ideal fit.

“We completed the field trials and prototyping last seeding season, and since then we’ve imported and received the first limited production run of factory production machines,” Ben says.

“We’re in the process of building those now to ship out to some customers that have purchased and Bourgault will also be running some of these machines as demonstrators through this season.

“It’s still early days and the quantities are quite limited. There are several reasons for that, but it’s mainly to do with production.

“Once it goes from prototyping to a production machine, you only want to produce around a dozen or so machines in that first run, just to make sure everything fits together properly the way it should.

“Everything is positive though and we’re looking forward to getting these machines back into the field and operating again.

“The next production run is in June this year and that’s when the company will be ramping up the machine to go into full production.

“There are two production runs slated for 2024, and we’ll have shipments coming in through the year, ready for customers for 2025.”

Big air

Bourgault’s 4420 DKD is a step up – or down, to be geometrically accurate – from previous drills, and is in keeping with the company’s broader philosophy of producing big machines.

This is particularly true when considering the 9000 I Series of Air Carts, which Bourgault says are the largest in the world.

The manufacturer’s biggest model in this range – the 91300 – offers a capacity of 45,810L split across four tanks, allowing broadacre farmers to seed for longer without needing to refill.

The next two models down, the 9950 and 9650 – which still have impressive capacities of 33,470L and 22,900L respectively – are both available as leading or trailing air carts.

This feature means the L9950 is the largest leading air cart on the market, Bourgault says.

Individual weigh scales across the 9000 I Series models allow users to ensure a precise amount of seed is being released, while also highlighting the fact these carts are packed with technology to ensure easy and efficient usage.

Numerous tyre options are available across the range to minimise ground compaction – an important issue with heavy machinery – and help ensure a consistent germination.

The 4420 DKD has a new design for deep cutting. Image: Bourgault


All of this is occurring at a milestone time for Bourgault, which celebrates a half-century in business in 2024.

As part of this, all machines being delivered throughout the year will have a 50th anniversary decal on them.

“The company is very proud of its history and it has a lot of long term employees,” Ben says.

“A lot of employees have been with the company for 20 or 30 years and you get a lot of loyalty and consistency through that.”

Bourgault Australia was founded in 1997 and Ben believes this long history Down Under, plus Australia’s importance to Bourgault globally, are reasons to celebrate the company’s milestone.

“Australia is the first overseas market that Bourgault ventured into and it’s still a very key and important market,” he says.

“This is also part of the reason why they’ve been willing to develop the 4420 Drill for us. That was developed for Australia and they did it because this market is important.”

Bourgault Australia has full distribution centres on both sides of the country – located in Perth and Albury – with company staff and a full stock of spare parts for its products at each.

Bourgault’s full Australian product range and dealer network can be viewed at

Send this to a friend