Double Your Planting Speed

01/20/2014 @ 1:55pm

Precision Planting’s new seed delivery system promises accurate seeding at higher speeds.

“Available time for optimum spring planting is both limited and critical, and larger planters are not the answer to growing farm sizes,” says Jason Stoller, Precision Planting. “But poor planting speed is limited by the constraints of the seed tube, because higher speeds lead to poor spacing.” Precision Planting’s solution is the SpeedTube, which would replace the seed tube.

  The SpeedTube

The Problem
With the conventional meter and seed tube system, there are two main phenomena that happen as planting speed increases. “The first is what we refer to as the elevator effect,” says Ian Radtke, Precision Planting. “When you plant faster, the meter starts bouncing up and down, accelerating vertically. This creates an inconsistent release into the seed tube. So right away as seeds are released from the disc, there is a spacing error that gets worse as they travel down the seed tube.

“The second issue that you run into at higher speeds is bounce and roll in the seed furrow,” adds Radtke. “The faster you go the greater the difference between the speed of that seed as it exits the seed tube and hits the ground. That speed difference causes sporadic spacing as well.”

The Solution
“To correct that what we’ve done is eliminate the problem, which is the free fall from the meter to the ground through the seed tube,” explains Radtke. Feeder wheels at the top of the SpeedTube grab the seed from the disc and pull it into a flighted belt that deposits it near the bottom of the seed trench. The SpeedTube belt spins at a rate that increases and decreases with planter speed and seed rates, ensuring that the seed placement is optimal.  The SpeedTube works exclusively with Precision Planting’s vSet meters and vDrive.

The Result
“We believe that under favorable conditions growers could expect speeds approximately two times the speed they plant at today,” says Radtke. “If a grower has rocky or rough conditions and they can only plant at 4 mph, we believe they should be able to double that to 8 mph.”

Precision Planting has done extensive testing at 10 mph and believes speeds in the 10 to 12 mph range are attainable. At this time, the SpeedTube is only a concept and won’t come to market for several years.

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