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Farmer-born planter revolution

Farmer influence has been felt in every area of machinery advancement over the years. That is especially the case with the Loesch brothers of Kimball, Minnesota. The Loesch brothers did more than influence machinery design. They invented a new approach to planting crops in the 1960s.

The farming brothers had toyed with an idea for a simplistic system that could accu-rately plant any crop, regardless of seed size, without having to change distribution plates located at the bottom of each seed hopper on a row planter. 
Furthermore, they envisioned all seed being held by a single hopper rather than the individual hoppers on each row unit.

Leo and Claude Loesch’s concept did more than simplify planter operation. Their air-assisted seed metering and distribution design revolutionized planting and put International Harvester at the forefront of planter sales.

Air-Powered Meter

The Loesch brothers' unique approach to seed metering was to employ airflow to pressurize a steel drum that rotated on its axis. Seed would flow into that drum from a single center hopper. 

Perforations were drilled along a line across the length of the drum at intervals corresponding to seed spacing in the furrow.

The air pressure in the drum would force seed into the perforations as it rotated. That seed was released at the top of the drum when rollers, positioned over the location of every hole, stopped airflow through the perforation. This caused the seed to drop into air tubes leading to each row unit.

Light-Speed Development

When Loesch design came to the attention of IHC engineers in 1968, they spared little time taking the concept to the prototype stage. In a rare display of corporate development, IHC acquired patent rights to the Loesch design in 1969, devised several key refinements within that same year, and built prototype planters for field tests by 1970. 

Those tests were so successful that the company committed wholeheartedly to creating an entirely new row planter line that same year by finalizing its design and starting production on the planter. 

Thus, the Cyclo planter was born. It was introduced to farmers and offered for sale in limited numbers by the spring of 1971. 

1971 Cyclo

Immediate Demand

The impact of the International 400 Cyclo planter was immediate. Sales outstripped demand, and the IHC planter facility in Canton, Illinois, was running around the clock to keep up. 

Today, every major planter on the market employs air pressure to some extent to assist in delivering seed to the ground. It’s all due to a concept born in the Loesch brothers’ farm shop.

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