New soybean planter arrives

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

The new soybean planter-air drill arrived last week.  It has impressed me with its size.  This new one has a lot more iron in it.  The old drill weighed in at about 19000 pounds, but this one, if I read the specs right, weighs 35,000 pounds!  It certainly looks heavier.  The main frame’s tires are beefier, too, to carry the additional weight.  This one’s 50-foot working width folds in 5 sections, compared to three on the old 40-foot drill.  We had it unfolded once after it arrived, but I failed to snap a picture of it in operating position.  I’ll capture that image the next time we hook it to the tractor, and share that picture with you.

The 60 rows are spaced 10 inches apart… which is a little different from other planting systems used in SW Indiana.  Most are 15-inches, some are 7.5 inches.  I think the row spacing is an ideal balance of seed costs, planter cost, and agronomic considerations like crop shading of the area between the rows.

My goal for this wider working width is that I can slow down a tiny bit during planting, to gain some precision with seed placement into the soil.  Probably I’ll drive 5.5 to 5.8 mph, rather than 6.2.

Here is the new 1890 no-till air drill.  It has 60 rows in its 50-foot working width.  You can see it folds down to about 19 feet for transporting.

Here is the new John Deere model 1890 no-till air drill. It has 60 rows in its 50-foot working width. You can see it folds down to about 19 feet for transporting.

The new air cart, a JD 1910, is very similar to the one traded in… having a 350-bushel seed capacity.  This size allows me to fill up in the morning, and plant all day without needing any re-fills.  This will allow me to plant, depending on seed size, anywhere from 240 to 360 acres… and for me that’s a pretty good day.   This frees up other people to assist in support of the corn planter or any other operation that needs to be occurring on the same day.

This is the part of the air drill system that carries the seed, and meters it and delivers it to the planting it pulls behind.  The conveyor attached to the near side is the device that loads the seed tanks.  There is a hydraulically-driven fan that moves the seed as it is precisely metered out of the tanks to each of the 60 rows on the drill.  Any blockage of the air system is instantly reported to the operator in the cab.  And the meters are set up in such a way as to change seeding rates on-the-go to match the planting prescription.  There are many simutaneous actions occuring when this machine is operating!

This is the new John Deere model 1910 air cart–the part of the air drill system that carries the seed, meters it, and delivers it to the planting implement it pulls behind. The conveyor attached to the near side is the device that loads the seed tanks. There is a hydraulically-driven fan that moves the seed as it is precisely metered out of the tanks to each of the 60 rows on the drill. Any blockage of the air system is instantly reported to the operator in the cab. And the meters are set up in such a way as to change seeding rates on-the-go to match the planting prescription. There are many simutaneous actions occuring when this machine is operating!

After viewing the assembly process in Valley City, North Dakota several days ago, I can appreciate the craftsmanship in this new machine even more.  We got to know some of the many people who designed and built our new air drill.

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