• Are seeding systems maximixing seed distribution?

    Steve Larocque - April 4, 2012

    I was reading through an e-newsletter sent out by Precision Planters from Tremont, Illinois. They were advertising their bolt on vacuum planter metering system that kept track of seeding performance row by row. For example, their 20/20 SeedSense monitor keeps track of plant population, % seed singulation, % skips, down force of each opener and ground contact. This technology allows you to achieve optimum plant densities by monitoring the seeding performance of each row. If our goal is to achieve optimum plant densities then how do we know our drill is placing seed uniformly on each row? Also, what is the yield difference between each row and how much does it vary?

    In the fall of 2011 my intern Johanna Kitler, Peter Gamache from CTFA and I decided to measure the yield on each run across our drill. We were trying to assess the impact of our tram lines on the yield in the adjacent rows. We measured one meter of row across the 28 runs on our Concord air drill in three different areas.

    The results did show a significant increase in yield on our double seeded row beside the unseeded tram line and a significant decrease in the yield with the row that sits three inches inside the tram line. You can easily see the variance in yield across each row in the chart. Barley yield in bu/ac is on the left axis while each row number is marked on the bottom axis. We’ve got a high of 179 bu/ac with a low of 71 bu/ac and a field average of 106 bu/ac net. (The 179 bu/ac was recorded in the row beside the un-seeded tram line that has two seed tubes running to it.)

    In my opinion, we need to start looking at technology that can capture seed distribution data  so we know our $300,000 air drills are performing to the best of their ability. The future in broad acre cropping is maximizing plant densities and seed spacing within each foot of row. We need to move away from managing seeds per acre and begin managing seeds per foot of row. Having the ability to measure seed distribution on each shank is the first step.


Your Comments

Greg Dyck - 2012-04-13
Hey Steve.
Doesnt surprise me that you would see an increase in yeild on the row with double seed, depending what the seeding rate was. We do VR seeding and see increased yeilds with higher seeding rates in most areas.
Have a good summer

Steve Larocque - 2012-04-16
Not surprising, just nice to know how much the increase is. Have a great summer Greg.

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