Double duty | The 500 air drill offers singulation, allowing canola growers to reduce seeding rates
BRANDON — Counting costly canola seeds one by one as they drop isn’t humanly possible, although rising seed prices may have prompted some growers to consider it.
Anything that lets a canola grower reduce his seeding rate without reducing yield is bound to attract attention, which is just one of the factors Case IH had in mind when planning its new 500 single disc air drill.
Precise seed placement was at the top of the list when Case engineers approached a blank drawing board to design the 500. It had to be suitable for a wide range of crops and simple to adjust.
The new drill made its Canadian debut at Manitoba Ag Days in January. Case spokesperson Darrell Bailey said the drill is one more entry in Case’s new equipment lineup.
“We call it a split row planter,” said Bailey, adding that the opportunity to reduce seed rates through improved seed placement and seedling survival is attractive to canola growers.
“It’s designed for cereals, corn, canola, soybeans and just about any other crop we grow on the Prairies. It does 30 inch rows for corn and 15 inch row for other crops.”
It’s officially called the 500 Air Drill, but Bailey said it is a corn planter with true singulation when in the 500T format with the frame mounted seed tank with air delivery. Uniform seed spacing within the row lends itself to healthier plants that don’t compete as much with each other. That creates more even crop maturity, reducing vulnerability to insects and disease and improving harvestability.
“While we’re making that row, we have a shoe that makes a true V in the soil so the seed is always placed at the same depth,” he said.
“The shoe eliminates trash and soil that causes seed depth to vary.”
The tank mounted system delivers true or near singulation in most crops, depending on seed size.
The integrated 70 or 100 bushel, poly mono-tank feeds a tank-mounted metering system that uses individual meter rollers for each primary run. Coarse, fine and extra fine units are available, but Case said most crops can be metered with any of the settings once the selection is calibrated.
Like many of the air seeder cart metering systems on the market, the 500T’s tank meters are exposed to the seed at the bottom of the tank.
A hydraulic motor drives the meter shaft, and a set of sprockets can be changed to move it from a one to one or three to one ration, depending on coarseness of the seed and the rate being planted. An optional automatic start and stop function with rank lowering and raising prevents un-planted seed rows.
The meters run between 15 and 110 r.p.m.
The meter rollers are electronically clutched in groups of four or eight units, which allows for groups of meters to be shut off for section control when seeding overlaps and headlands and when finishing a field with a partial pass.
The two-section overlap control on a 40 drill will be 20 feet, while the same machine with four section control will be 10 feet. The smallest increment is a four section 25 foot drill with 6.25 foot control.
That control, along with variable rate, is built into the GNSS, either GPS or GLONASS positioning technology. Manual control is possible on the AFS Pro 700 display. The section control is optional and requires a pass code to unlock on the controller.
All functions on the 500 drills are offered to non-Case IH controllers.
The 500 and 500T feed the entire data package. As well as core-controls and monitoring, this includes functions such as wizard-based calibrations and management of TC-BAS and TC-SEC compliant task controllers for the section controls and delivery of warning pop-up windows.
A single six-inch fan powers seed delivery. Once metered, the seed flows to a splitter that divides the flow in two as it makes its way to the seed row.
The straight 500 drill setup uses the metering systems of the company’s precision air carts and allows for fertilizer and inoculant placement with the seed.
The drill is available with single chute in 25, 30 and 40 foot sizes. Double chute is expected to be available later this year at the same time that the 60 foot version of the drill comes to market.
The machine has a recommended operating speed of five to eight m.p.h., resulting in increased acres per hour over a comparably sized hoe or other-format disc drill.
Case says the row units have a parallel-link design with an upper and lower arm to help achieve even depth across a variety of soil conditions.
The 18 inch diameter discs are set at a seven degree angle so they slice a well-defined trench.
Bailey said easy maintenance was high on the list of design criteria. The operator can take an entire row unit apart in five minutes. Ease of adjustment was also a priority.
“In past years, it took a while to change depth control. Now it’s simply a matter of grabbing the T-handle and placing the pointer at any one of 14 depth positions.”
Packing pressure adjustment is also easier, with an L-shaped handle that lets the operator quickly pick one of three packing pressures ranging from 160 to 400 pounds per square inch.
Bailey said cereal growers are the target market. Two prairie producers signed up to seed all their cereals with the new drill this spring.
Farmers are also warming up to the idea of planting canola with a corn planter.
“We have guys using our 1245 corn planter. Even though it’s only a 40 foot machine, they’re planting canola with those planters,” he said.
“The idea of planting corn with a corn planter is still in the early stages of infancy. We know of a lot of producers who are doing it, but we haven’t done any trials yet.”