Seed metering | Company’s new design features additional metering rollers and wifi capability
REGINA — Seed metering is getting smarter, and at the same time, less connected.
Seed Hawk is one of the first seeding tools to lose the cables that connect cab to meters and run sensors.
The company from Langbank, Sask., chose to release its new designs at Canada’s Farm Progress Show in Regina last week.
It is keeping the basic design of its metering rollers, but each metered section of the machines, covering up to 10 feet on the larger units, gets a meter.
The strategy was in place for the sectional control option introduced on Seed Hawk machines a few years ago, but the approach stopped the flow of seed and other inputs by sliding a small gate in front of the meter to block material flow.
The new system stops meters from turning, independent of the runs next to it.
“We’ve been testing the design for three years. Each one gets its own electric motor to drive the meter,” said Pat Beaujot of Seed Hawk.
The meter drives are removed by grasping them with one hand and twisting to the left.
The motor and roller slide out from the meter box. A different roller of greater or lesser capacity can be swapped into the meter housing or it can be cleaned of straw or other debris before being returned to the box and locked into place with a clockwise twist.
Meter motors are shared with parent company Väderstad’s Tempo, a high speed, precision planter.
The directional guides below the meters that send material either to the seed runs or to fertilizer knives can now be changed by turning the meter bottoms end for end. This is done by releasing an over-centre clasp and dropping the unit off the machine.
“It’s fast to make changes on the new meters — minutes,” said Beaujot.
Meters are connected to the central data processing units by wires. Attaching them is done through meters that use industry standard, snap-into-place, weatherproof connectors.
Tools from Appareo of Fargo, North Dakota, help with central data processing and management.
That is where the wires stop on the 2016 Seed Hawk air seeder carts and drills.
Wifi takes over moving data from seeder to cab.
In the cab, the familiar Seed Hawk interface box has been replaced with one or two Apple iPads.
“Most farmers are familiar with iPads or other tablets,” Beaujot said.
“They are becoming a tool of choice for lots of farms, with all sorts of apps for weeds and spraying and news and markets access, banking, so why not use the tools that exist to do the monitoring?”
The iPad interface to the seeder provides all the traditional tools, including seed, inoculant and fertilizer calibration.
“It’s got a battery and its wireless, so you can calibrate or check for blocked runs with the iPad in your hand,” he said.
“You could be using an iPad from a pickup running beside or behind and watch it as it runs through the field.”
The operator can control the meters from the ground, even allowing them to spin out remainders from the bottoms of the tanks.
The Appareo system offers calibration and acres-to-empty monitoring using three new, higher accuracy load cells on as many as four product tanks on the new air seeder carts.
The entire wireless product has been dubbed iCon. It allows producers to calibrate on the go by taking a snapshot of the starting weights in the tanks and the weight of the seed or product, measuring the distance travelled and area applied and making a calculation based on the missing material.
When approaching a field’s end or product change, producers can use the new Fit to Field function to stretch remaining seed or fertilizer supplies.
They can also use it to increase application when using up surpluses, where appropriate.
“You end up at the end of a field without having to do some filling for a few acres or dropping out those last bushels of product,” Beaujot said.
The company’s sectional control still lifts groups of shanks out of the ground when crossing over already seeded areas. A new fourth, 40 bushel tank has been added to the carts for smaller products such as canola seed or inoculants.
Appareo also supplies the wireless, audio-based blockage monitors for the new seeding system, which also uses an iPad interface. A second iPad is often added to the cab when both metering and blockage tools are being used.
For more information, contact Seed Hawk at 306-538-2221 or visit the company online at www.seedhawkseeders.com.