On-frame, precision seed metering on an air seeder can create low, row-to-row coefficient of variance
Canola growers hoping to squeeze out extra profit are buying planters in an attempt to get better placement while at the same time cutting back on that expensive seed.
But there is an air seeder option, says SeedMaster’s Aftan Chobot, explaining that a drill can achieve nearly the same seed placement performance as a planter. Well, some can.
The company’s own testing showed it had a meter that could deliver improved seed metering, even over other models of its own equipment.
Last fall, the Regina company decided to put its technology to the test at the Prairie Agricultural Machinery Institute for some independent third-party analysis.
The project was designed to test and validate product distribution, distribution uniformity and seed damage using the SeedMaster trailed Nova air cart with its traditional roller metering flowing through primary product runs to distributors and on to the openers compared to the company’s UltraPro meters and on-frame seed delivery system.
The PAMI test showed that the UltraPro meters — one-quarter inch, individual meter rollers feeding seed to individual seed runs — were, as the company expected, very precise. The complete PAMI report can be accessed at www.seedmaster.ca.
The tests showed that row-to-row coefficient of variance, which is how variable one row’s seed placement is to the ones adjacent to it, was as low as 3.2 percent when using the UltraPro on-frame tank system seeding wheat. Using the Nova air cart, row-to-row coefficient of variance was as low as 7.5 percent.
Depending on the crop, the variability is variable from crop to crop and from seeding rate to seeding rate. For canola, using the Nova cart and seeding 4.7 pounds per acre, the CV was 15.9, while at 2.8 lb. per acre it was 17.2 and at two lb. it was 16.2. With the UltraPro the variability was 5.6, 7.9 and 8.8, respectively.
Germination and vigour were measured from captured seed by Discovery Seed Labs, and there were no significant differences between the two seeding systems.
SeedMaster compared their results to a similar report conducted on seeding systems built by other industry-leading equipment manufacturers.
Chobot said that their results are better than their competitors because of the gentleness and accuracy of the UltraPro rollers and consistent air distribution through formed piping, compared to putting bulk seed through distributors.
She said a number of engineering concepts are involved:
- The precision meter cartridge delivers consistent product down each individual run.
- Each individual row receives its own metered product. There’s better run-to-run distribution by not relying on traditional pressurized air seeder tanks that send bulk product downstream to a distribution manifold.
- Every component is built to precise specifications to ensure a precise meter roller to metering edge gap. There is no adjustment of that gap, so consistent product distribution from meter box to meter box and run to run is maintained.
- There’s no directional change of seed from meter to opener that can cause sporadic distribution. The distance from meter to opener is approximately one-third the length of a traditional air distribution system of a tow-behind cart because of the frame-mounted location and lack of distributor run. The shorter distance allows for more precise control of fan speed under a variety of variable conditions, ensuring uniform seed placement within the row.
- Formed pipes and uniform length hoses provide uniform air flow across the entire width of even the widest of drills. As a result, the centre section on a wider drill doesn’t experience excessive air flow that traditionally causes seed bounce and/or damage when metering high rates of product.
“SeedMaster influenced the way farmers place their seed in the ground through the accuracy of our opener. Now it’s time to start talking about how our precise distribution and metering can take crops to the next level by increasing yields and profitability,” said Rochelle Beaujot of SeedMaster Manufacturing.
“These results confirm that those who are considering purchasing a planter as a secondary piece of seeding equipment for their canola crops can now look to SeedMaster as a seeding solution for all crop applications.”
Jeff Pizzy of Russell, Man., seeded about 4,000 acres of canola with the UltraPro mete in one of the driest springs he can remember. He planted for a stand of six to seven plants per sq. foot and said everything was put down at three-quarters of an inch and everything germinated.
“At the end of seeding, we realized we saved just about $90,000 in canola seed,” Pizzy said.