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Home Made Seed Sizer Boots Wheat Yields
John Ruff is convinced that planting only the biggest wheat kernels produces a substantially higher yield on good, fertile ground.
Two years ago, the Logan, Kan., wheat producer built his own "test model" wheat seed sizer which separates large wheat kernels from smaller ones.
"It does an excellent job of sizing but is slow, sizing at the rate of only a bushel of plump seed per hour," says Ruff. "I'd buy a commercial sizer if one was available close by. But I haven't been able to find one. I tried several seed cleaners but you can't size wheat seed with them. I built this prototype only because I didn't have any other options available."
Ruff has tested the effects of large wheat seed on yield for the past two years. The first year, he planted half of a 20 acre test plot with sized seed; the other half with bin-run seed. "We'd plowed up an alfalfa field and it was a dry year. The bin-run plot averaged 21 bu. an acre and the sized plot 28 bu., plus the latter was 2 lbs. higher in test weight."
The home-made sizer only cost Ruff about $15 to build from scrap parts. Wheat is sized inside a 20 in. long drum built from 10 in. ducting pipe. The drum, which Ruff calls "a glorified sieve with different size holes," lies horizontally on a stand. It's separated into five fields, each with different size holes which Ruff punched out one a time.
An electric motor, salvaged from an old furnace blower motor, turns the drum at 21 rpm's. Ruff used several old combine pulleys to build a 3-stage belt reduction drive which regulates drum speed. The drum has only a slight slope, about 1 in. from top to bottom end. "Any more slope and the wheat slides out the end wihout sizing," he says. Three rods run length-wise through the drum, agitating the wheat to increases rate of separation.
During the first two years that Ruff used the sizer, only about 33% of the wheat seed was large enough to be be salvaged. But, in sizing for planting this past fall, that figure increased to 45%. "I don't know if this is because we had an exceptionally favorable growing season, or because two years of planting sized seed has improved my wheat stock."
Ruff says he's stayed with the same planting rate he used before building the sizer 1 bu. per acre.
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, John Ruff, Rt. 2, Box 25, Logan, Kan. 67640 (ph 913 689-4323).

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1987 - Volume #11, Issue #6