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"Tramlines are the hottest innovation going in this area," says Jim Lafferty, of Fredericksburg, Va. Jim's aJohn Deere dealer and the rust in North America, so far as he knows, to offer a mechanical cut-off "Tram-line Kit" for grain drills. "I've equipped more than 20 drills in this immediate area and we're doing more of them all the time."
Tramlines are tracks left in small grain fields to serve as guides for spraying and top dressing to prevent costly skips and over-laps. They're used extensively in Europe, especially in Germany and England.
Lafferty's drill kit costs about $1,400 and is available for current model (flied feed) Deere, Great Plains and Case-IH c ills. The kit allows the operator to flip a s 'itch, as needed, during planting to activate the cut-off mechanism on the two drill r ws selected for creating the tramline racks. They're twice as wide as the drib s row spacing and individual pairs are spaced about 45 ft. apart. The sprayer width must be a multiple of the drill width. For example, a farmer with a 15 ft. drill would need a 45 or 60 ft. sprayer boom. In cases where the arithmetic doesn't work out, it may be necessary to block off an outside nozzle or two.
Lafferty feels his tramline kit is cost competitive with foam or dye markers: "The key advantage is that you can go in late in the season and not harm the crop. Because of reduced competition for light, moisture and nutrients, crop rows along a tramline will generally yield enough additional grain to compensate for the unseeded area. Also, tramlines often allow farmers in the field sooner after a rain since the unshaded tracks dry out quickly."
Some farmers are using chemicals rather than drills to make tramlines. They simply rig the sprayer (or tractor) with a nozzle behind each wheel to spray a narrow strip of "burndown" herbicide, such as Roundup. One problem, however, is that you need a flagman or foam marker for the first trip over the crop when you apply the "burndown" chemical to create the tram-lines.
Lafferty notes that it doesn't work to simply block off selected seed metering cups. "The seed piles up, gets ground up and soon starts spilling over," he points out. His kit includes an electronic controller, activator switch, two seed metering cup conversions with clutches, splicer couplings and a wiring harness.
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Greenline Service Corp., Box 7208, Fredericksburg, Va. 22404 (ph 703 373-7520).

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1990 - Volume #14, Issue #2