2021 - Volume #BFS, Issue #21, Page #02
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Old Hi-Boy Sprayer Seeds Cover Crops
“The conservation district in a nearby county spent nearly $100,000 on a self-propelled sprayer and converted it into a cover crop seeder, which got me to thinking I might be able to do the same thing for a whole lot less with an older Hi-Boy sprayer,” says Pennsylvania farmer Jim Kreger.
Always looking for ways to optimize their investment in farm equipment, Jim and his son Zach bought a 40-year-old Deere 6000 Hi-Boy sprayer at a farm auction for $3,000. “The diesel engine ran well and the 4-speed transmission and frame were in good shape, so we just needed to convert it into a seeder,” says Jim.
After removing the spray booms, Jim built a frame to mount a fertilizer spin spreader that he bought at Tractor Supply on the lift arms, which operate on the rear of the machine like a 3-point tractor hitch. The hydraulic pump on the sprayer powers an orbit motor that drives the spreader.
“The arms lower the spreader so we can fill it with 300 to 400 lbs. of seed from the back of a truck, then raise it nearly 10 ft. high to spread seed across 12 30-in. rows in a single pass,” Jim says. “The rear wheels straddle 4 30-inch rows and the single front wheel runs in the center. Fenders over the wheels split the rows real well. The only knockdowns we had were on the ends.”
Craig Williams of Penn State Extension helped them calibrate the application rate of perennial rye grass, which they applied in mid-August when the corn was fully grown and setting ears. “By the time we harvested the corn for silage in late September we had a nice green mat in the field, which is exactly what we wanted,” says Jim. Seeding into standing corn is definitely better than waiting till after harvest and hoping the crop will establish before freeze up. In 2020 they plan to seed tillage radishes in late July and perennial grasses in August so both crops get well-established before silage is harvested. Depending on the seeding mix, in the spring of 2021 they can burn it down to plant corn or let it grow and harvest the cover crop as forage.
Jim says the economical seeding rig, which he built for about $4,000 not including his time, provided two other benefits they hadn’t planned on. “The speedometer calculates in hundredths of a mile, which gave us an easy way to calibrate seed application. Also, the operator’s seat is 10 ft. off the ground, so driving through the field that high up was a great way to scout our fields without using a drone.”
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Jim Kreger, 5677 Route 414, Morris, Penn. 16938 (nmkreger@hotmail.com).

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2021 - Volume #BFS, Issue #21