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Variable Speed Planter Rate Control
"My variable speed planter control al-lows infinitely variable population changes from 19,000 to 35,000 seeds per acre," says Gene Myers, New Richmond, Ind., who built his own planter control with the help of Merle Verden, mechanical engineer and consultant from Crawfordsville, Ind.
Key to success of Myers' plant population control is a pair of variable speed pulleys salvaged from a New Holland combine. The pulleys mount one ahead of the other on a platform above the planter transmission. The planter drive chain runs up to a sprocket that turns the front pulley. Power is transmitted to the rear pulley by a belt. The rear pulley drives a sprocket that chain drives the planter sprocket cluster via a new drive sprocket that mounts on the end of the original sprocket cluster, which is left intact and is used as part of the planting drive train. Myers can change planter rate on-the-go with an electric-powered linear actuator connected to the front variable speed pulley. Controlled by a switch in the cab, the actuator moves one of the sheaves on the split pulley to change speed of the pulley and also of the output drivechain down to the planter. Holding the switch in the "up" position increases the planting rate according to the length of time the switch is held. Holding it "down" decreases the planting rate.
"I wanted an inexpensive population rate changer offering infinite changes for my highly variable soils," says Myers, who has used the unit to plant about 1,600 acres. "Most commercial population changers allow only two settings, high and low, and they cost up to $3,000. My unit cost only $800 to build and it allows me to plant anywhere from 19,000 to 35,000 seeds per acre. Without making changes on the sprocket cluster originally used to make population rate changes. My goal is to plant and fertilize according to soil grid maps. Varying the population by soil type instead of planting at one rate boosts yields and also saves money on seed. If anything ever goes wrong with the planter control I can simply remove the add-on equipment and reinstall the original drive chains. I carry them on the tractor with me."
The linear actuator that controls the speed of the variable speed pulleys is equipped with adjustment stops that let him change plant population at will within the 19,000 to 35,000 population range. There's a 5-second delay before the monitor in the tractor cab shows a change in population rate. To obtain a faster reading, Myers and Verden attached a pointer to a lever bolted to, the linear actuator that they can see from the tractor. "Glancing at the position of the shift lever gives me an approximate estimate of the planting rate before the planter monitor has time to respond," notes Myers."
Verden says the planter control, de-signed to use on a Deere 7000 planter, could also be adapted to White Field King planters, which use a similar type of population drives. "I doubt if it'd work on an IH Cyclo planter."
Myers says the unit cost $800 to build and is willing to custom build units. Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, M.L. Verden, 4 Del Mar Drive, Crawfordsville, Ind. 47933 (ph 317 362-1471) or Gene Myers, Rt. 1, Box 132, New Richmond, Ind. 47967 (ph 317 275-2714).

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1990 - Volume #14, Issue #2