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Shop-Built Drill Solves Depth Control Problems
When Eugene Meyer, who farms near Clarks Grove, Minn., began drilling soybeans no-till years ago, he discovered that equipment manufacturers had a ways to go in offering effective depth control. After experimenting for the past six years, he's come up with a drill that he says "plants like a dream" and offers unheard-of seed placement accuracy.
Field tested for the first time this past spring, his shop-built drill incorporates several major improvements including an innovative coulter down-pressure system which uses a nitrogen accumulator, 25 planter units 10 in. apart suspended from unique parallel-linked carrier frames, and rear lift assist wheels mounted on load-leveling walking beams.
"The entire drill was built from scratch except for the seed hopper and seed delivery system which were salvaged from an older Tye drill," Meyer explains. "I used it to plant more than 1,200 acres this spring, 95 percent of it in mud, and you have to see it to believe how well it works."
The drill has specially designed carrier frames for the double disk openers and press wheel on each planter unit. Using parallel linkage, the front section of each planter unit fastens to a beam under the seed hopper. The back section of each unit, which supports the disk openers, extends rearward to the press wheel.
A hand crank mounted on each row unit is used for depth adjustment. "Each can be precisely adjusted individually, not just notch-adjusted like other drills which allow too much variation," says Meyer.
"Unlike other drills on the market, when the rear wheel raises with this set-up the disk openers raise at the same rate," says Meyer. "There's no variation. If you set the wheel to run 1-1/2 in. deep, that's what you get."
Meyer's drill has lift assist wheels both front and back, and the rear wheels also contribute to seed depth precision. "The drill has four wheels in back, but each pair of wheels are staggered on a walking beam. So if the drill crosses a trench or gulley, it will only drop half the distance it would otherwise."
In no-till, weight and pressure are every-thing so Meyer mounted 16-in. Yetter bubble coulters on the front of each of the 25 planter units with down-pressure cylinders hooked to compressed nitrogen to provide cushioned pressure. An accumulator tank, salvaged from an Oliver plow, stores corn-pressed N and can be adjusted to press the coulters into the ground with 250 to 300 lbs. pressure per square inch, depending on soil hardness. The accumulator connects to a 1-1/2-in. pipe which distributes pressure through flex hoses running to each cylinder.
Meyer says the Yetter bubble coulters he's using have performed the best of any he's tried for no-till drilling. The coulters have oval-shaped protrusions staggered on each side and slice an adequate opening without excessive soil disturbance. "I've found that ripple coulters move too much soil under wet conditions," he says. "And though the big waffer coulters work nice in a drier seedbed, for no-till they bring up too much mud and leave a 2-in. track which can't be closed."
To penetrate harder soils, like alfalfa sod, Meyer mounts a 1,000-lb., 21-ft. section of railroad rail mounted over the coulters. He also installed 4-in. by 6-in. rectangular tubing directly under the rail which can be filled with extra ballast.
Reed Deemer of Hartland, Minn., had Meyer plant 75 acres he couldn't get near this spring with conventional equipment. "The most amazing thing is that it never plugs up. Next year I plan to have him put in 200 acres for me on untouched corn ground."
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Eugene Meyer, Rt. 1, Box 189, Clarks Grove, Minn. 56016 (ph 507 256-4382).

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1991 - Volume #15, Issue #4