Seed Rye Into Standing Corn

That Rube Goldberg type invention shown in the accompanying photo is a forage harvester converted to a seeder for sowing rye in standing corn.

Developed in Lebanon County, Pa., it's the "brainstorm" of Karl Hellerick, SCS District Conservationist, Newton Bair, County Agent, Ron Bower, Vo-Ag teacher, and Donald Bollinger, farmer and SCS district director. A 50-gal. drum serves as the seed hopper, and a rubber ball on a wire through the bung hole makes a simple shutoff valve. The blower spreads seed effectively for a 60-ft. width. Thus, by seeding from each edge, a 120-ft. wide contour strip can be seeded. A small block of wood fastened to the side of the discharge snout end causes seed to drop near the blower and results in even distribution.

Rye is a good choice as a cover crop in standing corn because it's not affected by herbicides, the inventors point out. Seeding rye as a winter cover crop to protect and enrich the land after the corn is harvested gives it too late a start to do any good. To solve the problem, the inventors developed the new-style seeder so they could seed rye in standing corn.

Here are other construction "tips" from the inventors:

Cut the bottom out of a 50-gal. drum, by either chiseling or burning.

Mount the drum on a forage harvester or blower. Put it bung down so that the seed flowing through the control valve is pulled into the blower. Fasten it securely with bolts and angle iron braces.

Control the seed flow by using standard 1 1/2-in. bushings on a 2-in. bung opening. A rubber ball attached to a rope, threaded through the hole over a pulley to the tractor seat, makes a simple on-off valve.