We started out our winter shop season with an overhaul of a John Deere CCS air seeder we purchased mid summer. It only has about 5000 acres on it but needed some attention. We dismantled each row unit to install new disk openers, as the old ones were worn down to the point where they would not work as well as we’d like. We also made sure everything else worked on the row units and took grease as well.
Air seeders use a ground drive system to turn the meters. They have a section control system that allows 1/2 of the width to be shut off for narrower areas and to prevent too much seed waste on point rows. We decided to take things up a level and installed the Inetllidrive system. It allows us to control every 30″ section individually thus minimizing overlap with already seeded areas. Electric motors drive each 30″ section and can independently control the feed rate of each section. The company claims that they will save 10-12% on seed costs per acre. That adds up fast when seed beans cost $50/unit plus and we’re using 1.15 units/acre. At a savings of $6/acre this unit will pay for itself in 3 years!
For the past few years we have been using a Kuhn-Krause vertical till machine as our main tillage tool. There are times though where we need something more aggressive but we didn’t want to spend much to purchase one. We had the opportunity to buy an old IH field cultivator at a reasonable price but it needed all new sweeps and harrow teeth. It was not a big project but needed to be done.
Even though our planter has been around quite a few years, we continue to put upgrades into it rather than purchase a new one. This year we went had to replace the worn closing wheels and the bearing system that keeps them in line and flexing well. As long as we were at it, we decided to freshen them up by repainting them. Because we use liquid fertilizer, they tend to get rusty from the exposure. We also changed the liquid fertilizer system to apply through a different type of tube.
The last upgrade was changing out the row cleaners from a fixed one to floating. These row cleaners use compressed air to adjust the down force. This is controlled right from the cab and can be quite useful as soil types change from field to field. Our goal is to have the best seedbed possible for our corn to maximize yield.