How do you take a split hybrid, twin row planter and make it plant dual hybrids one in the front planter row and one in the back? It takes ingenuity, mechanical know-how and some help from eBay.
Mike and Geoff Strang, who farm near Exeter, wanted their new Kinze 3600TR planter to plant two corn hybrids, but in narrow rows next to each other, instead of splitting the planting in half as it was when it arrived. The planter is 40 feet wide, with 16 rows in the front and 16 in the back, designed to plant twin rows of corn 7.5 inches apart, which makes for 30 inches between sets of rows. The planter has two seed boxes. Here are the steps, as described by Geoff:
Link the drive shafts. The drive shafts were mechanically driven, running either one half of the planter or the other. Getting seed from one end of the planter, to the other for the new application, meant fusing the front drives together and the back drives together. The front was simple, but there was the matter of a ladder in the way at the back, so an offset chain drive was made to get around it and link the back drives together
Re-route the seed distribution tubes. The tubes also fed one side or the other, but the Strangs needed the tubes to travel from each bin the length of the planter. They were able to make use of most of the original tubes, adding extensions when needed.
Build new hydraulic drives for the variable rate application. Geoff had started building variable rate drives for their previous eight-row twin-row planter and he put them on the new planter when it arrived. The variable drive parts came from several sources. The main drives were $1,200- $1,500 from Princess Auto. The encoders, which connect the GPS signal to the planter, were $50 on eBay. It took some work to get the gear ratios correct, and a way had to be found to take power from the drive to the front shaft.
Plug it all together. The various modules had to then be wired throughout the planter and back to a central place where the electronics are housed between the seed boxes. Some parts of the planter look more like a IT man- ager’s wiring for an office than a corn planter.
Add more air. The Strangs added adjustable down-pressure to the row cleaners, which also required more air, on top of the air needed for the down-pressure air bags, so another air compressor was added.
Final touches. The Strangs added new row cleaners that had to move residue for the front and the back planter rows, so they are extra wide. They also have adjustable down pressure so that Mike can choose how much residue he thinks needs to be moved ahead of the rows. They also added advanced seed monitoring for better understanding of how many seeds are dropping.