Fill up in field with one stop
Handling seed corn bags was just a fact of life for Don Villwock and Jason Misiniec until 2010. They switched to a planter supply trailer on a semi bed that features bulk seed boxes. Villwock’s farm is near Edwardsport.
“I cringe to think about handling all those bags now,” says Misiniec, who supervises day-to-day operations. “I didn’t realize how big of a pain it was until we got away from it last year.”
• A custom-built rig gets seed and fertilizer to the field quickly.
• Empty space between seed and fertilizer units allows breathing room.
• Nitrogen, other nutrients are mixed going into the tank to avoid settling issues.
Misiniec designed the planter supply trailer for simplicity. He mounted a seed caddy that holds two plastic boxes of seed corn near the center of the trailer, with a conveyor that takes seed to the planter.
The empty space between the seed caddy area and the starter fertilizer tanks is no accident. “If you crowd things too much, you’re always tripping over a hose,” Misiniec says.
The seed hopper/belt delivery unit is equipped with a scale and electronic readout. “We don’t like to fill the planter completely with seed when we start in the morning,” he says. “With these central fill units, we figure we would carry more weight than we like.
“Having scales lets us better determine how much seed we need to match how long we can go with fertilizer,” he says. “Sometimes we refill the trailer during the day, but I’d rather do that than load down the planter or add more boxes.”
The back tanks on the trailer carry 32% nitrogen. That’s applied as row starter in a conventional 2- by 2-inch placement. Since Villwock primarily no-tills, he feels it’s important to add N on at planting.
“We also apply zinc and Thio-sul,” Misiniec says. “We put those tanks up front, then ran plumbing underneath the bed. The products mix going into the tank. Micronutrient products are known for settling out in liquid N. This way, we avoid that problem.”
The system is designed so that it’s easy to decouple and blow out lines after the season, he adds.
This article published in the May, 2011 edition of INDIANA PRAIRIE FARMER.