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Agricultural News

Modifying John Deere Vacuum Meters to Seed Canola with a Sorghum Disk

Tue, 20 Sep 2011 13:27:17 CDT

Modifying John Deere Vacuum Meters to Seed Canola with a Sorghum Disk Over the past season or two, there has been some interest in using row crop planters to seed canola. Since most manufacturers do not specifically offer disks or plates for canola seed, producers are required to use other plates. With input from some innovative producers and a little testing, we have developed some guidelines for adapting sorghum plates to meter canola with a John Deere vacuum planter.

Metering seed as small as canola is challenging with John Deere vacuum meters. When the disk is spaced correctly for larger seed, canola can leak from the bottom of the meter (green arrows in Figure 1, which is found in the link below). The problem occurs due to a very slight (about 1/16th of an inch) wobble between the metering disk and the aluminum housing. Once canola seed gets into the very small opening, it pours out like water. You may be able to correct this problem by adjusting the meter hub (refer to operator's manual). However, if this adjustment does not prevent leaking, you may need to modify the disk.

This first step is to mark the T-handle and the seed disk so that the disk will always be installed in the same orientation (Figure 2, also can be found in the link below). You should also number each disk for the row unit so that they can be put back in the same place every time.

Once the disk is in place rotate it by hand to see where the gap or opening occurs. Mark both sides of the gap including arrows showing which side of the mark that the gap is on (Figure 3, linked below). Once the gap is marked, remove the disk and transfer the marks to the other side. You need to file a very small amount from the ring where the gap occurs (Figure 4, linked below). This will allow the disk to sit a little closer to the housing. You may also need to adjust the meter hub. Refer to your operator's manual for these instructions.

Once the disks are ready to seed canola without leaking, you need to set the vacuum and seeding rate. Figure 5, linked below, shows data that were collected on a bench top metering system. This data shows the number of seeds in one cell at three vacuum levels. The blue diamonds are data using a knock out wheel and the red squares are data without the knock out wheel. Though both sets of data seem consistent, it appears seeds are becoming lodged in cells if the knock out wheel is not used. Furthermore, with the high seeding rates desired with canola, you need as many seeds per cell as possible. The higher seed count per cell means the disk does not have to turn as fast.

Click here to see all figures mentioned and for pictures to help with setting these guidelines.

Our thanks to Dr. Randy Taylor with Oklahoma State University for providing this article on canola and metering John Deere vacuum planters.



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