At Precision Planting’s annual winter conference the company introduced vDrive Insecticide, a more precise metering and control system for granular insecticide application on planters.
The idea was inspired by Luke Stuber’s, Precision Planting, planting experience in the spring of 2014. Stuber and his father were testing SpeedTube, a replacement product for the traditional seed tube that enables planting speeds up to 10 mph. Stuber calibrated the planter’s current insecticide meters to apply the right rate for 7 mph.
“Farmers applying insecticide today calibrate their meter for a single speed,” explains Stuber. “As operators speed up, slow down, or plant around curves, the intended application rate is impossible to maintain.”
On Stuber’s farm, he found a lot of planting was done at 5 and 10 mph. “So when I was going 5 mph I was overapplying by 50%,” he says. “When I drove at 10 mph I was underapplying by 50%. We probably put the right amount of insecticide on 25% of our acres last year.”
The vDrive Insecticide solves this problem by adjusting insecticide control based on speed, which will be key as high-speed planting becomes a reality.
How it works
Precision Planting uses vDrive, an electric drive system that can change the speed of the planting meter, to enable row-by-row population control. Using this technology, the vDrive system can also control an insecticide meter at varying speeds. The system is bolted onto the bottom of the hopper and controls the meter or wheel that changes application rates. “As you speed up, the wheel spins faster,” says Stuber. “As you slow down, the wheel slows down and reduces the rate.”
The electric drive system works through a single wiring harness that runs down the planter bar. One wiring harness runs to each individual row unit and from there a harness is run to the vDrive on the vSet meter and one to the insecticide box to drive that meter. Using both vDrive systems allows farmers to remove drive systems, chains, sprockets, and hex shafts.
“As farmers work to closely manage their inputs and optimize yields, vDrive Insecticide helps them more precisely manage insecticide applications in a continued effort to promote sustainable agriculture practices,” adds Stuber.
vDrive Insecticide will be tested on about 10 John Deere 1700-style planters this spring. If beta tests go well, production is expected in 2016.