[when viewing high-speed images] the seeds coming off the brush belt seemed to just stand upright in the trench and then just fall over.”
Sounds simple, but the system is really complex. For instance, what mechanism turns the brush belt and how fast does it go? Engineers designed an electric motor system to turn the belt and they controlled its speed with sensors to match the planter’s ground speed. That leaves little relative motion between the seed and the ground, which minimizes bounce and roll.
Meanwhile, the meter up top has a separate electric motor to enable it to measure the correct seed populations into the brush belt. The higher the population, the less distance between seeds as they ride on the brush belt.
The ExactEmerge system is currently meant for corn and soybeans only.
Deere tested the system with a wide variety of seed sizes and shapes to be sure it would accommodate different corn hybrids. In fact, Krueger said, Deere tested the system with eight different hybrids simultaneously. It passed with flying colors with a 99%-plus singulation rate and excellent placement.
For soybeans, singulation and placement accuracy was so great during system tests, Krueger said, growers might be able to lower seeding rates because nearly every seed was left in an ideal position to germinate.
While the new ExactEmerge system has changed a lot, it still relies on some standard Deere equipment, including its active down-force feature, which creates a consistent seed trench depth and its trench closing mechanisms to achieve proper seed to soil contact.
Gravity makes the seed tube a simple and reliable concept. The brush-belt system, by contrast, has a lot of moving parts. Growers might ask if they will face reliability issues with the ExactEmerge system.
“The challenges [of a planting system this complex] are one reason there is nothing on the market like this,” Krueger said. Deere understood that when it started the process. “When we were developing the project, we held our engineers to the standard of no more downtime than the previous systems.”
Extensive testing shows that the system will be reliable, despite the fact that there are more wear points in a brush belt than a seed tube. For instance, seed on the brush belt glides on a replaceable strip. But replacement should be only a three- to five-year occurrence, as with other components of the row unit, Krueger said. Sandy conditions and high-rate beans might shorten that timeframe.
To aid in maintenance, Krueger said, engineers designed the system to be easily accessible.
Electric motors are also unusual on planters. To power the two motors per row required on ExactEmerge system, Deere installed a variable load alternator driven by two hydraulic hoses coming from the tractor. These are the same hoses that work the variable rate drives on Deere’s current planters. The alternator uses 12 gpm of hydraulic flow to produce a 56-volt charge; the alternator load decreases when less electricity is needed.
The faster you drive the more horsepower you need. Krueger estimates that a tractor will use 40% more horsepower when a planter goes from a traditional 5 mph to a faster 7.5 mph. When it goes to 10 mph, the tractor will require 80% more horsepower than at 5 mph.
Krueger doesn’t expect that farmers with the new system will go slowly: “When we gave customers this planter [to test], we thought it would take them a while to feel comfortable getting to 10 mph. That didn’t happen. They would plant, then get out and dig up seed in the ground. When they saw the results, they would go faster.”
The ExactEmerge system was officially introduced at the National Farm Machinery Show in Louisville, Ky. A limited production run this year will lead to field demonstrations in the spring and customer availability next year. Pricing is not yet available.
When released, the ExactEmerge system initially will be available for Deere’s 1775NT and 1795 planters in 15-, 20- and 30-inch row spacings. They will be for central fill units only.
Growers uninterested in 10 mph capabilities need not worry. Deere does not plan to phase out its traditional systems.
“Along with ExactEmerge, our premium feature, we will continue to offer seed tube configurations,” Kaverina said. “Growers may choose between the two systems based on their preferences and their farming operation needs.”
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Source: DTN – Article – Wed Feb 12, 2014 10:34 AM CST