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Winners' Circle 2012

January 28, 2012
By: Darrell Smith, Farm Journal Conservation and Machinery Editor

We received a bumper crop of entries for the 2012 "I Built the Best" contest. The results revealed two remarkable achievements: Bruce Bishop of McComb, Ohio, captured his 10th "I Built the Best" victory by winning the sprayer category and three farmers won two categories each: Dave Richardson, who lives in Ottawa, Kan., and works for Claerhout Farms of Princeton, Kan.; Joel Armistead of Adairville, Ky.; and Kevin Clark of Kiowa, Kan.

I Built the BestRichardson’s and Armistead’s nurse trailers were co-winners of the chemical handling category. Richardson’s lime and fertilizer spreader won the fertilizer handling category, and Armistead’s planter won the planter category. Clark won the service truck category and his house trailer (used for custom harvesting) won the miscellaneous category.

Other winners include Dale Jaster of Farmdale, Ohio, in the drill/air seeder category; Craig Stewart of Yorkville, Ill., in the seed handling category; Kelly McNichols of Burr Oak, Kan., in the technology category; and Ron Brooks of Waupaca, Wis., in the shop category.

You can read about Armistead’s planter, Stewart’s seed tender and Bishop’s sprayer on the following pages. We’ll share the details of the other winning entries in future issues.

Each "I Built the Best" winner receives $500. See details on the 2013 contest.


Variable-Rate Everything

The future of planting technology is at work on Joel Armistead’s farm near Adairville, Ky. Armistead has assembled a planter that varies seed, in-row fertilizer and nitrogen according to the productive capacity of the soil.

"On one 37-acre field, varying the rates saved us $25 per acre, compared with applying everything at the maximum rate as I used to do," says Armistead, who farms with his father, Raymond, and his son Zach.

winners circle planter
The planter built by Joel Armistead varies the rate of seed, in-row fertilizer and nitrogen according to management zone maps. The maps incorporate information from soil maps, fertility tests and yield history.

He assembled the system on a Blu-Jet LandTracker implement caddy. A front-mounted toolbar carries Spike-Wheel nitrogen injectors. The wheels place nitrogen 3" deep and 7" beside each 30" row. (Actual placement is closer than 7" because the spikes expel fertilizer from the side rather than the tip, propelling it toward the row, Armistead says.)

The rear of the caddy carries Armistead’s Kinze 2100 mounted planter, operated by a Rawson variable-rate hydraulic drive. The planter is equipped with Precision Planting seed meters and the company’s BullsEye seed tubes.

The planter frame also carries 1,000 gal. of 32% UAN (urea-ammonium nitrate) solution. Tanks on Armistead’s tractor carry another 600 gal.

Range of rates. Armistead varies his planting rate from 24,000 to 41,000 seeds per acre. Each planter unit is controlled by a Tru Count air clutch. "We vary the nitrogen rate from 32 gal. to 40 gal. per acre to match the corn population," he says.

The implement caddy carries two 150-gal. tanks of row fertilizer, applied in the trench under the seed. Armistead can vary the rate from zero to 10 gal. per acre.

"Even where the soil tests are high for phosphorus and potassium, applying just a couple gallons in the row seems to make a difference because the nutrients are readily available early in the season," Armistead says.

Row fertilizer and seed turn on and off simultaneously. "The same air pressure that disengages the row clutches to shut off the seed actuates Richway Airpinch valves that shut off the fertilizer," Armistead explains.

"SureFire Ag Systems put the row-fertilizer system together for me. It uses a two-pump tower with two flow meters and controllers to variable-rate each of two different row fertilizer products.

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FEATURED IN: Farm Journal - February 2012
RELATED TOPICS: Machinery, I Built the Best

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COMMENTS (2 Comments)

VJOHNSON - edenton, NC
would like more information on lightweight spraying,would like to built one
9:47 PM Feb 13th
Sharp Farms - OK
Would like more information on seed tender .
12:40 AM Feb 8th



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