Redesigned planter makes seeding soybeans more precise
Adetermined farmer can take something old and transform it into something new and useful again. That’s what Dale Jaster did with a double-frame Avco New Idea four-row corn planter. Jaster, who farms near Farmdale, Ohio, converted the corn planter into a 13-row, 15" soybean planter.
For years, Jaster says he routinely drilled soybeans each spring on his northeast Ohio farm, but he was never satisfied with the results. "The drill placed seed in the soil in a helter-skelter sort of way," he says.
He decided a new plan was in order one Sunday morning in 2010 when he and a friend met to check out each other’s newly planted soybean crops. Their fields had been planted the same day the previous week. Jaster was dismayed by what he saw in their respective fields.
"My friend’s crop was up, and his rows were green from one end to the other. In my fields, I just saw a soybean popping through here and there," Jaster recalls.
"Right then and there, I decided that was going to change," he adds.
Jaster went home and pulled the Avco corn planter out of the barn where it had been stored for the past six years. He had purchased the planter from a friend who also had modified the little four-row planter by installing seven 20" planter units on the rear toolbar.
Jaster proceeded to add 22" to each end of the planter’s back toolbar to fit the seven existing planter boxes in 30" rows. He also added 11" to each end of the front toolbar to make room for six in-between row units.
"One of the luckiest things was my New Holland dealer was able to find the pusher units for the front beam," Jaster says. "I’d tried finding them on the Internet and wasn’t having any luck. He found them from a dealer in Iowa, and they were like brand new."
Jaster recalls that his next decision was to make significant modifications to the Y-shaped planter tongue.
"It originally had a big Y where it attached to the frame, and I wanted to have a planter box on each side of the tongue, so I had to cut it down quite a bit," he notes. "I welded more brackets on it to support it. To make sure I didn’t weaken it too much, I put 6"x6" tubing about halfway down the tongue and across both frame members."
Jaster also had to lengthen the markers by roughly 3' on each side to make them more useful for anyone on a tractor pulling the now widened planter.
In the process of transforming the planter, Jaster says his most substantial modification was probably converting the original transmission, a fertilizer transmission, so it would drive the front units.
All-in-all, he invested about $12,000 in rebuilding the planter. The investment included his original purchase price as well as a no-till opening disk and brackets.
"My dealer said it’s about a $47,000 machine, if I went and bought one new," Jaster says.
After sinking his time and money into the project, Jasper is thrilled to report that the soybean planter works great—and he’s no longer embarrassed by spotty plant emergence.
You can e-mail Rhonda Brooks at email@example.com.