WASHINGTON, Ill. — There’s rarely the perfect window for
timely planting each spring, but a company is developing a new product that
covers more acres in less time.
Precision Planting recently announced a new corn and soybean
delivery system that allows growers to plant much faster than possible with
current seed tubes.
Jason Stoller, Precision Planting engineering product
manager for the new SpeedTube, said at the company’s winter meeting the product
will fundamentally solve seed-spacing problems at double the speed.
“Available time for optimum spring planting is both limited
and critical, and larger planters are not the answer to growing farm sizes. But
planting speed is limited by the constraints of the seed tube because high
speeds lead to poor spacing,” he said.
“SpeedTube really is that missing piece to the puzzle. It’s
really the final tool that you need in your tool belt to be able to double your
planting speed. And it fundamentally does it by solving the problem of poor seed
spacing at higher planting speed.”
Planters usually run between 4 and 6 mph, depending on field
conditions. Under current systems, faster planting speeds typically result in
poor seed spacing or seeds rolling in-furrow, both of which occur after the seed
has passed the meter.
“Upward and downward forces going through the field drives
the poor seed placing. It happens right at the meter’s release and at the
beginning of the seed tube itself,” Stoller said.
The SpeedTube solves that problem with two feeder wheels
that grab the seed off while still being held in a vacuum and place the seed
right into the belt itself.
“So it eliminates any chance or opportunity for
accelerations on the seed to shift position in that portion of the seed’s path
to the ground. Not only that, but the seed is being carried and it’s locked into
place in those cells in the belt,” Stoller said.
It also eliminates the chance for seeds rolling in the
“SpeedTubes fit very low into the furrow and project the
seed rearward, and we do it in a way where the velocity of the seed exactly
matches groundspeed as that seed comes into contact with the ground, so
effectively that seed’s velocity negates the effect of the forward momentum that
is in traditional seed tubes,” Stoller said.
SpeedTube has its own integrated motor control, as well as a
seed sensor. The control of the belt matches the planter speed, and
high-definition population monitoring is integrated into the SpeedTube.
“SpeedTube is radically different than anything else in the
market today. It is a drop-in replacement for the traditional seed tube,”
“We designed it to integrate with our vDrive electric meter
control system, as well as our vSet meter technology. It is designed for both
corn and soybeans, and we’ll be working on additional crops, as well.”
SpeedTube has been in development for three years and
include extensive in-field testing.
“Over the last two years, we’ve gone to 16 sites throughout
the country and planted 4,000 acres doing speed research with SpeedTube. We’ve
measured plant-to-plant spacing and evaluated emergence consistency on 1.5
million plants,” said Cory Muhlbauer, Precision Planting agronomist.
“So we’ve learned a little bit about how this product works
and where it fits.”
Muhlbauer said it has been tested in all types of soils,
tillage systems and cropping systems.
“Our in-field testing was a smashing success,” Stoller
The SpeedTube concept development continues at a brisk pace,
and more details will follow after the spring planting season.