There are three main ways to increase the number of acres seeding equipment can cover in a day: 1) drive faster, but most operators are already traveling at maximum speed for good seed placement; 2) go wider, which seeding equipment manufacturers are working on (including the most recent in Western Canada to break the 100 foot mark); or 3) reduce the amount of time spent refilling.
Both Morris Industries and Horsch displayed airseeder tender carts at Canada’s Farm Progress Show designed to help with the latter, cutting the amount of time where seeding equipment is standing still.
As Morris’ chief operating officer Don Henry explains in this video, their yet-to-be-named 924 bushel tender prototype features four compartments, each with their own auger. The bins in the tender match the size of the four compartments in a Morris airseeder tank (although the augers can be adjusted to align to other brands.)
So rather than driving the airseeder to the end of the field and loading seed or fertilizer into each tank separately, the tender unit can meet the seeding equipment on the field wherever it runs empty and load up to four products simultaneously.
“In order to really gain efficiency and get to the design criteria we were looking for, which was to fill that 800 or 1000 bushel tank in five to seven minutes, we needed to be filling all four tanks at one time,” explains Henry.
While the tender requires another tractor to pull it, he says it cuts fill-time from the 30-plus minutes it takes to fill each bin separately to 10 minutes or less.
Each auger and gate are powered by hydraulic pumps that run off the tractor’s PTO drive and are controlled via a wireless remote. Since the position of the augers on the Morris tender can be adjusted, it could potentially be used as a grain cart during harvest, notes Henry.
“We can go out to match up to other carts or we can put them to the middle to fill your truck or a grain bag hopper,” he says.
So is this a move toward having the ability to refill an airseeder tank without stopping at all?
“I think it is a step. We’re not there yet, but we’ve had some ideas on it. One of our long-term veterans says if they can fill a fighter jet at 30,000 feet on-the-go, we should be able fill an airseeder, so we have to get our head around that,” says Henry. “But even what we have today can be automated further than what we’re doing. That’ll be some development down the road.”
He notes they’re seeking suggestions from the public on what to call the new seed tender (enter your pick on Morris’ website.)