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Easier Way To Set Seeding Rate

Denis Roy of Domremy, Sask., called to comment on editor Jay Whetter’s January 25 page 2 column on setting your seeder to hit a target plant stand. He agrees that seeding for a target number of plants per square foot is the right move — “count seed, never mind weight” — but he says the methods Jay suggested are overly complicated. “It’s like trying to count sheep by adding up the legs and dividing by four,” he says.

Here is Denis’s method: With his Flexi-coil drill, a 57-foot 5000 model, he figured out that the meter makes one full revolution for every four feet of travel. His openers are on one-foot spacing. Given this, he counts the number of seeds that trickle out of his opener after one full revolution of the meter, then divides that by four to give the seeds per square foot. (If one revolution spits out 60 seeds, for example, then his seeding rate per square foot is 15).

It’s an easy calculation for Denis because his row spacing is one foot. If his row spacing was eight inches, then four feet of travel would equal 2.67 square feet covered by each opener. So instead of dividing the number of seeds per revolution by four, he would divide by 2.67 to get the seeds per square foot.

Denis says you can do this measurement in the yard, if you want. Raise the drill enough that you can stick a pail under one opener. Do more than one and take an average if you want. He does one revolution and discards the seed, then makes the second revolution his official measurement. If the seeds-per-square-foot number isn’t where you want it to be, adjust your meter until it’s right.

“This is simple. No mistakes. No weighing bulls***,” he says. “I bought a scale to do bushel weights years ago but never used it.”

Denis says he got the idea from the U. S. “They’re 20 years ahead of us,” he says.

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