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Team FIN farmer Jeff Ryan talks about handling seed at planting time this year.

After a winter that dragged on and on for what seemed like forever, we had a spring that also seemed to run way longer than a season should. All that snow (more than 60" this winter) was followed by no shortage of moisture this spring. No surplus of heat showed up with the rain, either. That meant planting was a lot later than usual.

This year, we managed to get the vast majority of our acreage planted in a reasonable time compared to last year. Handling of the actual seeds is a bit different these days than it was ten years ago. It's not a matter of lugging 50- or 60-pound bags of seed around and filling small boxes on each row of the planter with seed. Now the seed comes in bulk containers, either a plastic box that's about 45" wide by 57" long by 65" tall or in giant plastic-canvas bags that hold about the same amount without all the structure of a box. The jumbo bags usually arrive on a pallet and have loops on all four corners where you can take the tines of your pallet fork and put them through the loops and then lift the jumbo bag into position. A small rope is untied underneath and the small closure is unleashed so that the entire contents of the bag empty out in a matter of seconds.

Think about that for a moment. Roughly 2500 pounds of seed shows up in a matter of ten or fifteen seconds. That's kind of like having an eight-inch-diameter nozzle on the end of the ketchup spigot at McDonald's. It's almost nuts.

An eight-inch-nozzle on the Blizzard machine at Dairy Queen? That's engineering brilliance. I'd include actual scoop shovels instead of dinky spoons in the toppings bins, too, but that's just me.  

So instead of dumping 2500 pounds of seed all at once into a single planter box, or cleaning up the mess from putting it on the ground and transferring it to the machine, our industry invented bulk seed handling devices. We got one of these a few years ago.

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The Farm Industry News Blog features commentary from Willie Vogt, Daryl Bridenbaugh and Jeff Ryan.

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