Sure, air drills haven't hit the ground running in the row-crop-based Mid-west, except perhaps with small grains farmers. So can air planters play in Peoria?

What if an air-seeding rig could satisfy a need to cover more ground in a day, efficiently plant numerous crops and deliver corn singulation like a planter? Several companies are working on this, and Canada-based Flexi-Coil has just introduced its latest hybrid cross between an air drill and a planter.Benefits of such a hybrid seeding rig could earn Midwest believers, similar to how air drills made converts of dryland small grains farmers.

In fact, Flexi-Coil sales of air drills account for 77% of its total equipment sales, an impressive 22% increase over 1995 sales figures. "We have prided ourselves in being a technology leader in dryland areas for years; now we want to bring such a philosophy to the Midwest farmers," says Doug Warrener, Flexi-Coil's vice president of marketing. "Our objectives: Cover more acres, make fewer passes, use less manpower, reduce fuel costs and potentially increase yields."

Wide and narrow. The company's new 9000 planting system (see photo) will plant corn or soybeans in a 40- or 60-ft. width, yet folds to a122/3-ft. transport width.

For 30-in. corn, the company uses popular double-disc opener row units, which are fed by receiver tubes coming from the air cart's new nurse system. This induction system replaces the meter rollers at the base of the seed cart, using a fan to push bulk seed back to keep enough seed in each row unit's receiver tube to keep the finger pickup singulator precisely metering corn. The units also have variable rate capability, controlled from the cab, when hooked up to Flexi-Coil's FlexControl electronic system. It also is designed for many other site-specific tasks and mapping.

The InterRow concept is designed for growers who want to use the same planter for 15-in. soybeans. You simply add Flexi-Coil's fertilizer/seed single disc opener (FSO) between the row units for accurate soybean placement. Given the above widths, you can configure the 9000 as a 16-row, 30-in. planter with 15 FSO units or as a 24-row, 30-in. planter with 23 FSO units. It will soon be available as a 24-row or 36-row planter on 20-in. spacings.

Also new is the 30-ft.-wide 8100 planting system, which mounts on Flexi-Coil's 3-pt. hitch air carts. A single-bar, 12-row, 30-in. corn planter doubles as a 23-row, 15-in. soybean planter. Or get the double-bar model to add fertilizer capabilities or use it as a drill (71/2-in. rows with FSO units). The nurse system also is available on the 8100 to achieve the advantage of getting fewer and faster fills with single-point loading while still planting with the precision of a finger pickup singulator.

For drill fans, the company offers its new 70-ft.-wide 7500 air drill that folds to a slim 16-ft. width and 121/2-ft. height. Features include independent 5-ft. frame modules to follow land contours, on-row packing, easy ac-cess to openers in the roll-up position and easy depth setting.

New seed slingers. Flexi-Coil has three new air carts for 1999. From its 40 series are models 1740 (170-bu. capacity) and 2340 (230-bu. capacity). Features include variable rate metering and FlexControl electronics for operator friendly rate switching from the cab; advanced air flow design for control of individual meters; a "prime" capability that starts applying product before the seeding tool is moving to start seeding immediately; improved stairs; and bin/lid access.

The new 30 series cart, model 1330 Plus, holds 130 bu. and features the company's new nurse system and FlexControl electronics for on-the-go settings. The display quickly shows population rate at each row unit, plus tank levels, ground speed, area covered and more. Contact Flexi-Coil Inc., Dept. FIN, Box 3159, Minot, ND 58702, 701/858-5500, visit www. flexicoil.com.