The challenge was to release the seed as close to the trench as possible to avoid the bounce and better place seed in a more consistent manner. And John Deere's solution uses a brush system that reduces the drop distance from meter to ground to as little as 2 inches, which is the second step to providing uniform emergence.

Brushing up delivery

John Deere is going on record that it will deliver the accuracy of a planter at 5 mph but work at up to 10 mph where conditions permit. At the same time, they're getting 99% singulation and control each seed throughout the delivery, which also provides much-needed uniform spacing at emergence.

It starts with that metering system which is exclusive to this machine and will use an electric drive for optimum performance. A 56-volt electrical system is the enabler on the planter. The system includes a new seed bowl with paddles that Krueger explains offers better singulation and "handoff" to the delivery system. And it is designed to plant all seed shapes and sizes without adjustment - in fact they have run trials with hoppers full of a range of mixed seed sizes to test the system. And there's an individual control unit on every row.

Perhaps the most visible difference is the brush belt delivery system controls the seed that eliminates the "gravity drop" from meter to ground through a seed tube. "The true advantage here is that we're getting accuracy of spacing all the way to the ground," Krueger says.

The brush belt concept has the brush opening at the top where seed is crisply handed off from the meter, then as the brush "closes" on its trip through the Trench Delivery System the seed is held in place. At the bottom the brush "opens" at just the right moment to drop the seed consistently. Krueger says that the system is easy to maintain too. "You can open the cover, remove the brush in about 20 seconds, inspect it and put it back together," he says.

There are wear parts in this system, which Krueger estimates would have a 3 to 5-year replacement life. That might be shorter if you plant a lot of soybeans in sandy conditions.

Proving the solution

The company has done a lot of field work with this machine and measured spacing in the field after emergence. "Research shows that the seeding rate should be within 5% of the optimum target yield and we're maintaining population within 1%," Krueger says. And they're doing that at 10 mph.