Time is a major player in spring fieldwork. Jeff Schoer, who farms near Wabasso, MN, with his father Eldo Jr. and his brother Brad, knows this. Saving time and manpower was a driving factor in his invention of a bulk seed handling system.

In the spring the Schoers found that much of their time was spent hauling seed to the field or filling the planter. They already used bulk seed but found it difficult and time consuming to completely empty the bags. That's when they switched to bulk seed boxes, now sold by seed companies. The challenge then was finding a more efficient way of getting enough seed to the field to make the transition worthwhile.

System design

The problem was solved when Jeff designed a unique bulk seed handling system using an AutoCAD program on his computer. Jeff, Brad and Eldo then designed and manufactured frames for the seed boxes to sit on.

The frames sit on a trailer and each frame holds two boxes. Their trailer holds three frames. The three frames allow enough room on the front of the trailer for two pallets of 50-lb. bags of seed. Because not all of their seed comes in bulk boxes, the Schoers can take the top off a seed box and dump the bags of seed into it. It only takes one person about 10 min. to fill the planter.

Each frame has a chute that catches the seed as it comes out of the box, and each chute runs down to a Christianson Seed Vac. The grain vac has 35-ft. stainless steel tubing, designed to be long enough to reach from the trailer to the planter. The grain vac can be rolled from one box to another, so as one box empties, the Schoers can simply roll the grain vac to the next box. “A lot of planters nowadays hold 30 to 40 bu. of seed; therefore you can only get one full fill out of a [Pioneer] Pro-box before you have to move to the next one,” Jeff says. “With the rail system we have on ours it only takes half a minute to roll to the next box and open it.”

No need to get more seed

Because each box can cover approximately 125 acres of corn or 40 to 50 acres of soybeans, the Schoers can get enough seed on each trailer to last all day planting. “With six boxes of soybeans and a few 50-lb. bags on the front of the trailer, we can plant all day without pulling somebody out of a tractor to go get more seed,” Jeff explains. “The person in the planter refills all alone most of the time, letting the other two people stay at what they are doing.”

Once planting season is over, the frames can stack on top of one another for easy storage. This frees up the trailer for other uses throughout the year.

“There are other bulk seed trailers out there, but most farmers already have a trailer of some sort. With our system they don't have to spend money on yet another trailer,” Jeff says.

This is the first year the Schoers have used their bulk seed system, and they haven't found anything yet that needs to be redesigned.

Price: less than $3,500 for Christianson Seed Vac, $600 for one frame. Contact Schoer Farms LLC, Dept. FIN, Bulk Seed System, 22563 Jade Ave., Wabasso, MN 56293, 507/829-6173, e-mail jmschoer@redred.com.