WHIRLYBIRD COVER CROPPING
Brent Wulf, owner and operator of Hexagon Helicopters based in Bennington, Neb., hovers overhead while his ground crew Taylor Schrunk fills the hopper of Wulf’s patented aerial seeder. While seeding a cover crop mixture into 120 acres of V3 to V5 stage corn in mid-June on Chad Christianson’s farm south of Hooper, Neb., the team of Wulf and Schrunk seeded about 400 pounds of cover crops on 10 acres every five minutes.
MAKING A PLAN
Brent Wulf (left), Hexagon Helicopters, and his ground crew Taylor Schrunk (behind Wulf) talk over the aerial cover crop seeding plan with farmer Chad Christianson before the start of the seeding operation. On the truck is Wulf’s patented aerial seeder that hangs about 20 feet below the helicopter during seeding.
LOADING IT UP
Chad Christianson (operating forklift) loads his cover crop seed into the seed tender, with Brent Wulf looking on.
PREPARING TO FLY
Brent Wulf (right on ladder) and Taylor Schrunk talk with farmer Chad Christianson (on ground) as they unload Wulf’s helicopter in preparation for a cover crop seeding operation.
Brent Wulf conducts a flight check in his helicopter before unloading from the trailer and connecting his patented aerial seeder to the helicopter for cover crop seeding at Chad Christianson’s farm near Hooper, Neb.
Brent Wulf connects the aerial seeder beneath his helicopter as he prepares for liftoff to begin seeding.
Taylor Schrunk (on the ground) is ready for Brent Wulf to lower the seeder to the ground immediately beside the tender trailer, so Schrunk can load the seeder for operations to begin. With a holding bag at the end of the tender auger already filled with seed, Schrunk can load the seeder with 400 pounds of cover crop seed in less than a minute, while Wulf hovers overhead. While Wulf is in the field seeding, Schrunk augers seed into the holding bag, so he is ready when the seeder needs to be refilled.
FAST AND FURIOUS
With the seeder hanging about 20 feet below the helicopter and about 50 feet above the field surface, Brent Wulf is guided by GPS and can seed 10 acres in about five minutes. Depending on the material being spread, Wulf can distribute seed or fertilizer up to 75 feet with his patented aerial seeder bucket.
TIME FOR REFILL
Taylor Schrunk already has 400 pounds of seed in the holding bag as Brent Wulf swings the seeder back around and prepares to lower it for the refilling process.
CHECKING FOR SEED
Chad Christianson seeds cover crops into corn at the V3 to V5 stage, so the covers will germinate before the crop canopies. He inspects the ground for cover crop seed distribution after Brent Wulf’s seeding operations. Christianson can visibly see much of the seed in his mixture evenly distributed across his field.