Two farmers looked over their equipment inventories and reviewed their needs recently. Both wanted to upgrade their equipment line-up where it would benefit them the most. Neither are big spenders, but both want to avoid constant trips to parts suppliers just to keep seed handling equipment running that may be out of date and past its prime in terms of repairs.
In the end, both opted to add a seed tender to their line-up for this year. Both gave the same reasons: convenience of handling seed in bulk, less labor available and less time that could be devoted to filling the planter, and easier handling of seed. Both opted for units which feature seed conveyors rather than augers. Conveyors are touted to be gentler on seed.
Some people use augers that are tipped with brushes. Those are supposed to help cut down on mechanical damage to seed as well. However, over time brushes can wear on the auger flighting, and you're back to beans contacting bare metal as they're being augered up the tube and into seed boxes.
The unit that will be delivered to each one reflects some modern trends. One is getting a digital scales with digital readout. It's about a $2,000 option, or slightly over 10% of the list price of the entire rig. He figures knowing exactly how many pounds he has will help him do a better job of fine-tuning seed rates. More companies all the time like to tlak about how many thousands of seeds they're selling. The goal is to get farmers to think in terms of thousands of seed per acre instead of pounds per acre.
The other farmer intends to use his new tender for seed corn, not just soybeans. Following a trend others are moving toward, he believes it's time to get away form handling so many bags of seed corn as well. For this year, since he had already purchased his seed before he decided to buy the tender, he won't have seed in plastic boxes. However, he says he will strongly consider using them in the future.
Most boxes contain 2,500 pounds, or 50 units, either of corn or soybeans. The advantage of the containers is that they are rodent-proof and keep seed dry. However, no one has yet said they are brace enough to store them full outside in the elements.
Handling more seed bulk and coming up with more sophisticated ways to get bulk seed to the planter, both corn and soybean seed, seem to be trends that are growing stronger this season.