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Regina P. Bracy and Richard L. Parish

Stanhay, Carraro, and Gaspardo precision vegetable seeders were evaluated for seeding uniformity with seeds of five vegetable crops—cabbage (Brassica oleracea L. Capitata group), carrot (Daucus carota L.), cucumber (Cucumis sativus L.), onion (Allium cepa L. Cepa group), and spinach (Spinacia oleracea L.). Five measurements [mean, percentage of misses, percentage of multiples, quality of feed, and precision (defined as the coefficient of variation after misses and multiples were discarded)] were used to evaluate seeder uniformity. Using all five measurements provided a more complete determination of the metering uniformity of the seeders than was possible in prior work when only mean and coefficient of variation were used. The belt seeder (Stanhay) was effective at singulating spherical seeds (cabbage) and nearly spherical seeds (onion)as the most precise vacuum seeder (Carraro). Seeding uniformity of all seeders with elongated (carrot and cucumber) or angular (spinach) seeds was inadequate for precision seeding.

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R.L. Parish and R.P. Bracy

Prior studies have demonstrated that a Gaspardo vacuum seeder provides less uniform seed spacing than a Stanhay belt seeder. It was hypothesized that the difference was primarily because of the greater seed drop height on the Gaspardo seeder. A Gaspardo metering unit was modified by adding a slide or an enclosed tube to guide the seeds from the release point (seed plate) to 1.0 inch (25 mm) above the bottom of the seed furrow. Seed uniformity tests were conducted with cabbage (Brassica oleracea), onion (Allium cepa), and mustard (Brassica juncea) seeds. The modified planter unit was compared with an unmodified unit. No improvement in seeding uniformity was noted with either the slide or the tube. In fact, seed placement uniformity was degraded with the addition of the slide and tube. Although it is probable that the seed spacing nonuniformity was caused by drop height, attempts to control the seed trajectory were unsuccessful.

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H.C. Price and A. G. Taylor

Field studies were. conducted in 1992 and 1993 to evaluate vacuum planters with respect to precision placement of seeds and to separately study plant spacing and emergence uniformity on stand establishment and yield. All studies were. performed with Bush Blue Lake 47. In 1992, a cooperative study was conducted with the Experiment Station and ten growers in Upstate New York representing four makes of commercial planters. No planter was able to precision seed, and seedling emergence revealed a large tendency to clump plant, with less errors made in the form of misses or skips. In 1993, tractor planting speed was studied as a variable from 3.4 to 12.3 KPH (2.1 to 7.6 MPH) on spacing uniformity and yield. The average number of seedlings per meter of row was similar for all treatments, however, the variation in spacing between plants generally increased as planter speed increased. In research plots, in-rowspacing and emergence uniformity were studied. Plant population was held constant and three in-row spacings were. developed (1 plant 5 cm apart, 2 plants 10 cm apart or 3 plants 15 cm apart). There were. no differences in yield in this study. Daily emergence was recorded and seedlings were grouped into three categories based on their time to emergence (early, medium or late). Yield was more than twice as much from early than late emerging seedlings, while the medium group was intermediate with respect to yield.

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R.P. Bracy, R.L. Parish, and E.B. Moser

Field studies were conducted in Fall 1991 and 1992 to determine if cauliflower (Brassica oleracea L. Botrytis Group) could be precision seeded to a stand without subsequent thinning and what the optimum seed spacing necessary to directly seed cauliflower to a stand. Seed spacings of 10, 20, and 30 cm at one seed per hill and 30 cm at two seeds per hill were evaluated for effect on yield, head weight, plant population, and early harvest percentage. As evaluated in the laboratory, seeder precision (accuracy) was good with regard to seed counts and spacing measurements at the various seed spacings. Seeder precision evaluated in the field varied in distribution patterns among seed spacings and years. Cauliflower was successfully precision seeded to a stand without thinning during 2 years of fall plantings. Cauliflower directly seeded at one seed per hill and a 20-cm spacing produced total and average head weights similar to cauliflower seeded 10 cm apart and thinned to 30 cm—the seeding method currently used by some commercial operators.

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R. P. Bracy, R. L. Parish, P. E. Bergeron, E. B. Moser, and R. J. Constantin

A study to evaluate the seeding rate necessary for precision seeding cabbage to a stand was initiated during the spring of 1989. A Stanhay precision seeder was used to plant cabbage seed at 10-cm (thinned to 30-cm), 20-cm, 30-cm (1 seed/hill), and 30-cm (2 seed/hill) spacings. Total weight was not significantly affected by seed spacing, but head size decreased with an increase in number of heads. Cabbage spaced 30 cm (1 seed/hill) apart produced the highest yield of marketable heads (1007 gms). Lab measurements were determined by operating the planter over a lubricated board and measuring seed spacing. Lab measurements of spacing indicated actual spacing was closely associated with expected spacing of each treatment. Field measurements of plant spacing were used to associate seed placement between lab and field spacings. Graphical analysis indicated spacing within a treatment was similar in both lab and field treatments. Small differences between data collected in the lab or field were attributed to loss of plants in the field.

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Regina P. Bracy, Richard L. Parish, Paul E. Bergeron, E.B. Moser, and R. J. Constantin

Field studies were conducted in Spring 1989 and 1990 to determine if cabbage (Brassica oleracea L. Capitata Group) could be precision-seeded to a stand without subsequent thinning and to determine the optimum seed spacing necessary to seed cabbage directly to a stand. Seed spacings of 10, 20, and 30 cm at one seed per hill and 30 cm at two seeds per hill were evaluated for effect on yield, head weight, plant population, and harvest percentage. Seeder precision (accuracy) with regard to seed counts and spacing measurements at the various seed spacings, as evaluated in the laboratory, was good. Seeder precision evaluated in the field varied in distribution patterns among seed spacings and years. Cabbage directly seeded at one seed per hill and a 30-cm spacing produced yields and head weights similar to or higher than cabbage seeded 10 cm apart and thinned to 30 cm-the seeding method currently used by some commercial operators.

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Regina P. Bracy, Richard L. Parish, and E.B. Moser

Field studies were conducted in Fall 1991 and 1992 to determine 1) if cauliflower (Brassica oleracea L. Botrytis Group) could be precision-seeded to a stand without subsequent thinning and 2) the optimum seed spacing necessary to directly seed cauliflower to a stand. Seed spacings of 10, 20, and 30 cm at one seed per hill and 30 cm at two seeds per hill were evaluated for effect on yield, head weight, plant population, and early harvest percentage. As evaluated in the laboratory, seeder precision (accuracy) was good in regard to seed counts and spacing measurements at the various seed spacings. In the field, seeder precision varied in distribution patterns among seed spacings and years. Cauliflower directly seeded at one seed per hill and a 20-cm spacing produced yields and head weights similar to cauliflower seeded 10 cm apart and thinned to 30 cm—the seeding method currently used by some commercial operators.

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Regina P. Bracy, Richard L. Parish, and Joe E. McCoy

Precision vegetable seeders were found to have unexpected variation in seed spacing uniformity. A belt seeder and vacuum seeder were evaluated using cabbage (Brassica oleracea L. capitata group) seeded at different seed spacings to determine if seeder uniformity improved with increasing seed spacing. Seeding uniformity of the belt seeder was not affected by seed spacing, but uniformity of the vacuum seeder was. Variation in seed spacing with the vacuum seeder was consistent in absolute units, thus seed spacing nonuniformity (expressed as a percentage of theoretical spacing) decreased with increasing seed spacing. Operating the vacuum seeder with the air pressure seed release mechanism disengaged improved seeder precision. Uniformity and precision of the belt seeder were better than that of the vacuum seeder.

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Wayne C. Porter and Richard L. Parish

Cabbage (Brassica oleracea L. Capitata) was direct-seeded with a precision seeder or with a bulk seeder. Treatments with the bulk seeder consisted of blending viable, hybrid cabbage seed with nonviable, open-pollinated seed at several ratios to reduce the cost of planting hybrid seed. The study demonstrated that farmers with small acreages can obtain equivalent net income per acre using bulk seeders compared to using more expensive precision seeders. The study also showed that the additional cost per acre of a precision seeder is small compared to other input costs (for the acreage assumptions used here). Low percentages of hybrid seed in the bulk seeder (10% to 50%) were not economical. Precision seeding to a stand reduced the need for thinning labor and resulted in equivalent yields and net income.

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Regina P. Bracy and Richard L. Parish

Stands of brassica crops obtained with precision seeders are sometimes inadequate or nonuniform. Although several types of covering devices and presswheels are available from precision seeder manufacturers, the effects of covering devices and presswheels on plant emergence of direct-seeded Brassica crops have not been determined. In Spring and Fall 1996, six crops of mustard [Brassica juncea (L.) Czerniak] and four crops of cabbage (Brassica oleracea L. capitata group) were direct seeded with a precision belt seeder using four covering devices and four rear presswheels. All of the covering devices and presswheels evaluated were adequate for direct seeding mustard and cabbage under the soil moisture conditions and soil type (silt loam or fine sandy loam) found in these experiments. Although poor stands were obtained with all seed covering devices and presswheels when 7.8 inches (199 mm) of rain occurred within 3 days of planting, plant stand of cabbage was greater when the paired arm device was used than with drag-type or no covering devices.