Peter Brewer knew what he wanted in the way of no-till planting equipment, but he was having trouble finding it.
“I wanted more planting capacity,” says Brewer, who farms 3,000 acres near Trenton, MO. “I needed equipment of the right width to conform to my tramlines.”
Brewer owns an 80' self-propelled sprayer. He had set up a tramline (permanent wheel track) system to match the sprayer and needed a drill that evenly divided into 80'.
“I settled on a Great Plains 3510 no-till air seeder,” says Brewer. “Two 110-bu hoppers give me a lot of planting capacity between refills. But the drill was only 35' wide and I needed 40' to match my tramlines.”
The first winter he owned the rig, Brewer built 3' wings to add to either side of the drill, bringing the total planting units to 65. The extensions brought its width to 40.6' — not the 40' he wanted, but close enough.
Brewer built frames for the extensions of square steel tubing and hung furrow openers, planter units and closing wheels on the same 7.5" spacing of the main drill units. He then attached the wings to the original frame with heavy-duty hinges.
But there was a small hitch in the plan. The drill, without the new wings, folded to 14.5' tall. The added 3' extensions would put the rig into telephone and utility lines. Rigging the extensions to fold to the side would make the machine wider than Brewer wanted.
The solution? He attached the hinges to let the extensions fold behind, bat-wing style. To lock the wings in place in the field, Brewer installed over-centering latches — the kind used to anchor combine heads.
Weight was another problem
The factory-installed 42” hydraulic cylinders lifted and folded the original drill, but weren't hefty enough to lift the extensions' added weight. “I added a pair of 36" cylinders at the rear with flexible links, to act as helpers.”
He also had trouble finding seed distribution manifolds to fit the additional planter units.
“I looked for 13-hole manifolds; five 13-hole manifolds would make 65 ports,” he recalls. “But I couldn't find them. So I used 15-hole manifolds and plugged two holes in each manifold.
“To compensate for the 10 extra holes in the extensions, we needed to boost the air rpm some,” he says. “We haven't had any trouble since we did that.”
His modified drill allows Brewer to plant up to 300 acres/day. The 220-bu capacity on the drill lets him plant most of his fields without refilling. For bigger fields, Brewer tows a seed wagon for refills.
“This seeder does what I wanted it to do,” he says. “Once we did the initial shake-down on the modifications we made, it has operated pretty trouble-free.”