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Published by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, St. Joseph, Michigan

Citation:  2018 ASABE Annual International Meeting  1801563.(doi:10.13031/aim.201801563)
Authors:   Sylvester A Badua, Ajay Sharda, Ryan Strasser, Ignacio Ciampitti
Keywords:   Click here to enter keywords and key phrases, separated by commas, with a period at the end

Abstract. Seed lubricants play a crucial role in proper seed singulation by ensuring the seeds flow smoothly through the metering unit. However, the harmful chemicals inadvertently expelled along with the air during the seed metering process have raised concerns regarding the effects of available lubricant to the environment. An alternative seed lubricant has been developed from soy-protein based material, however no knowledge exists regarding its suitability for seed flowability. Therefore, this study was designed to assess seed flowability by quantifying seed singulation of corn and soybeans. Horsch planter row units with commercial seed tube sensor were used to run planting scenarios in the laboratory. Row unit was programmed to plant seeds at 5 mph simulated ground speed with a target population of 89,000 seed per hectare for corn and 370,000 seed per hectare for soybean. Two treatment factors were selected, seed size and seed lubricant. Three levels of seed size- small, medium, large and four levels of seed lubricant -talc, fluency agent; soy-protein based, and fourth being no lubricant. Data acquisition system was setup to collect seed meter revolutions, and seed tube sensors data and quantify percentage seed singulation, skips and multiple. Each test was replicated three time in a completely randomized design. Results suggest that size of seeds could potentially influence seed flowability regardless of the seed treatment coating applied in corn. Large seeds of different shapes showed greater singulation irrespective of type of seed lubricant used. In soybeans, results suggest that seed lubricant and seed size could potentially affect seed flowability. Medium size soybeans exhibited greater singulation while fluency agent and soy-based protein resulted in highest singulation and the lowest skips and multiples. Overall, results indicate that soy-based protein seed lubricant have the potential to provide equivalent or better seed flowability when compared other commercially available seed lubricants. The simple cost analysis of the different lubricants showed that soy-protein based lubricant may cost 57% lower in lubricant cost per lb compared to talc, however the greater value may be in environment stewardship.

Keywords. Seed flowability, row crop planter, singulation, seed lubricant

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