Focus, Food Service & Agriculture, and Manufacturing

West Michigan agriculture product recognized for design

Seed sensor is engineered to produce critical information for farmers.

December 5, 2014
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Seed sensor
The seed-tube-mounted sensor detects row-crop planting populations at high rates on a wide variety of seeds. Courtesy DICKEY-john Corp.

The American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers has recognized a West Michigan product as “one of the year's most innovative designs in engineering products or systems for the food and agriculture industries.”

St. Joseph-based DICKEY-john Corp.’s Hy Rate Plus LED Seed Sensor won an AE50 award from the organization. The seed sensor will be featured in the January/February 2015 special AE50 issue of ASABE's magazine, Resource: Engineering & Technology for a Sustainable World.

"We are truly honored to receive the AE50 award for our Hy Rate Plus LED Seed Sensor,” said Nolan Bangert, DICKEY-john applications engineer.

Bangert said the award is “indicative of DICKEY-john's continued commitment to the creation of technologically innovative products through the use of engineering excellence.”

The Hy Rate Plus LED Seed Sensor is a highly accurate and intelligent seed-tube-mounted sensor for detecting row-crop planting populations at high rates on a wide variety of seeds.

The sensor utilizes a first of its kind advanced proprietary software algorithm and an improved light-emitting source in order to detect virtually every seed that passes through the sensing area.

From larger seeds such as corn to small seeds like canola, the Hy Rate Plus accurately counts seeds during planting, providing confidence that row units are working properly and seeds are being placed for optimum yield potential.

Equipped with two to three times more light-emitting diodes than any other seed population sensor on the market, and by spacing these LEDs close together, the Hy Rate Plus Seed Sensor virtually eliminates dead zones in the seed tube, according to Bangert.

As the seeds pass through the light field in the sensing tube, a proprietary software algorithm quickly learns what seed type is being planted and adjusts its detection sensitivity accordingly. This provides for better seed-counting accuracy across the widest range of seed sizes, he said.

The Hy Rate Plus Seed Sensor also automatically adjusts its detection sensitivity in dusty conditions, allowing the sensor to effectively distinguish seeds from dirt, dust and debris, which results in better counting accuracy, even on windy days. Critical per-row planter performance data, such as percent of singulation, percent of multiples, percent of skips and spacing quality are sent to the cab monitor when the sensor is used with the IntelliAg Working Set Member 2 seed singulation module.

“The Hy Rate Plus Seed Sensor takes the guesswork out of the true population of seeds being planted in the field regardless of the size and shape of the seed,” said Pat Fuchs, DICKEY-john product manager. “The operator can now receive accurate data of the planter’s performance across multiple seed types grown on his farm.”

Companies from around the world submit entries to the annual AE50 competition and up to 50 of the best products are chosen by a panel of international engineering experts. The judges select products that will best advance engineering for the food and agriculture industries.

The AE50 awards program is sponsored by Resource magazine to emphasize the role of new products and systems in bringing advanced technology to the marketplace. The engineering developments help farmers, food processors and equipment manufacturers cut costs, enhance quality and increase profits, Fuchs said.

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