Prairie seed planting machines

by Bill Kleiman, Nachusa Grasslands

I first saw a picture of an old pull-behind seeder Chris Helzer was using in Nebraska and I started looking for one.  We now have three of these drop seeders.  If you buy one get one that has been stored in a shed.

These seeders have a rotating mixer in the bottom of the hopper.  They have adjustable holes in the bottom to set a seed rate.  The tires turning rotates the mixer.  Everything needs lots of grease.

Below is a photo of a test where I sprayed glue on paper and ran the drop seeder over it one time to see how it spread the seed. I liked the results.

Below Nachusa crew are planting a big field to prairie with four seeders.  The orange cone helps us line up.

A loader is typically needed to lift the seeder to a trailer. Russ Brunner taught me you can unload by slowly going back and forth, each time moving a foot towards the rear.  I assume going back up the trailer would be harder.

Below is a small version by James Alwill with aerators for a bit of disturbance.

We also have a Vicon pendulum seeder that we use for areas up to a few acres.  These are good for areas with stumps, brush and other obstacles.  We extended the mixer rod inside the hopper to keep the seed from bridging.

Jay Stacy and Dee Hudson loading a mix.

Below is that same test with the Pendulum seeder.  Good results.  The seed does not fling far from the pendulum seeder so your passes back and forth need to be tight.

We have also used air seeders which work well, but loading a seed mix at their plant spills precious seed.   Using an end loader in the field might work better. These contractors tend to be a bit busy to deal with our small fields.  We got tired of waiting.





About Grassland Restoration Network blog

Bill Kleiman publishes this blog. Bill's daytime job is manager of Nachusa Grasslands. We are looking for guest authors on various topics of grassland habitat restoration. Contact me with your ideas or drafts.
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1 Response to Prairie seed planting machines

  1. James McGee says:

    Your seeders look really great. Still it is hard for me to fathom having enough seed to need one. Nachusa is in a completely different league than most groups doing restoration.

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