Automation Ensures Accuracy

- Jason Kaeb

Accuracy. Accountability. Safety. It is required in today’s world. Concerns over chemical use, the environment, stewardship and sustainability continue to be top of mind, and that’s why accuracy is core to success.

Automation not only improves the accuracy, but the right system can also deliver accountability and safety. Having historical records of which seed varieties were treated with which and how much treatment is important to verify that your operator is correctly performing their job.

In its most basic form, accurately treating seed is about delivering the correct amount of treatment onto the correct amount of seed. This type of accuracy and precision can only come from automated systems that eliminate human error and self-correct.

It’s important to understand the different methodologies to control the flow of either seed or liquid. There are two primary methods to meter both seed and treatment: volumetric metering and gravimetric metering.

Volumetric metering uses a flow meter to monitor the liquid flow and rate of seed treatment and a seed wheel to deliver a specified rate of seed flow. With volumetric metering, a calibration process is required to ensure that both the flow meter and the seed wheel are measuring and metering accurately.

Gravimetric metering uses loss-in-weight technology to determine the seed or treatment flow rate and does not require calibration. The treatment is placed on a high-resolution scale where it automatically meters the flow based on the changing weight on the scale. Seed is delivered from a scale hopper and the automation system controls a precise, adjustable gate to meter the seed flow at the desired rate into the treater.

Regardless of method, automation brings together seed flow and liquid flow to accurately treat seed while maintaining environmental stewardship and operator safety.

Remember: Upgrading an existing system to add metering for seed flow or seed treatment flow can incrementally improve the system, but it still requires manual adjustment by the operator. The most accurate, safe and environmentally accountable systems control both the seed and the liquid flow.