The Useful Duck!

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Tuesday, October 14, 2014

The Seeder Meter, which everyone who owns a grain drill should have

There are essential things in life. A good pair of pliers, a real crescent wrench, a good hammer which still has a handle, underwear, coffee...
And for the farmer who runs his drill more than 235feet per year- The Seeder Meter which was invented by a fellow farmer, Dave Berckes of Canby, MN.

This is the Seeder Meter which can be found at

It's use is quite simple.
It is a balance scale which is calibrated to read in pounds per acre. (It also uses the communist system but we ignore that here at the lazy farmer. (I mean after all, did Noah build in Ark in meters, Did king Arthur pull a two meter sword from the stone? Did Robin Hood carry around a kilo of arrows? I think not! Although speaking of kilos, Chronic Boy has a grow card, today the skateboard ramp at the park, tomorrow the world!)
But, I digress...
Wow! I really digress, perhaps this is why I do NOT have a real job...

Ok, balance scale reads in lbs/acre... You disconnect one seed tube and hang a bucket under it. 

Then you drive a set distance determined by your drill spacing. My drill is 7.5" and I drive 234 feet. I think... I haven't actually looked at the chart in a while and who knows, this may account for the seed not always coming out correctly with the acres!

I use a calc-an-acre to read out distance in the tractor cab. I also hang the bucket on the lift of the drill. It keeps rain out of my home-built magnet sensor that turns the calc-an-acre off when the drill lifts.

Then you weigh the sample on the balance scale. It is pretty simple. You can also use this system to calibrate a drill at the shop.
The scale has a handy level built in.

You lift the wheel off the ground and then turn the wheel until your calc-an-acre reads the correct feet. If you understand basic math you can figure out the number of revolutions. I use my acre counter and have my little helper turn the wheel. Sometimes I pretend I'm measuring the seed and see just how long I can get him to turn the wheel before he gets mad at me.
This is quite entertaining...
But, I digress...

The disadvantage to the seeder meter is that is is hard to use in really light seed at low rates. You have to get creative to weigh 10lbs per acre of Timothy. I've used it at 8lbs per acre on fescue with somewhat mixed results. It works wonderfully all those weird seeds that are never in the drill chart. And whose drill chart is ever correct?

I use it in wheat in conjunction with a density meter (which he also sells) as the density of wheat can vary quite a bit and makes a huge difference in planting rates when planting at modern seed rates of over 120lbs per acre.

I am also a dealer. (Of seeder meters) But, I've only sold one or two. I have no idea why farmers won't buy them. They just kind of look at me funny. Of course people often look at me funny. Who knows....

And now I have to go to work. It rained last night... I planted ten acres of timothy before it rain. I didn't use the Seeder Meter, I just guessed by using the chart. I planted at 8lbs instead of 12lbs and so I planted it all twice. Yes, I am a really GOOD farmer and you should take my advice on all things!

In other news, I found that Almond Joy candy bars go very well with coffee. I have no idea why it was in the A/C vent but it looked fresh and I ate it... (just adding to my credibility here!)


  1. Looks like a good measure/calibrate system. My Bourgault came with what looks like a fishing scale. In fact one spring I used an old fishing scale by mistake thinking it was the Bourgault scale. Seemed to work fine. We need a good scale when using Monsanto's expensive seed.

    1. It is interesting that all things farming are built with assumption of cheap seed and fertilizer. You could loose $10 every time you fill your fertilizer. If you drop a bag of corn seed you are picking .20 seed out of the gravel!
      The calibrated scale is a lot easier than jacking up the drill and turning the wheel.

  2. Sounds like a good invention.
    Although I can (and do) work in either imperial or metric I have to say that metric is far superior, so much easier to do the maths with!

    1. If I was a little better with fractions... I think imperial is better for estimating. The old-timers had it figured out.

  3. I have a seeder meeter and it will not balance at zero unless I add considerable weight to the opposite end of the bin will it still be acturate ?

    1. It will still be accurate. Cloth bag still in canister?

  4. I have a seeder meeter and it will not zero unless I add a cosinderable amount of weight to the opposite end of bin will it still be accurate

    1. I would contact the manufacturer. There is a link to accuscales in my above post. I assume once you balance the scale it would be accurate but I can't see why it would be out of balance to begin with.
      I suppose you will know when you run out of seed way to early.

  5. Well I guess I get the dummy award for this week I read and re read the instructions about 5 times and come to find out I was doing it wrong . I couldn't see the line was in the middle of the weight cube once I got it lined up it was pretty close to balanced

    1. I don't know why I didn't suggest that because I have done the exact same thing.
      In fact I took a sharpie and marked the center point so I would not forget. I also wrote the number of feet I needed to drive on the bottom of the balance cup.
      Sorry I was not very helpful!

  6. If I measure the rolling circumference of the tire and divide it into 234, will that be fairly accurate? My tire was 94 inches. Took 234*12 and divided that number by 94. Got approx.30 revolutions that I must turn by hand to get the population.


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