The Monosem MS vegetable planter is by far the best selling pneumatic planter for vegetables and other fine seeds in North America.
Today there a large number of these planters running in this country. They are used in every province, in the roughest conditions, right through the year, and they give their owners many years of good service without much maintenance.
The Monosem company in France is Europe’s biggest manufacturer of precision planters. Monosem planters have been in this country for more than 30 years. Up to this day everyone who has worked with one or who is farming next to a Monosem owner knows : "There is no other planter that can match the precision of a Monosem"
They were the first and only precision vacuum planters that were available for maize, sunflower and other crops for many years after 1974. In 1988 Monosem introduced their new generation vacuum mechanism “NG” featuring major improvements that added to the durability and simplicity of the popular maize planter. In 1997 then, Monosem introduced their fine seed planter “MS” ( Mini Seed ) borrowing many components from it’s big brother, the NG which made the machine far stronger than you would expect a vegetable planter needs to be.
Monosem offers 4 different planter row units for vegetables and fine seed.
Double row MS unit Version C
The “Version C” as a double row unit is the most commonly used model for onions, carrots, beet-root and other vegetables. It is designed to plant a 7cm double line of seeds with one seed metering unit. ( A 5cm double line is possible with a different seeding shoe.) Each planter unit requires a minimum row distance of 20cm.
4 Double row MS planter Version C
Single Row MS unit Version A
The “Version A” is a single row unit that is the most commonly used for spinach, turnips and other vegetables that would better grow in a single line. It is possible to convert a single row Version A into a double row Version C and the other way around within a few minutes but it requires additional components and parts to do the conversion. The Version A planter unit also requires a minimum row distance of 20cm.
3 Single Row MS Planter Version A
Single row MS Version B
The “Version B” is a very narrow single row unit. It only requires a minimum row distance of 14cm and can be used if you require a row distance closer than 20cm for crops that would perform better in single lines against the double lines.
8 Narrow row MS planter Version B2
Double row units MS Version D
15 Double row planter MS version D2
The “Version D” is usually a double row planter but can also be assembled as a triple row unit. It is always built with two single seed metering boxes on one carrier. It requires a minimum row distance of 26cm. The distance of the double row can be adjusted from 8cm to 11.5cm. This is specifically of advantage where larger crops are planted that prefer a double line but that would not grow to their full size if the double row is planted too close. Should the Monosem Version D planter unit be assembled as a triple row the front metering unit will be a single line and the rear unit will be a double line. All lines will be planted 5cm apart.
The “Version D2” is a longer double row planter unit with two single seed metering boxes on one carrier similar to Version D but it has two extra heavy cast iron intermediate press wheels that run behind the seed shoe and press the new seeds firmly into the ground to make sure there is good “seed to soil contact” and no air pockets remain underneath the seed. It also requires a minimum row distance of 26cm as Version D and the distance of the double row can also be adjusted from 8cm to 11.5cm.
Double row units MS Version D2
Double row planter with intermediate press wheels
Possible planter configurations :
The Monosem MS fine seed planter is always assembled to your specifications. The quantity of row units that you require depends on the crop you intend to plant and the space you have available between the tyres of your tractor.
Single bed assemblies :
3 Double row planter set for carrots 8 Double row planter set for onions
A customer that plants carrots with a tractor that runs on 1.5m wheel centre distance would most probably buy a 3 double-row MS while an onion farmer that can set his tractor track to 2.3m might order his machine with eight planter units. While almost everything is possible, most planters for carrots leave the Northern Equipment Solutions workshop with 3 or 4 units and most planters for onions with 5 or 6 double row planter units.
Triple bed assemblies :
15 Double row MS planter for onions 12 Double row MS planter
Planting your crop is the most important farming operation that requires the greatest care and precision. But because the weather conditions are very often not right for planting and you only get a limited period of time when moisture and temperature are perfect, many farmers realised the need for larger planters. The assembly team at Carrotech can build a Monosem MS fine seed planter for you that can easily plant more than 20 Hectares a day.
Assemblies with granular insecticide or fertiliser applicator :
5 Double row MS planter with MICROSEM 5 Double row MS planter with Fertiliser
The application of granular herbicide, insecticide or similar products is possible with the optional “Microsem” equipment (left picture). One 18 litre hopper needs to be fitted for max. two planter units. The Microsem augers that meter out the insecticide are highly precise and durable because the adjustment for the output is not done at their infeed nor outlet side but can only be set at the chain drive. By changing the gear ratio at the Microsem drive only, you can alter the insecticide output to the required quantity. 17 different settings are possible with the standard sprockets. Should you require more settings or finer adjustment additional sprockets are optionally available.
The application of Fertiliser is also possible with the MS planter but only if the planter is equipped with the heavier “Monoblock frame” that allows the fitment of a 175 litre or a 270 litre fertilizer hopper behind the Turbofan ( right picture ).
The planter unit:
The ruggedness of the Monosem MS planter body is really
exceptional in it’s class. It is so solidly build that it can
perform well in the roughest conditions.
The strong parallel linkage is holding the main carrier part
upright at all times which ensures an even performance of
the unit also in uneven terrain. The planting depth is set
by the front wheel. By turning a knob (yellow arrow ) that
screws the front wheel lower or higher the operator can
adjust how deep the planting shoe will put the seeds into
Everything else that follows the planting shoe can swivel
up and down independently following the soil contour
without influencing the planting depth.
Two springs (red arrow) can be tensioned to transfer weight off the front wheel onto the intermediate press wheels (green arrow) or onto the rear wheel (blue arrow).
All wheels run in a sturdy “fork type” frame that supports them from both sides. The front wheel that guides the planter unit is always a wheel with a flexible non inflated rubber tyre. The intermediate press wheels can either have a rubber tyre or a stainless steel lining according to the customer’s preference. For the rear position of the planter unit (blue arrow) there are 3 different wheels available. A wheel with a flexible non inflated rubber tyre, a wheel with a stainless steel lining or a “cage wheel” aligned with an expanded metal mesh. The stainless steel wheels work mostly in light to medium heavy soils. They are fitted with a “greenflex” scraper that keeps the wheels clean so that they leave a smooth finish. The rubber tyres work mostly in very heavy, sticky soils. This non inflated tyre does not need any scraper. Its own flexibility ensures that there is never too much soil build up around the wheel. The cage wheel is chosen in light conditions if the requirement if a fluffy finish.
Sturdy MS planter body 2
The intermediate press wheels (green arrow) are of
utmost significance when planting. These extra heavy
cast iron wheels run just behind the seed shoe and press
the new seeds firmly into the ground to make sure there
is good “seed to soil contact” and no air pockets remain
underneath the seed that can hinder proper root growth
later when the plants are young. The soils capillarity is
also improved by these heavy wheels so that all the seeds
get sufficient moisture to evenly germinate. Compared to
other fine seed planters these intermediate press wheels
on the Monosem MS really make a difference. While some
competitors do not offer any intermediate wheels or if they
do their wheels are much lighter the owner of a MS can be
sure that his precisely planted seeds get a maximum
chance of even emergence and growth.
The soil scrapers (black arrow) that follow the intermediate
press wheels can be set to down pressure and height to
cover the new seed with the desired amount of soil.
Thereafter the wide rear wheels (blue arrow) add just the
necessary re compaction according to the spring adjustment
that was set by the operator.
The seed metering system of the Monosem MS fine seed planter
MS Seed metering unit
This brilliantly designed unit will give its owner years of pleasure because it is :
highly precise and accurate yet
easy to adjust,
simple to maintain and
Adjustment of seed scraper One single seed per hole
By adjusting only one lever you can make sure that the result of the seed singulation inside the metering system is as close to 100% as you will ever get. Meter by meter through all the many hectares pip by pip will go past the control window without skips or doubles.
Easy access into the metering unit :
By loosening two wing-nuts you can easily take off the aluminium
cover of the metering system and have access to the seed disc.
Inside the cover, you can see the small opening ( yellow arrow )
that channels the seed from the white PVC seed hopper to the
seed disc. This opening only allows a hand full of seed to have
access to an area where seeds have contact to the rotating
seed disc. The green arrows in the picture above point to the
two secondary seed scrapers. These two spring loaded brass
pins run with their tips against the seed disc and knock off some
excess seed that might have been picked up by the holes in the
disc. You can not adjust these two secondary scrapers. You can
only disable them if necessary. Located at the bottom of the
cover is the ejector block ( red arrow ). Again spring loaded,
two curved brass ejectors run against the seed disc exactly
where the vacuum behind the seed disc is cut off. They help to
direct the fine seeds evenly off the disc into the seed chutes and
make a major contribution to the precise seed spacing of the
Monosem MS. Access into the metering unit
Stainless steel seed disc :
The stainless steel Monosem seed disc is bolted onto an “agitator”
whose sprocket-like edge gently agitates the hand full of seed that
has contact to the disc as it rotates clockwise together with the seed
disc. This brilliantly simple design agitates the seeds very efficiently
without any plastic or rubber parts that can wear. The seed disc can
have a double or single row of holes depending on the model and a
wide variety of hole sizes is available for every crop and seed size
from lettuce to cucumber. The stainless steel MS discs have a
diameter of 22cm and is 1mm thick. This large diameter allows the
Monosem MS to rotate their discs at a slower speed than a
competitor’s model with a smaller disc while achieving the same
seeding rate. The performance is enhanced and the wear is reduced
by the slower rotation.
The yellow arrow points to the first and the green arrow points to the
second primary seed scraper. It is their job to align a single seed to
each hole and knock off any excess seed so that there are no
doubles or skips, just one seed on every hole. The seed scrapers
can be adjusted to work more or less aggressive by setting the
singulation lever (red arrow ) to a different position. Agitator and seed scrapers
The body of the metering mechanism:
Behind the seed disc is the brass body of the metering mechanism.
During operation the 1mm thick stainless steel seed disc runs
against a wide surface of this brass body. The friction of the harder
stainless steel against the softer brass is very low. The combination
of these two materials make the mechanism extremely durable and
long lasting. There is no plastic or rubber used in the heart of the
Monosem MS, only durable metal parts that can not warp and won’t
easily wear. The yellow arrow points to the beginning of the suction
chamber where the vacuum starts to suck through the holes of the
rotating seed disc. This is the area where a hand full of seeds have
contact to the disc. The green arrow points to the end of the suction
chamber for the first and outer row of holes while the red arrow points
to the spot where suction ends for the inner row of holes. The ejector
block on the other side of the seed disc also works in this area to
guide the seeds off the disc. Further left you see the white arrow
pointing onto the blow hole where air from the pressure side is used
to clean the holes and prevent blockage.Brass body of metering system
The seeding shoe :
Double row seed chute Double row seeding shoe
The seed chutes of the MS double row planter unit is steep and wide ( left picture ). It’s outlet is designed not to be blocked by soil which makes planting in moist conditions a pleasure. It is also not easily blocked by larger seeds. While larger size beet-root seeds easily create a bridge or blockage in the seed chutes of other planters a Monosem MS will plant it without problems.
The double row seed shoe is also well designed that clods can not be caught and dragged along ( right picture ). The cast iron
tips (arrows ) that cut the furrows in the ground are made of hard wearing material and bolt onto the shoe’s body to be replaced separately.
Single row seed chute Single row seeding shoe
The single row seed shoe is designed to plant shallow or deep equally well. The cast iron tips (yellow arrow) can be replaced separately.
Unmatched accuracy :
Least aggressive position of the lever Middle position of the lever
The accuracy that is possible with the Monosem MS really sets
it apart from any other fine seed planter model on the market.
Inside the mechanism, seed scrapers align the seeds to the holes
in the seed disc and efficiently eliminate all doubles without
creating any skips. As the disc turns all the seeds that are sucked
to a hole have to pass multiple edges of the seed scraper and are
stirred just enough that only one seed remains on every hole. By
setting this lever to a more or to a less aggressive position you
can easily make sure that your Monosem planter plants 100%
accurate, pip by pip, every meter of it’s way.
Whether the seeds are big or small, flat or round, coated or
uncoated, you can be sure a Monosem will always pick up seed.
Thanks to the high air volume that is created by the Turbofan
and the slow turning seed disc with larger holes than most other
fine seed planters will have this MS planter will always suck seeds
on the disc, in most cases it will pick up more than one. The secret
for success has thus not much to do with the vacuum but with the
fine adjustment of the seed scrapers. An easily accessible lever on
the outer side of the Monosem metering mechanism is used to
adjust the height of the seed scrapers. While the lever has a wide
range of settings the seed scrapers move only a tiny little bit when
you set the lever far over from an aggressive position to a non
aggressive one. Most aggressive position of the lever
Common "zero" mark All levers set to “zero position”
But the Monosem MS planter is still easy to use. Once an operator has found the setting of the seed scraper that gives him best results on the first planter unit that he calibrates he can set all other planter units to the same setting without calibrating them individually. In the Monosem factory in France all seed metering boxes are not only manufactured and machined with greatest care and precision they are also tested and calibrated with accuracy.
After calibrating every seed metering unit carefully a Monosem technician puts a mark and a sticker onto each unit so that the operator has a common “zero” mark to work from. On the right picture there are six metering boxes all set to the “zero” position. However their levers do not seem to be in line between the yellow arrows they are all set the same. Because of the common “zero” mark the operator of a MS planter can be sure that all seed scrapers aligning tiny seeds to even tinier holes will wipe off the unwanted doubles to precisely the same aggressiveness on all planter units if he has set their levers to the same setting.
Insensitive vacuum system :
Vacuum side of the Turbofan Pressure side of the Turbofan
Monosem MS planters use under-pressure (vacuum) to suck seed gently onto the holes of a rotating seed disc. It also uses pressure to clean the seed discs and prevent dust from blocking the holes. Both, the under-pressure and the pressure are created by a PTO driven turbine, the Monosem “Turbofan”. Being the same fan than on the bigger NG corn planters this device is over-designed for it’s duty on the MS and will most unlikely ever give you trouble. It does only create a light under-pressure of -5 KPa but it moves a high air volume which makes the system totally insensitive for variations in PTO revolutions. The operator does not need to keep his eyes on pressure gauges (which are non existing on a Monosem planter) to ensure the correct seed singulation. The MS does operate perfect even when tractor revolutions are low.
Dust Trap Device to empty seed hopers
A dust trap (left picture) is incorporated into the pressure line to prevent dirt and dust to be injected into the system. After many hectares the trap however can not restrict the system as a dirty filter could. Long cleaning intervals provide sufficient maintenance.
A device to empty the seed hoppers is also part of the standard equipment that is mounted onto every MS planter. It works exactly like an industrial vacuum cleaner and is very useful when it comes to changing seed. Right through the open lid of the seed hoppers the operator can suck the last seed out of the metering unit into the emptying container.
Drive wheels :
Both ground wheels that carry the Monosem MS planter are driving
wheels. This ensures uninterrupted running of the seed mechanism
even through wet patches, ditches or extremely uneven terrain.
There is nothing to set on the drive wheels. A heavy 3/4 inch chain
delivers the driving force from the wheels to the 22mm hexagonal
main drive shaft. What you do need to set once is the height of the
toolbar or frame. When the MS planter will be planting on raised
beds the operator needs to set the ground wheels to carry the frame
much higher than when planting on flat fields. On bolt (yellow arrow)
is loosened on each ground wheel and set to a different position to
achieve a lower or higher toolbar height. Adjustable wheel unit
Seed spacing transmission:
Easy accessible gearbox Easy adjustments for desired gear ratio
To adjust the in-line seed spacing a transmission box is mounted just left of the right ground wheel. A large 5/8 inch chain connects the sprocket from the main drive shaft to the sprocket of the planter unit’s shaft. It is easily accessible and the operator only needs one hand to make changes. After the cover is taken off and the tensioner is locked in the released position it is possible to slide a different sprocket into place on the bottom shaft and exchange the sprocket on the top shaft to get the desired gear-ratio according to a seed chart that is delivered with the user manual. 18 different settings are possible with the standard sprockets.
Standard MS Frame MS planter with Standard MS Frame
The standard frame is a bolted construction of a 127 x 127mm square beam in the rear and a 120 x 60mm rectangular beam in the front. Certainly strong enough this frame caters for all standard assemblies with or without Microsem applicators.
Monoblock Frame MS planter with Monoblock frame and Fertiliser
The other option is the “Monoblock” frame which is a welded construction of a 127 x 127 square beam in the rear and another beam in the front of the same size. This frame is used when the application of fertiliser is requested or when a ridger attachment is fitted to the MS planter.
Optional extras :
Platform for monitoring operations
Folding Frame Options For Ease Of Transport