Seeing is Believing
Maximize Yield Potential This Spring
Unlike the weather and commodity prices, planter accuracy is an area that can be controlled by producers. Whether you are planting corn, soybeans, cotton, peanuts, sunflowers, canola, or other specialty crops this spring, planter accuracy plays a significant role in determining your crops’ yield potential, and ultimately, your farm’s profitability. With a wide variety of industry claims, producers feel the need to see planter precision in order to believe it. After all, planter accuracy is not something to be taken lightly.
Factors Affecting Planter Accuracy
Seed singulation: Precise seed singulation is necessary for uniform plant spacing, which minimizes inter-row plant competition for nutrients, water, and sunlight. Planting speed and the condition of the ground at planting can both play a significant role in seed singulation. Ensuring your planter row unit is capable of accurately singulating seed at the desired planting speed is crucial. A Monsanto study on the Effects of Singulation on Plant Population and Corn Yield Potential found that, “Every effort should be taken to achieve the highest possible singulation.” Planter components that affect seed singulation include drive chains, the meter, individual row control (IRC), and the seed tube.
Seeding depth: Maintaining a consistent seeding depth leads to even emergence. Plants that emerge late are unlikely to catch up to those around them and will remain growth-stages behind throughout the growing season. As a result, the yield potential in late-emerging plants is significantly reduced. Additionally, planting at the optimum depth is the first step in achieving good seed-to-soil contact. Checking the planter depth in each new field is recommended to ensure that the correct depth is being reached. Planter components that affect seeding depth include row cleaners, no-till coulters, double-disc openers, gauge wheels, Row-Pro™, and automated planter downforce.
Seed-to-soil contact: Seed-to-soil contact is critical to beginning the growing stage and maximizing yield potential. The ability to achieve proper seed-to-soil contact is affected by the soil and residue conditions that are present at the time of planting. Several key row unit components aid in achieving seed-to-soil contact. It is important to make sure that these components are set to match the field conditions when planting. Planter components that affect seed-to-soil contact include row cleaners, seed firmers, and closing wheels, including spider wheels.
Seeing is Believing: Maximize your yield potential with a Great Plains Planter
With the Great Plains planter lineup, seeing is believing. Great Plains offers planters with innovative technology to ensure accurate seed placement each and every time.
- Air-Pro® positive air meter: Great Plains offers planters with positive air delivery to the meters. One of the many advantages of a positive air meter (opposed to competitive vacuum-style meters) is the reduced torque it takes for each meter wheel to turn. This leads to greater accuracy and reduced wear. Additionally, positive air meters have less maintenance than vacuum meters. They also do not require the meter to be completely sealed in order to operate. The Air-Pro meter uses air isolation on the brushes to deliver a true “dead drop” to the seed tube.
- Optic red Clear-Shot® seed tube: The Clear-Shot seed tube is another component designed to give the perfect “dead drop” seed delivery from the meter down to the seed trench. The Clear-Shot seed tubes are capable of placing seeds at planting speeds near 5.5 mph. The optic red color allows the Clear-Shot sensors to see directly through the translucent tube, avoiding sensors on the inside of the tube that may disrupt the seed’s path. The Clear-Shot sensors can handle seeds as small as grain-sorghum and canola with high accuracy.
- Individual Row Control (IRC – Electric Drive): Electric drive is an option on Great Plains 5000 series planters: the PL5500 and the PL5800. Electric drive allows producers to maximize yield potential and use seed efficiently, as theIRC eliminates double populations and equally spaces seeds, even when navigating curves and contours. Variable-rate population, turn compensation, and control of individual rows are all benefits of IRC. With the addition of IRC, planter maintenance is also greatly reduced by eliminating all chains and shafts needed on traditional drive systems. To learn more about IRC and Great Plains 5000 series planters, visit the PL5500 and the PL5800 product pages.
- AccuShot™: AccuShot is a patented liquid fertilizer control system unique to Great Plains. AccuShot allows a shot of fertilizer to be directly applied in-furrow, where it can do the most good. Compared to dribble banded application methods, starter fertilizer or in-furrow fungicide rates can be greatly reduced while maintaining and improving yields. AccuShot’s precision placement of liquid inputs in-furrow is a win-win for farmer profitability and the environment.
- Narrow and twin-row spacing configuration: Great Plains offers a wide range of narrow and twin-row configurations that include 15", 20", and 22" narrow rows, as well as 30", 36", 38", and 40" twin rows. Research has shown that numerous row crops across different farming regions of the country benefit from being grown in narrower than 30" single rows or in a twin-row configuration.
To see precision in action, visit https://www.greatplainsag.com/en/implement-blocks/united-states/yield-pro-planters or contact your local Great Plains dealer to learn more and see our current financing options.
About the Agronomist – Blake Bergkamp
Blake Bergkamp grew up in south central Kansas on a small family farm. Growing up in this area provided Blake with a unique experience in agriculture, as continuous wheat and conventional tillage still dominate many of the acres. Blake attended Kansas State University where he completed a bachelor’s degree in Agricultural Economics and an MS degree in Agronomy. During college, Blake gained valuable experience with crop production and physiology at the Kansas State University Agronomy Lab.
In 2018, Blake joined the Great Plains team as a Sales Agronomist. As Sales Agronomist, Blake’s responsibilities include writing agronomic and educational content for customers and producers; designing field tests and compiling data; planning and conducting events and field demonstrations; and working alongside the product development team to ensure positive agronomic outcomes.