It's Time to Grow!
Grow your crops
Setting a seed up for success starts with planting. Producers should pay special attention to seed spacing, seed depth, and seed-to-soil contact, as these all play a vital role in growing a healthy crop.
Seed Spacing: Adequate seed spacing helps ensure that each seed reaches its maximum potential to produce a bountiful yield. Proper seed spacing gives every seed an equal opportunity to access nutrients, water, and sunlight. Without enough space (or uneven space), this means the plants will have less energy to produce grain, which in turn, means less profitability for the farmer.
Tip: Before planting, take the time to calibrate your drill as it will ensure that seed placement and delivery are more precise. To watch a video on how to calibrate your Great Plains Drill, click here.
Seed Depth: To provide seeds their best possible start, producers should note the importance of consistent seed depth. Consistent seeding depth is the foundation of proper germination and even emergence. Planting too deep or too shallow can be equally problematic. When planting in dry conditions, not planting deep enough may limit germination due to the lack of moisture around the seed. Seeds that are planted too shallow are more susceptible to winter kill and drought conditions. Planting too deep, even if moisture is adequate, may delay or cause uneven emergence. Varying field conditions and soil types contribute to these challenges. Even variations from one row to the next all factor into consistent emergence.
Getting your drill to perform consistently requires more than setting the depth of the press wheels. It should include familiarizing yourself with your seeding tool adjustments from overall settings like down pressure and levelness and to fine tuning adjustments on the individual row units. Performing these adjustments will help maximize the potential of your seeding tool. While planting depth is most thought about by the operator, other adjustments may still need to be made to allow it to perform consistently across a variety of field conditions and soil types.
Tip: After you begin to plant, stop and check planting depth with a seed digger. First, locate the intersection of where the closing wheels created a mound of soil and gently brush away the soil, down towards the trench. Once you find a seed, scrape the soil on either side of the trench to field level, being careful not to re-bury your seed. After the loose soil is pushed aside horizontally, use your seed digger to measure vertically from the top of the trench down to the mid-point of the seed. This is your seeding depth.
Seed-to-Soil Contact: Even with proper seed spacing and depth, a producer’s efforts may be in vain if a drill fails to achieve appropriate seed-to-soil contact. Seed-to-soil contact refers to the environment and conditions that directly surround the individual seeds. When an individual seed is firmed into moist soil, it is more likely to germinate. Drill components like the Keeton® Seed Firmer and Seed-Lok® Firming Wheels operate in the bottom of the seed trench to push the seed into moist soil. This is an effective component to enhance your seed-to-soil contact.
Press wheels, or closing wheels, are also responsible for firming seeds in the ground and closing the trench. For optimum results, the type of closing wheel used should match the soil conditions at the time of planting. The seed trench must be closed after the seed is placed at the bottom of the furrow to allow growth to begin.
Tip: For optimum results, choose the closing wheel that matches the soil conditions at the time of planting. Consider purchasing a seed firming device like the Keeton® Seed Firmer or Seed-Lok® Firming Wheels to help enhance your seed-to-soil contact.
Sidewall Compaction: Sidewall compaction occurs when wet soil is forced open during planting. Crops that are affected by sidewall compaction normally have reduced emergence and restricted root growth, which limits the plant’s access to water and nutrients. Consequently, this results in a decreased yield. Once sidewall compaction occurs, there is no good solution to reversing the damage. In this case, the best solution is prevention.
Tip: When planting in less than ideal soil conditions (i.e. moist), reduce the pressure on the gauge wheels and closing wheels. However, the best solution is to practice patience — waiting until conditions improve.
Grow your bottom line
Great Plains Drills are designed and built using sound agronomic principles to ensure a robust crop growth and yield, as well as growing your bottom line. Check out the features and benefits of each of our drills here. Most of our drills have an option for small seeds and dry fertilizer attachments to further enhance their versatility and effectiveness. Most compact models and a few select min-till drills also feature an optional native grass box, allowing one unit with all three seed box options to precisely meter the smallest and fluffiest seeds.
Together, our features optimize seed placement and emergence, creating a foundation for a successful harvest. In addition to the agronomic benefits provided by Great Plains Drills, they are also designed with efficiency in mind. Features like high-capacity seed boxes help you stay in the field longer and reduce fill times. Well-thought-out fold systems and fully boxed opener frames allow you to place seed in tough situations. Meanwhile, options like a dry fertilizer box* will allow important nutrients like phosphorus, zinc, and sulfur to be placed near the seed at the correct rates to maximize growth, save time, and reduce trips to the field.
*Not available on all models.
Products to Grow Your Success
When it’s time to get in the field, Great Plains offers a full line of drills to help grow your bottom line, no matter your farming practices. The following guide can be used to help you make the decision about which type of drill is right for your operation.
Heavy-Duty Drills- The most versatile option for producers from conventional to light min-till operations. A good fit for drilling into stale seedbeds. Heavy-duty drills feature larger opener blades (15") and provide more down pressure than other types.
Min-Till Drills- Perfect for conventional farmers with prepared seedbeds. Simple operation with all the features of our heavy-duty drills. These drills are simple to operate and have 13.5" opener blades to get the job done.
No-Till Drills- The heaviest duty drill offering unit-mount and frame-mount coulters. Producers can choose between 3 different coulter options, depending on the desired level of working the soil. A good fit for producers that require consistent row unit operation. 4-speed gearboxes make changing seeding rate easy and tool-free.
Compact Drills- A must-have for smaller growers or those with food plots. Compact drills can be used in both conventional and no-till conditions. We offer both pull-type and mounted options with sizes ranging from 5-10'. Our compact drills have many options for different boxes — small seed, native grasses, and dry fertilizer.