Beck’s helped create interest in a planter that can change hybrids or varieties on the go. Other companies have piqued interest in trying alternate row widths, choosing different plant populations, varying seeding rate on the go and even varying fertilizer application rates on the go. Manufacturers have followed the lead and developed equipment that will allow you to do one or more of these things. But no one has designed a planter that can do them all — until now!
Beck’s rolled out its multi-hybrid, multi-row-spacing planter at the company’s field days and at the Farm Progress Show. The planter has yet to see dirt, but everyone who has worked on it is confident it will work. The unique thing is that you can’t buy it — not now or in the immediate future.
Education is the goal
“We didn’t set out to build a planter to compete with what’s already on the market,” says Jason Gahimer of Beck’s. “Instead, we wanted a planter that would allow us to compare various concepts that farmers and people like ourselves are looking at, and make those comparisons at the same time.
“All these concepts have shown promise in certain situations but not every time,” he says. “Results have been inconsistent.
“Our idea was to build a planter we could use to compare these different concepts together in one system. Maybe you plant in 20-inch rows with one hybrid on one soil, and in 30-inch rows with a different hybrid as you cross another soil. We didn’t have technology that would let us mix and match and compare all the ideas at once until now,” Gahimer says.
The planter Beck’s developed can do all these things: change hybrid, change row width, change population — all on the go. Beck’s FarmServer team will write prescriptions to test out what the planter can do in the field.
Gahimer is quick to note that Beck’s could not have assembled the planter without the help of other companies and individuals. The 15-foot toolbar came from Harvest International. Precision Planting, especially the Schlipf Precision Planting dealership, was essential in equipping the planter with the latest features. This planter includes Precision Planting’s vSet Select multi-hybrid meters, the DeltaForce down-pressure control system to apply the desired amount of down pressure per row, FurrowJets, and the vApply HD liquid fertilizer placement system. Yetter supplied row cleaners and closing wheels, and SureFire Ag provided the liquid pump.
The planter will be able to plant in 10-, 20- or 30-inch rows. “The goal is to maximize yield and profitability on every acre by utilizing the correct row spacing, hybrid or variety, and population on the go,” Gahimer says.
“We think we can use this successfully on wheat, soybeans and corn,” he adds. “We’re anxious to see what we find out when we begin using it on corn and soybeans in 2018.”