Not too many products can say their roots go back almost as far as Prairie Farmer magazine, which dates to 1841. White planters, produced by Agco today, trace back to the American Seeder Co., founded in 1848. It was one of 10 companies that merged in 1903 to form American Seeding Machine. That company merged with Hart-Parr Tractor Co., Nichols & Shepard Co. and Oliver Chilled Plow Works in 1929 to form the Oliver Farm Equipment Co.
White Motor Co. acquired Oliver Corp. in 1960 and introduced the Oliver Plant/Aire 5400 Series planter in 1974. This planter used air pressure to hold each seed in a cell against a seed disc in the seed meter. It was one of the innovations that led to singulating seed. That led seed companies to sell seed by kernels per bag instead of pounds per bag.
White introduced the 5100 Series Seed Boss planter in 1979. White Farm Equipment Co. factories were sold to TIC in 1980, and then purchased by Allied Products Corp. in 1983. Despite all the ownership changes, White engineers introduced the 6000 Series in 1992, which made inroads into the no-till market. As noted later in this article, however, it wasn’t the first time Oliver engineers acquired experience with no-till planting.
Agco purchased White-New Idea in 1993, and introduced the White 8000 planter in 2001, featuring a 24-row, central-fill model. A 36-row planter was introduced in 2011, and the White 9000 Series came online in 2013. The 9800VE planter with vacuum electric series row units debuted in 2017, featuring a vSet seed meter, vDrive electronic drive and optional DeltaForce hydraulic downforce system.
TODAY’S VERSION: This White planter designed to operate at high speeds plants corn into minimum-tillage conditions.
Foreshadow the future
Jason Hasert publishes Toy Tractor Times and BigTractorPower.com. He also collects old farm literature, including original pamphlets on Oliver planters. Recently, he filmed a 1974 Oliver 543 planter at work in no-till conditions.
According to Hasert, the impetus for the Oliver 543 no-till planter came from Harry Young, Herndon, Ky. He began no-tilling in 1962, working with Allis-Chalmers on its famous big iron no-till planter with 2-inch-wide coulters. Yes, my brother, Dave, and I owned one of those, and no-tilled with it until we sold our farm in the late 1980s.
Young also began working with an Oliver dealer near Hopkinsville, Ky., according to Hasert. Oliver engineers became interested, and the result was the Oliver 543 planter. It lacks the bells and whistles of its no-till successor in the White lineup, which appeared decades later. But it could do the same thing — just not as accurately. It could place corn seed into a seedbed without tillage.
Dee Weeda of Dee Weeda Communications contributed to this story.
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