Dakota Farmer

North Dakota farmers using Precision MaXX planters instead of air seeders to plant canola cut seeding rates 40-50% and saved $35-$50 per acre.

January 29, 2016

2 Min Read

Some farmers planted half as much canola seed last year and got even higher yields.

They planted the crop in 15-inch rows with Plains Grain and Agronomy’s new Precision MaXX planter rather than with an air seeder.

Canola responds to accurate signulation, says Travis Messer, PGA’s precision farming manager and a Richardton, N.D., farmer.

The canola plants are more uniform, stalks are bigger and they tend to branch out more than growing upward when they are spaced out more evenly.

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But you can’t get precise singulation with an air seeder. An air seeder blows the seeds out across the width of the shovel and you end up with random placement. Depth control, seed row compaction are more accurate with a planter, too, he says.

“The difference [between an air seeder and the Precision MaXX planter] starts up front with floating row cleaners with Precision Planting System’s CleanSweep,” Messer says. “This allows the operator to precisely remove just the right amount of crop residue. This was a big aid in 2015 when we dealt with major frost issues in our canola fields early.”

Planting depth and downforce are controlled on each row individually with Precison Planting’s hydraulic DeltaForce system.

Singulation is done with Precision Planting’s vSet 2 meters, powered by electric drives on every row. Each row can be clutched off to further minimize seed overlap.

Precision Planting Systems has specific meter kits many different crops, including canola. Other kits are available for corn, soybeans, field peas and several other species.

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“All of these systems working together on the planter are what gives us the ability to reduce our seeding rates by half [compared to an air seeder],” Messer says.

On their family’s farm last year, the Precision MaXX planter produced stands that were more even than those planted an air seeder, Messer says. The plants had stronger stalks and field matured more uniformly. The fields were easier to straight combine, there was less shatter loss and yields were higher.

Farmers who used the precision MaXX planter saved $30-$35 per acre by cutting the seeding rate.

“We would have been happy just with the seed savings, which was substantial,” Messer says. “The additional yield was a bonus.”

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