Ten years ago, most planter experts and agronomists would have said seed singulation is the most important component of getting good corn stands and top yields related to the planter. Today, Darren Goebel, director of global agronomy and farm solutions for Agco, says downforce and the ability to maintain a consistent pressure may be even more important to overall yield than seed singulation. What about 10 years from now?
Could industry experts be saying that closing wheel pressure is important too? Is it as important as downforce on row units? As seed singulation? It’s too early to say, but it’s fair to say that with all the attention various aspects of planting have received over the past few years, closing wheel pressure has usually been overlooked.
No one has invested in developing a downforce system for controlling pressure on closing wheels. Many planters, with perhaps an exception or two, still have the basic setting mechanism they’ve had for years.
Goebel believes downforce setting on closing wheels could prove to be important. It’s the last part of the planter that could impact the seed. It’s possible that too little or too much down pressure on closing wheels could contribute either to not closing the seed trench properly in moist soils or to squeezing it tightly and risking sidewall compaction in the same soils.
Agco includes a replicated trial comparing closing wheel settings in its on-farm trials. This is the third year the company has conducted plots at farms across the Corn Belt to test various planting concepts. Yield data will be available on plots after harvest. Look for information on the closing wheel down pressure study then.