You’ve read about new technology for planters, some of it while it was still in the development phase. These new tools, which fit on many existing planters, bring new capabilities to the field. The goal is increased yield and profit. Time will tell if those goals are met.
The following three tools have made it to the first step. They are in the field and were used by many people this spring.
Here is a closer look at three pieces of technology you’ve perhaps only read about before:
• Precision Planting mSet multi-hybrid units. This isn’t the only option for planting more than one hybrid in a pass on the market. But it’s a new option from Precision Planting. Looking at Toby Middlesworth’s planter from a distance, it looks like a typical John Deere planter with traditional seed boxes, one per row. But when he stops and opens the lid on a seed box, it’s obviously not just any box. It has two compartments for two different hybrids or varieties.
“We’ve seen response to placing different hybrids on different soil types in plots, and we wanted to look at it closer,” says Middlesworth, Sweetser, Ind. He and his son Derek operate Agri-Green, providing agronomy services for other farmers.
One compartment takes up two-thirds of the box. “It’s for the hybrid you’re going to plant in most of the field,” he says. “The smaller compartment is for the hybrid you will plant on higher ground or wherever you program it to be planted.”
The mSet units work with Precision Planting electric vSet drives on the planter to place the correct hybrid at the correct population where you want it.
2 HYBRIDS: You can program the computer in the cab to signal the planter when to switch from the main hybrid you’re planting, carried in the larger compartment, to the secondary hybrid in the seed box.
• 360 Yield Center Bandit starter fertilizer units. A farmer came up with this need. Randy Dowdy, who grew over 500 bushels of corn per acre two years ago, began promoting putting starter fertilizer on both sides of the row. Companies are coming up with solutions to do it. 360 Yield Center’s Bandit unit consists of two small disks running on either side of the row in front of the closing wheels, with starter being placed in the groove of the wheels. The concept was so popular, reports are the company ran out of the units in midwinter. Middlesworth is a 360 Yield Center dealer through Agri-Green.
STARTER ON BOTH SIDES: Look at the black hoses leading down each side under the planter box. Note the small silver disks on either side. This Bandit unit can deliver starter fertilizer on both sides of the row.
• Precision Planting’s larger display screen. Tom McKinney, Tipton, Ind., installed the larger 10-inch display screen offered by Precision Planting this year. It’s easier to read and can display more information than the original units. It’s designed to handle information from SmartFirmer. McKinney did not have SmartFirmer installed on this planter. He and his wife, Karen, also operate a Precision Planting dealership, manned full time by Neil Cline.