When 70 Indiana Prairie Farmer Master Farmers were asked if they would buy a planter that could change from one hybrid to another on-the-go in the same pass across the field, 42% said yes. The other 58% said no.
Is the glass half-empty or half-full? Considering the technology has only been seriously talked about for two years, and more than four in 10 farmers are ready to consider buying a technology that isn't available on the market, that sounds like the glass is half full.
It took more than 30 years for the vast majority of farmers to convert from horses to tractors, despite the obvious advantages. What they would pay extra for the capability is a different story. About half wanted the capability on a 24-row planter for $25,000 extra or less.
Nevertheless, Kinze will build and pilot four planters that can change hybrids on the go this spring. Now Precision Planting, Tremont, Ill., says they have developed a concept unit that can utilize electric meter control, and switch from one hybrid to the other and drop the seed down the same seed tube. The meter can also vary seeding rates. The company intends to do concept testing this winter, then test units in the field this spring. No date for commercial launch has been announced.
It's not the only new product that Precision Planting is working on to improve the efficiency of the planting process. The company is also developing the Speed Tube, which would replace normal seed tubes on the planter. The primary advantage would be giving the operator the opportunity to plant at faster speeds and still maintain uniform spacing.
The tube uses an internal flighting system to maintain control of the seed once it leaves the meter until it is in the ground. This product is also in concept testing this spring. No release date when this product might be commercially available for use on your planter was announced.