At the National Farm Machinery Show, Feb. 11-14 in Louisville, Ky., will farmers be 'just looking' or buying?
It's guaranteed there will be tons of new technology there, plus plenty of people offering tried and true products that still fit farming today. Because of the turndown in the ag economy, some wonder whether farmers will be looking to stay up with technology and keep abreast of options, or if they will be buying that technology.
Tom Stein, manager of the Templeton/Boswell Ceres Solution branches in Benton County, and an Indiana Certified Crop Adviser, knows electric drives for planters is a hot technology. Various vendors will display their latest versions at the show. If you are still using an older planter, perhaps one still with the finger pick-up metering system, should you consider upgrading to electric drives?
Stein believes he can make a case for doing so, even in today's economy. He's convinced that electric drives for planters will be the future, and he believes it can produce superior singulation. In fact, he has done the math and believes that if you have a 24-row planter and raise 1,100 acres of corn, you could possibly pay for the upgrade in just one year on improved singulation alone.
That's using his chosen price of $4.50 per bushel. At $3 per bushel it would take a season and a half's worth of acres to break even on the investment.
Meanwhile, Steve Gauck, regional agronomist for Beck's Hybrids in southern Indiana and also a CCA, both agrees and disagrees. He agrees that electric drives will be the future. But he believes that if you have planting units checked and repair as needed, and if your planter is still doing a good job, you could justify staying with your current planter until better times return, or until your cash flow situation improves.
You can read more about the cases these two professionals make in the March issue of Indiana Prairie Farmer.