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Make sure your tractor can handle planter's hydraulic, electrical demands

Make sure your tractor can handle planter's hydraulic, electrical demands
Find out now instead of waiting until you go the field to plant on 'opening day.'

You can adjust down-pressure on planting units on the go. If you invest in the most advanced system, you can even make sure downforce is adjusted independently row by row. You can also buy electric drives for your planter units. And if you have row cleaners, you can install models so that you can raise or lower them either hydraulically or electronically.

Related: Don't give up on ag technology because you lose GPS signal on occasion

Changes need power: Clint Arnholt made many changes to customize this planter to do what he wanted. When he got to the field, he had to switch tractors to have enough hydraulic and or electrical capacity to handle everything he had added to the planter.

This is only the beginning of the list of things you can do with your planter today. It's a far cry from the days of the John Deere 494 A planter I grew up on. I thought it was a big deal that our planter had seed openers instead of seed runners to drop the seed that came on the earliest models.

The only drawback is that something has to power all these new hydraulic and electrical options. If you add aftermarket product x and aftermarket product y, and then add z too, will your tractor be able to handle the electrical and/or hydraulic demands of the new technologies?

One year ago, Clint Arnholt, Columbus, pulled a brand new John Deere planter into his shop, spent days taking it apart and putting it back together with various modifications that he wanted on his planter. Some involved hydraulics – some involved small electric motors. Even small electric motors add up on electrical demand.

Related: Planter Modified To Fit Farm's Needs Works Well

His dad, Dan, says that while almost everything he changed out worked well when he got in the field with the planter last spring, the biggest hiccup was that he had to change tractors. The tractor he intended to use, even though it was larger with more horsepower, was also older. It didn't have the hydraulic and/or electrical capacity to meet the new demands. So he switched out to his somewhat smaller tractor with more capacity for these systems.

Think about what you're adding as you prepare to plant. Can your tractor handle it?

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