The April cover of Indiana Prairie Farmer featured a concept Kinze multi-hybrid planter at work in Texas in February. It was the first test of the concept planter. That planter and other prototypes will be working in the Midwest, including Indiana, this spring.
Kinze has not made a commitment to make the planter yet, but is working with several seed companies, including Beck's Hybrids, who has helped debug the planter, to begin finding hybrids that would pair up well if Kinze makes a commercial planter that can change hybrids automatically in the same pass across the field as soil types or production potential changes.
Precision Planting, Tremont, Ill., is also working on a prototype planter unit that could be used for multi-hybrid planting. The action and following discussions have raised enough interest amongst farmers that it may affect whether they trade planters this year, or hold off to see if a multi-hybrid planter will be available in the near future.
Indiana Prairie Farmer asked Brian Denning, an AIM agronomist for Stewart Seeds, to include that question in a bank of questions he asked farmers at a series of winter meetings. The farmers' responses were recorded electronically and graphed almost instantaneously.
When the question was asked 80% said they would delay buying a new planter either for one year or for two to four years to see if the multi-hybrid planter became a reality and was introduced on the commercial market. They believe that it could be a game-changer in planting technology. Only 20% of those polled in the survey said they wouldn't wait for that technology if they were ready to trade planters.
Other improvements are also causing some people to wait to trade planters. Electric planting units are beginning to appear, and at least one farmer says he will wait until electric units are available on his color of choice before he trades planters.