What kind of add-ons paid the most dividends on your planter this spring? Was it row shut-offs, on every row or at least every other row? Was it downforce help, either by air or by hydraulics? Was it electric drive if you converted your vacuum units?
Some of you could make a case for one or more of those. A few of you even tried out multi-hybrid planting and/or new seed delivery tubes designed to allow you to drive faster. Each of these new technologies has a cost, but each also can deliver a benefit. The trick may be measuring exactly how much the benefit is worth in terms of dollars and cents.
Russ Kelsay, Whiteland, wanted one additional feature when he and his family traded for a 16-row planter this past winter. He farms with his dad, Merrill, and brother, Joe, in Johnson County.
Russ, who drives the planter each spring, wanted scales so that he could know how much seed was in the central fill hoppers on his planter. He felt that was as important as many other pieces of information some of the other new technology can deliver. He wanted to know how much he had planted in terms of pounds of seed, and how much seed was left in the seed hoppers.
He says it has taken time to get some bugs out of the new planter, but it did a good job overall this spring. What made this spring different for him was that there wasn't a break once planting got started in his area. Unlike some areas where rains interfered, once planting started it continued until he was well along with soybean planting. Then they received some rain, although not enough to cause long delays before he was able to finish planting both corps.
He intends to tweak the planter a bit more before next season.