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Planting is One of Biggest Investments You Will Make

Planting is One of Biggest Investments You Will Make

Your costs rack up quickly as seed goes in the ground.

You know how much it costs for a bag of seed. This year for the best hybrids it can be $250 to $300 per bag. At $300 per bag and assuming 80,000 kernels in the bag, that's $3.75 per every 1,000 seeds you plant. If you plant 32,000 seeds per acre, once the planter has planted an acre, you have invested $120 in seed alone.

Speed kills: The 20/20 Seed Sense monitor form Precision Planting shows you that singulation, or seed drop, becomes more erratic as driving speed increases with most planters.

For some people trying to make a point, that's not taking the cost down to how much you're actually putting in the ground. The folks at Precision Planting, Tremont, Ill., have actually done the math and report that if you operate a 16-row planter and are dropping around 32,000 seeds per acre, and if you paid $300 for a bag of the seed, it costs you 90 cents per second in seed alone for every second that you plant. If you paid $250 for the bag of seed, it still costs somewhere in the 70-cent per second range to plant seed.

They did the calculation to make the point that you need to have your planter adjusted correctly and in good shape, spokespersons say. You also need to drive it at the proper speed. One company is coming out with a planter that the company says can plant accurately up to 8 miles per hour. Until then, most of you will want to keep the throttle pulled back a bit from that level.

A study by Stewart Seeds last year verified that as planter speed approaches 7 miles per hour with most planters today, accuracy falls way off. It falls off enough that it could affect yield, at least by a small amount. At speeds of 4 to 5.5 miles per hour, inaccuracy may increase, but at a slower rate. Not everyone may be able to plant at 4 miles per hour.

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