Walk in Clint Arnholt's shop near Columbus and you will find a new John Deere planter. But if you want one like his, it could be hard to find. Arnholt bought a base planter, then added the capabilities and features he wanted to match conditions on his farm.
Arnholt and his family no-till all of their crops, and have for years. So they need a planter that can handle residue and still place the seed at a consistent depth every time. That doesn't mean they need a no-till coulter. Arnholt took them off his last planter, and he didn't get them for this new planter when he ordered it. Instead, he uses row cleaners to move residue out of the way.
He does have seed firmers attached on each row to help firm seed into the trench. It may seem like a no-brainer to add them, but Arnholt says it's not quite that simple. He has encountered situation in the past where either due to wear or conditions, he though seed firmers were actually interfering with even placement of the seed.
However, when set properly and checked for wear regularly, he believes they are a plus for keeping seed at the bottom of the trench where it belongs.
If you look at each row unit from behind, you won't find chains attached to the back of the unit to help smooth over the soil. Many people use them in no-till situations.
Arnholt used them too at one time. "I found that sometimes they would drag up soil and smooth it out to the point to where if we got a big rain, the soils might crust," he says. "Some soils are more prone to do that than others, and I have enough that are subject to crusting that I took them off."