Here's an eye-catcher from the Amazing Maize traveling exhibit that was displayed at the Indiana State Fair this year.
Sponsored by the Indiana Corn Marketing Council with help from Dow AgroSciences and Ford Motor Corporation, the exhibit brought the history of corn production to life for farmers and fair-goers alike.
The exhibit is based on an original exhibit housed at the Indiana State Museum. In this particular window, you find tools used by pioneers to harvest corn throughout the years. Note the big wooden implement in the middle, if you want to call it that. That was a hand-held corn planter, used to place seeds in the ground.
Imagine starting on a 300-acre field with only that wooden device and yourself – no tractor, no modern planter. Today, the question is often: "How many things can I get on the planter to do a better job?"
• Can I get multi-hybrid planting to plant more than one hybrid in a pass as the field varies?
• Can I get new seed tubes that deliver seed accurately at up to 10 miles per hour?
• Can I get a Precision Planting 20-20 Seed Sense monitor or similar monitor so I can tell how accurately every seed is placed?
• Can I get a downpressrue system, either driven by air or hydraulics, so I know I have the right amount of downpressure on each row unit, or at least on a bank of row units?
• Can I get electric drives on each row unit so I don't have to worry about drive chains and other repairs?
The answer is yes, you can get all of these things, although maybe not all on one planter. The real question is: How much do they cost?
The planter you see here was possibly hand-made, or at least produced at little cost. It was better than planting by hand, dropping seeds in with a hoe, but not much better! It was definitely a small step toward the planting equipment of today.