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Serving: IN

Variable-Rate Seeding Goes Plug and Play

Variable-Rate Seeding Goes Plug and Play
Simple ways to move into changing planting populations.

Greg Sounder and his staff at Tremont, Ill., continue to see big advantages for varying seeding rate in corn as soil type changes. They can do it automatically by programming into the computer where rates are to be higher or lower. Once the computer is equipped with a prescription map that tells it what to do within the field, then the rest is up to the computer controlling seed drop on the planter. In most case, the computer can even make a map of the seeding rates actually applied in various areas of the field.

Souder is a farmer who founded Precision Planting. He's made a name for himself across the Midwest, first selling Keeton seed firmers to get better stands, then by developing planting meter stands that help diagnose problems in planter units. The stand simulates planting conditions and report seed drop, including spacing. Now his company, Precision Planting, is moving into other areas relating to promoting better planting, including offering a state-of-the-art seed monitor called Seed Sense, and a device that controls down force on row units, called Air Force.

They're not done inventing yet, however. "We just feel too many people think setting up a field to change seeding rates is too complicated, when it's really not, says John Larkin, Precision Planting. He made the comments while demonstrating some of Precision Planting's newest software at the Louisville Farm Machinery Show.

"We've come up with tow options that make it really simple to set yourself up to change seeding rate," he says. "It's almost so simple it does it for you."

Those aren't the only new wrinkles Precision Planting are introducing for this spring. Farmers in Indiana and elsewhere will have an opportunity to buy kits that allow changes to be made to the pressure on row cleaners on the go. Precision Planting took a Martin Row Cleaner and adapted a small air-driven cylinder on each row. The cylinders help the row cleaners go form no pressure at all to applying more pressure than usual.

Larkin believes these units will prove especially useful this season since many farmers didn't get fall tillage done. They may find themselves planting into more residue than usual. And they may find that the residue isn't as broken down as usual, since no tillage was done last fall. There may be a real advantage for being able to adjust row cleaners on the go.

All three new products form Precision Planting should be available this spring, Larkin says.

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