Allan Brooks planter

Building a Customized $350,000 Planter from the Ground Up

Seeking to ratchet up performance, Allan Brooks and a local dealer built a new machine from the “ground up” to fit the unique needs of this no-tiller’s farm.


Pictured Above: TWO MAJOR NEEDS. In designing a 24-row planter for 30-inch rows, Allan Brooks says accurate nutrient placement was an absolute must. So was effective seed singulation, which is extremely critical with several vegetable crops

Even though a 7-year-old 24-row John Deere planter was still effectively handling planting tasks, Allan Brooks spent 3 years debating whether investing in new seeding equipment made long-term economic sense. 

Starting in 2017, the Markesan, Wis., grower of vegetables for the processing market and other crops came across several new innovations that influenced his thinking.

“It wasn’t just one thing but many, as new fertilizing and seeding innovations were coming fast,” he says. “I thought I was going to hang back for a while, but I kept gathering information on products that might work in a totally new planter package.”

Ground Up Design

As a result, he decided to build a new planter for the 2020 cropping year from the ground up while incorporating many of the latest bells and whistles. Brooks was specifically looking for innovations that would provide more accurate nutrient placement and seed spacing.

Helping Brooks manage the operation and handling most of the planting is Alex Grover. The operation includes 2,235 tillable acres, with about 150 acres double-cropped in July to green beans after harvesting early peas that were planted around April 10. 

Other crops include sweet corn, snap beans, lima beans and winter wheat in a 4-5-year rotation. He also grows barley and wheat to provide seed for an…

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Lessiter frank

Frank Lessiter

Frank Lessiter has served as editor of No-Till Farmer since the publication was launched in November of 1972. Raised on a six-generation Michigan Centennial Farm, he has spent his entire career in agricultural journalism. Lessiter is a dairy science graduate from Michigan State University.

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