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STARTING CLEAN. Aftermarket Yetter SharkTooth row cleaners added to this 24-row Case IH 1245 no-till planter slice through corn stalk residue on a field in Sparta, Wis. The row cleaner’s job is to move excess residue out of the path of the row unit without disturbing the soil. Image: Jeff Lazewski

Down Force, In-Furrow Systems Top No-Till Planter Wish Lists

Asked what they would upgrade on their planters if given $50,000, no-tillers list down force, in-furrow systems, section control & residue managers as top updates

If gifted $50,000 during winter maintenance time, planter down force systems seem to be high on the wish list for no-tillers who responded to a recent, non-scientific poll by No-Till Farmer. A survey of the No-Till Farmer email discussion group also showed an interest in additional down force on closing wheels, along with in-furrow application systems, row shutoffs and residue management

The informal email conversation in December asked no-tillers what they’d do to their planters if they had $50,000 to spend on the project. The answers we received show growers are convinced they need some weighty improvements to improve planter performance — and down force systems provide that heft. Field trials bear out their assumptions and indicate they’d be making a wise investment with their “if only” financing scenario.

Down Force Results

Precise seed placement and proper depth control give the corn crop the best chance to achieve its highest yield. Once seed placement is assured with precision meters, down force helps provide consistent seed depth control to enhance uniform stand emergence. The technology has quickly advanced from the use of heavy mechanical springs that exert set pressure on row units to pneumatic systems that respond in real-time to changing field conditions to the latest digitally controlled hydraulic systems.

At Precision Planting’s Precision Technology Institute, commercial agronomist Jason Webster recently demonstrated the benefits of advanced down force systems in his now-famous “all wrong study.”

In the study, Webster mechanically adjusted a Precision Planting vDrive system to plant at only…

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Dan Crummett

Dan Crummett has more than 35 years in regional and national agricultural journalism including editing state farm magazines, web-based machinery reporting and has an interest in no-till and conservation tillage. He holds B.S. and M.S. degrees from Oklahoma State Univ.

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