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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.
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…