Planting Precision Fine-Tunes No-Till Yields

Here’s how this no-tiller avoided costly uneven stands and serious yield losses.

David Wipf learned a lot about precision corn planting last year, thanks to the Computrol II Monitor that he won at the 2000 National No-Tillage Conference. Wipf, crops manager at the Fairview Colony near LaMoure, N.D., directs production on 2,500 acres of no-till corn and soybeans.

It’s not that Wipf needs too many lessons. In 1999, he placed second in the North Dakota No-Till Division of the National Corn Growers Yield Contest, with a bin-busting harvest of 171.3 bushels per acre. Remember, this is North Dakota where average corn yields have to stretch to reach 100 bushels per acre.

Placement, Standability Count.

Wipf believes strongly that seed placement and standability are critical for getting those champion yields, so he was eager to test the Computrol II provided by Big John Manufacturing in Osmond, Neb., and the national distributor Fulk AgriServices of Platte City, Mo. The monitor was installed on a 7200 John Deere 8-row vacuum planter.

The Computrol unit checks seed drop accuracy on each no-till planter unit throughout the field and sends a signal to a back-lit LCD screen in the cab. It eliminates the need for digging in the seed trench behind each row unit to verify seed spacing. The unit also has the option of downloading a printout for establishing a cropping database.

Switched Seed.

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“It indicated to us that we needed to adjust the vacuum differently than was indicated on the bag of just about every corn variety we planted,” Wipf says. “In fact, we quit…

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Ross_ron

Ron Ross

Ron Ross pioneered the “What I’ve Learned from No-Tilling” series that has appeared in every issue of No-Till Farmer since August of 2002. He authored more than 100 of these articles.

A graduate of South Dakota State University’s agricultural journalism program, Ross spent most of his career as a writer and editor.

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