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No-tiller and strip-tiller Doug Martin is a big believer in the concept of spending money to make money.
So when it came down to investing in precision-farming technology, the Mount Pulaski, Ill., corn and soybean grower says it didn’t take long to realize the benefits throughout the 5,600 acres he and his father farm.
“It was about 6 years ago and there were not a whole lot of farmers my age around doing this stuff,” Martin, 35, says. “I saw it as a way to make the farm more efficient. We do a lot of strip-till, so I thought incorporating some precision would help gain some value in keeping plants on the strip.”
Martin’s instincts were correct, because the merging of precision technology with no-till and strip-till practices saved time and money.
One of the most beneficial purchases Martin made about 3 years ago was swath control — or auto-row shutoff — for his 24-row planter as a way to reduce overlap, trim seed costs and improve yields.
The price tag to purchase John Deere’s Swath Control Pro was about $500 per row, but he says the $14,400 system has already nearly paid for itself.
“Last year on our farm, planting with swath control saved us 16 bags of corn,” Martin says. “At $300 a bag, I’d figure that’s a $4,800 savings. When I was figuring this up, I just assumed overlapping four rows into the end, so it might be more or less than that. But…