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No-Till Speeding Ticket: $60,000

Dropping your planter speed will have a much bigger impact on yields than you think.

“If I can convince you to slow down your no-till planting speed, I can make you some easy money,” maintains Greg Sauder of Precision Planting in Tremont, Ill., and a veteran no-tiller.

A strong believer in testing planter meters and reducing planter speed, Sauder worked extensively with one farmer who liked to “race” through the planting season.

“When yields were checked, the farmer found reducing planter speed from 7 to 4 1/2 mph boosted yields by 24 bushels per acre,” says Sauder. “With 1,500 acres of corn, that would have been an extra $60,000 bonus for slowing down.”

In another test, Sauder checked the seeding results in 89-foot long strips. At 5 mph, there were eight skips. When planter speed jumped to 7 mph, there were 18 skips.

Speed also has an impact on depth control since a planter bouncing over no-till residue makes it difficult to place all seeds at the same depth.

No-Till Planter Speed Kills

“No-tillers usually start out planting at the right speed,” he says. “With a 30,000 population in 30-inch rows at 4 1/2 mph, your planter is designed to do a good job.

“But with the 6 1/2 mph speed of your neighbors, you’re dropping 22 seeds a second. If you want seeding perfection, you’re going to miss the mark at this speed.

“Plant at 5 mph or less as that’s what planters were designed to run at. It’s too easy to overdrive your planter meter capacities.”

Slow Down

Jack Stamp also says it’s…

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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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