No-Till Notes: Is It Time to Rebuild or Replace Your No-Till Planter?

Looking at the important role played by each piece of this machine will help you decide whether to re-tool your planter or buy a new one.

FOR US NO-TILLERS, planters are perhaps the most important tool on our farm. High yields are attainable when seeds are spaced evenly and planted at the right depth, without sidewall compaction and contact with residue.

All of this comes as many growers face pressure to get seeds planted in a seemingly tighter window dictated by Mother Nature, so new planter technologies are constantly being offered by manufacturers that are billed to fit those needs.

Some of you may be facing a difficult decision this winter in deciding whether to upgrade your current planter, or buy a new machine. To evaluate each of these technologies and the value they bring, let’s break out the pieces of the planter and attachments and talk about how they function.

The Opening Act

On the market today we basically have two main row-unit designs — the John Deere 7000 Tru-V opener introduced in the 1970s, and the Case IH offset disc V opener, often referred to as the Early Riser row unit.

Most of the companies use openers like the Tru-V, and some variations of these designs for twin rows, whereas Case IH still uses the Early Riser offset disc opener.

Both openers seem to work well in most conditions if they’re outfitted with the proper row-cleaning equipment.

Many would also argue pros and cons for each opener. My personal experience with both openers is that the offset opener truly goes into the ground easier and likely has less sidewall compaction, because the opener requires…

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Jim Leverich

Jim Leverich no-tills near Sparta, Wis., and serves as an onfarm research coordinator for the University of Wisconsin.

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