TOOLING UP. Upgrading planters with row shutoffs, fertilizer systems, down-pressure controls, closing wheels and other tools is more popular than ever for no-tillers, at times offering substantial savings over buying an entirely new machine.
Although farm equipment manufacturers have engineers specifically charged to design and build no-till planters that efficiently place seed in the ground at the optimum depth, in a variety of field conditions, it’s difficult to find a no-tiller running a truly “bone stock” OEM planter.
The infinite variability of individual farms and growing conditions has fueled a booming industry in aftermarket attachments designed to help no-tillers and strip-tillers boost the efficiency of an assembly-line planter.
Knowing planters are perhaps the most important machine on a no-tiller’s farm, No-Till Farmer editors recently surveyed readers about the upgrades they’ve made to their planters and why — and what they might have in mind for this growing season.
I’m on my second year with a 24-row, 30-foot John Deere 1770NT CCS planter, and for this year we installed a dual fertilizer system and Martin spiked closing wheels for better seed soil contact in damp conditions.
The planter has Martin UMO-100 fertilizer openers for 2-by-3-inch placement of 32% UAN, along with Totally Tubular fertilizer tubes for in-furrow placement of liquid popup fertilizer. The UAN is carried in a 1,200-gallon tank pulled behind the planter, and is delivered by a Demco ground-driven, twin-piston pump.
The popup solution rides in a 400-gallon frame-mounted tank plumbed to a hydraulic centrifugal…