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Planting Accuracy at 10 mph
Kiss 5-mph planting good-bye! While you’re at it, wave adios to your seed tubes and disks. With John Deere’s latest planter innovation, ExactEmerge, you no longer need them. The planter allows you to push planting speed to 10 mph – accurately – and not just when you see rain on the horizon.
“Planting is the most important operation to a farmer when growing crops,” says Kelby Krueger, John Deere. “To maximize yield potential on each field, the quality of planting needs to be very high. With today’s technology, to achieve the accuracy needed with seed placement and even emergence, it has to be done at 5 mph.
“Another big challenge is the optimal planting window. Every region has a different time frame to get the crop in, and it is very, very tight,” adds Krueger.
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There are multiple factors that limit speed, but one of the most restrictive is the seed tube. “A current seed tube is maximized for around 5 to 5½ mph,” explains Krueger. “If you go faster, the seed will start bouncing in the seed tube. Then each seed will come out inconsistently, and your depth and spacing quality are sacrificed.”
John Deere’s solution is a brush belt trench delivery system (right), which replaces the traditional seed tube. The brush belt rotates in a circle, picking the seed up at the top of the meter and releasing it at the bottom. When the brush belt goes up to the top, the bristles spread out, and the seed gets inserted into the bristles. When it goes down, the bristles straighten out and close, the seed travels down past the seed sensor, and the seed is delivered about 2 inches above the bottom of the trench.
“The key is that you are always in control of the seed,” explains Krueger. “That seed is being delivered all the way to the trench.”
John Deere has done extensive testing to verify planting accuracy up to 10 mph, although the electric motors in the system are capable of running at 13 mph.
One of the differences with the brush belt system is that it has more wear surfaces, but John Deere has factored that in. “With the seed tube, you don’t have wear,” says Krueger. “This system has more wear surfaces, but there was a lot of time and effort put into keeping the wear to a minimum and making the parts replaceable. To align with other wear items on the row unit, the goal life is for an average farmer to make it three to five years without having to replace the liner and brush belt.”
The system works in conjunction with new electric-driven meters. Each row unit has a controller on board for processing the inputs. The all-electric drive planter is powered by the PowerGen system with 56 volts.
To maximize the potential of the brush belt system, John Deere developed a new seed disk. “Our solution is a bowl-shape meter. It’s not a disk anymore,” says Krueger. “The main reason this meter was developed was to hand off the seed to the brush belt delivery system and to be able to deliver singulation and population at higher speeds.”
High-Speed Planting Facts
You will need additional horsepower as you increase speed. Going from 5
to 7 ½ mph, you will need 40% more power. From 5 to 10 mph, you’ll need
80% more horsepower on your tractor.
Planting at 8¼ mph correlates to 1 acre an hour for every foot you are wide. If you are planting with a 60-foot planter, you’re planting 60 acres an hour. Planting at 10 mph can get you close to 80 acres an hour.
Real-Time Seed Monitoring
John Deere’s SeedStar monitoring system has been updated to more accurately monitor seeds. With today’s planting technology, once the seed sensor sees the seed in the meter there is a lot of degradation in the spacing after that. “When customers are planting they really don’t know what they have in the ground,” says Krueger. “There is a fairly big difference in what they’re seeing on the monitor and what they see in the ground. The nice thing about coupling the monitoring system with the brush belt delivery is there is very little degradation on what the system sees.” In other words, what you see happening on the monitor is the same as what’s happening in the ground, because the seed is tracked almost all the way to the bottom of the trench.
“Every time I visited a customer, everyone was going 10 mph,” adds Krueger about the farmers testing the new planter. “What caused them to gain the confidence so quickly? They said it was due to how close the monitoring system represents what goes into the ground.”
The ExactEmerge planter works with corn and soybeans. It will be available on 1775NT or 1795 CCS models, which are sold with 15-, 20-, or 30-inch row spacing. You can place orders this spring for the 2015 planting season. Pricing information will be available at a later date.