Stroll Around the Planter of the Future
Major changes ahead
How will tomorrow's planter differ from the current iron? Industry experts point out some major changes on the way.
A trench-delivery system will replace the traditional seed tube. It will control the seed from the meter almost to the bottom of the trench. One way to do this is to have a belt or brush that rotates, releasing seed a few inches above the trench. The ability to control the seed from the meter to the seed trench will allow the planter to run twice as fast as you are currently running.
One row at a time
“Individual row variable-rate technology is near term, because as planters get larger, there’s quite a variation as you plant contours as well as a portion of the planter that overlaps the grid,” says Gary Hamilton of AGCO. “I also see a module created so that if there are any defects in any one of the rows, you can just unplug it, plug in a new one, and go.”
“The drive to increase yields is going to result in rising populations,” says Precision Planting’s Sauder. “Most likely something less than 30 inches is going to be very common in the future.” Myron Stine of Stine Seeds agrees that narrow rows are the way of the future. “Growers in highly productive areas will need to go to 15-inch or narrower rows to maintain favorable equidistant spacing," he says.
More on board
“What we will see in the future, I believe, is not just the ability to put two tanks on a planter and vary the rate of pop-up fertilizer and nitrogen,” says AGCO’s Hamilton. “We’ll see phosphorus, potassium, and nitrogen tanks, and we’ll see micronutrients in the future.” To accommodate the additional fertilizers, planters will need to carry two to three larger tanks and two to three smaller ones for micronutrients.
Because technology has limitations, experts agree that row markers are a necessary backup. “What if there is a GPS problem and you want to continue planting because the planting window is so tight?” asks John Deere’s Krueger. “If you don’t have row markers, you would have to stop.”
Downforce technology has come a long way. “The theme that continues is about precise control of the seed environment that the seed goes into,” says Precision Planting’s Sauder. “We’ll see this continue in the future.”
Distribute the weight
“As soon as you add on more fertilizer capabilities, the planter needs more weight-carrying capacity,” says AGCO’s Hamilton. “I think you’re going to see a higher percentage of planters on tracks to reduce the compaction created by the extra weight you’ll want to carry during planting season.”
Learn more about the planter of the future.
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