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Dawn Debuts Total Planter Automation System

Dawn Equipment Company came to the 2017 National Farm Machinery Show with a whole new automated planting system made up of three components – active down pressure (ADP), active depth control (ADC), and an active closing system (ACS) – that together are called the Reflex control system. 

Reflex down pressure is already on the market and available for purchase for about $1,000 per row, but when that technology combines with ADC and ACS, it’s a whole new product that Dawn believes could be a changing force in the way farmers plant going forward. 

“You know how in the most recent Star Wars movies they’re basically letting the fans write the movies?” says Dawn CEO Joe Bassett. “Well, this is fan fiction of a planter system.”

Instead of hydraulic down pressure, the Reflex planter automation system is hydraulically controlling depth. The idea is that growers won’t have to physically touch their row units at all to customize their planting depth. For growers who are dealing with different soil types in a single field, this system could be especially helpful as depth could be changed as farmers drive across the field, Basett says.

Bassett wants to have the depth control component, ADC, available to growers this summer, but only after so many hours of testing has been completed. He expects he’ll need to sell it for $300 per row.

The closing system, ACS, has only existed in its current form for a few weeks. 

“We’re controlling how deep the seed is in the ground, not how hard it’s being pushed down,” says Bassett.

The goal is to use the same amount of power that current planter row units are using for down pressure alone to control the entire automated system. Bassett is convinced the units might even use less power.

“It will be expensive at first,” says Bassett. “But we’re testing the new system now.”

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