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Retrofitting The Planter

Precise and consistent seed depth is crucial for a good crop stand, and that starts with the planter. When many farmers trade planters, the goal is to get an updated row unit while also updating to the latest technology. If there’s no need to reinvent the wheel, farmers can save money and get new technology by retrofitting the planter.

Bryce Baker is an integrated marketing manager with Precision Planting. He says trading planters makes sense if you’re making changes such as replacing a 16-row unit with a 24-row unit. But if you’re keeping the same configuration, components that are worn can be easily replaced and the technology upgraded for a lot less than trading in for a new machine.

"Things like seed metering, drive system, seed delivery like high-speed seed delivery or seed tube, downforce sensing and downforce control, row cleaner control, fertilizer control and application products. And then of course the in-cab monitoring display," says Baker.

 Baker did some number crunching to compare what you get when buying a new planter with the same configuration versus retrofitting.

"I found that the cost of a new planter with similar technology to what could be retrofit you could retrofit for 27% of the cost of a new planter. So, with that, when you trade, what you’re actually doing is spending quite a bit of money, well over half of your trade expense to re-buy what’s already owned," he says. "I’m re-buying the 16-row toolbar, I’m re-buying the row units, I’m re-buying tires, I’m re-buying hydraulic hoses."