What is in this article?:
- Know planter capabilities, limitations for no-till systems
- Know the challenges
- With no-till, the most important thing is getting seed in the ground.
- Farmers should consider a list of factors before deciding on a new planting rig.
- Read the owners’ manual.
JEFF BROWER, Canadian County, Oklahoma farmer, discusses planter selection tips at the recent No-Till Oklahoma Conference in Norman.
Know the challenges
Knowing the conditions the planter will work in is also critical. “Understand the seeding challenges. Cattle tracks, corn stubble and other field conditions will affect the planter,” he said. “Know the field and the equipment to utilize it fully.”
Brower said he has two seeding units, a 40-foot John Deere air seeder and a Great Plains 8-row, twin-row planter.
The twin-row planter plants two rows, 4 inches to each side of the 30-inch centers. “I can use it as a no-till or a conventional 30-inch planter,” he said. “I don’t have to make significant changes switching from no-till to conventional, just adjust down pressure.”
The unit has a 25 series opener, floating row cleaners, coulters, a seed firmer, spider closing wheels and a drag chain.
He uses the air seeder for small grains and alfalfa seeding. Row spacing is 7.5 inches.
“I like the opener design and the two-product application option,” Brower said. “I can apply seed and fertilizer. Other things Brower likes about this unit include: depth control technology, metering accuracy, live hydraulic down pressure, productivity, large clean out and all run blockage sensors.
He also has a few issues with the planter, including: maintenance intensity, residue management, physical size and length, weight, horsepower requirements and difficulty loading for hopper bottom trailers. He retro-fitted a side chute to accommodate those trailers.
He said the unit was adaptable on soils ranging from sand to heavy clay. “The John Deere opener will cut through it all.”
The key, Brower said, for success with no-till or conventional tillage planters is to understand the challenges and capabilities.
“Know the capability of your equipment and then use it to its fullest benefit,” he said. “If you don’t, you’re cheating yourself.”