John Deere says it wants to make its dealers the seeding solutions experts for their customers, and if the solution requires a larger planter that can cover a lot of acres in a short period of time, John Deere plans to provide that, too.

“Sometimes, current planters are too small for the size of the farming operation,” says Mike Pitzer, project manager with the John Deere seeding group. “Farmers have only so many days to get over their acreage, and they need a planter that will allow them to do that as quickly as possible.”

That's why John Deere's new DB Series Planters, the largest planters that John Deere has ever offered, may be the answer for many large row crop operators, says Pitzer, who discussed the new planters during a Sneak Preview at Deere's Coal Valley, Ill., training facility near Moline.

Studies show that the planting window for producing optimum crop yields often is not that large and seems to be getting smaller given the erratic weather patterns of recent years.

Midwest corn growers, for example, can produce their highest yields if they plant between April 20 and May 4. But 40 years of weather records from across the region show that, on average, only six of those days are suitable for fieldwork and, in some years, only three.

“For soybeans in the Midwest, the optimum planting window runs from April 28 to May 14,” says Darren Krantz, an agronomist with John Deere for western Illinois and Iowa. “So these planting windows overlap somewhat, and many of our customers find themselves planting corn and soybeans at the same time.”

“John Deere is partnering with Bauer Built Mfg. in an allied agreement to manufacture large frame planters,” says Pitzer. “Bauer Built Mfg. will produce planter frames, complete with markers and hydraulic systems. John Deere will build and support the row units, seed drives, vacuum systems, and monitor systems.”

Vaughn Bauer, a farmer and owner of Bauer Built in Paton, Iowa, was on hand for the Sneak Preview that Deere held for agricultural editors.

Pitzer said the new planters will offer high ground clearance, enhanced field function, superior reliability, and greater field productivity. The new models and row configurations include:

DB44 — 24 rows, 22-inch spacing

DB60 — 36 rows, 20-inch spacing

DB66 — 36 rows, 22-inch spacing

DB80 — 32 rows, 30-inch spacing

The DB (Deere Bauer) planters feature a new front-fold, three-section, flex-frame design with John Deere Max-Emerge Plus row units,” says Pitzer. “These frames provide narrow transport widths from 15 feet to 17.5 feet and have a new hydraulic system and markers.”

The new three-section frame offers greater flexibility with a 15-degree up and down wing flex, according to Pitzer. A telescoping hitch allows for a closer coupling to the tractor for greater maneuverability while planting.

Ground clearance during transport for all models range from 22 to 26 inches. Transport length varies by model but all are less than 50 feet.

“The combination of narrow transport widths, low center of gravity, and more ground clearance make the DB Series planters very stable in transport,” states Pitzer. “Mounting to the tractor is very easy because the telescoping hitch is attached to the drawbar.”

The DB Planters will use MaxEmerge“ Plus Row Units, an updated version of the product Deere first introduced more than 20 years ago. Tru-Vee Openers and adjustable gauge wheels work together to prepare consistent, clean seed trenches that allow good seed to soil contact at very accurate depths.

Other features include heavy-duty down force springs, concave gauge wheels, rubber tire closing wheels, and seed tubes that are easy to install and service.

Growers will have a choice of metering systems, Pitzer noted. The John Deere vacuum seed meter enhances productivity and allows faster ground speeds versus mechanical metering systems. A three-bushel hopper is optional for increased seed capacity.

The John Deere mechanical meters are also an option, including finger pick-up and radial bean meters. These dependable systems are easy to adjust, maintain, and service.

“Half-width disconnect for planting end rows and point rows is standard,” says Pitzer. “The drive reliability is improved by moving drive chains and sprockets up and out of the soil and residue zone. A tire-contact drive system is mounted on each wing to power the two seed transmissions. The contact between the tires, with a maximum down force of 300 pounds, is extremely reliable.”

Tires used on all four models provide excellent flotation in the field and allow for safe transport. The center frame has four 16.5 × 16.1 rib implement tires that provide a frame that will raise level when operating in the field. Each wing has two 31-13.5 × 15 tires in a staggered position that provide smoother flotation. All hydraulic cylinders automatically rephase each time the planter is fully raised.

The new frame control monitor has a streamlined look that takes up less space, reducing clutter in the tractor cab. It is simple to operate and the switches light up when activated. Base machines will be equipped with the new ComputerTrak 450 Monitor with that can track up to 36 rows.

The DB Series planters use new Bauer Built Mfg. tri-fold markers that allow closer operation to fencerows and field edges, and are designed to keep hoses and cylinders out of residue and soil. Markers are operated from the cab using the same control box for all other planter functions.

Marker control is independent of planter lift and does require a separate tractor SCV for operation. All markers are equipped with the 16-inch notched blade with the 4-inch wide depth-banding gauge. The marker float range has been increased to 62 inches (up and down) in field working and planting positions. Marking on side slopes and terraces is greatly improved.

Tractor horsepower requirements are 235 PTO-horsepower and above, and all DB planters are drawbar/hitch mounted.

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