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Overcoming challenges with technology

Eric Huber of Precision Planting talks to area growers at a meeting hosted by Atkins Seed Service / CIFN photo.

CHENOA – Growers will remember the uncertainty of the 2017 growing season for quite some time, as many farmers replanted a large amount of corn.

“That brought some challenges to us,” explained Eric Huber of Precision Planting during a planter refresher meeting hosted by Atkins Seed Service near Chenoa.

Gaps in plant stands out in the field can cost farmers dearly. Errors on planters typically lead to problems with seed singulation, compaction, spacing, emergence and population, according to Huber. Precision Planting’s goal is to make sure every seed in the ground reaches its full potential.

Huber believes it is more important to raise more $3.20 corn than we have in the past and the same is true if the price goes to $7.00.

“The price is irrelevant – the goal is still the same.”

Since ear count does not always drive yield, growers must get the fundamentals right first. Stand establishment issues in 2017 resulted from seed chilling, which means the seed was in an atmosphere of 50 degrees or less in the first couple of days after planting. Many of those seeds also had a cold first drink, which leads to problems.

“When it’s cold outside, nobody is pushing the gas to get this seed out of the ground,” Huber said.

Precision Planting offers technology to help growers, such as a monitor in the cab which shows the operator exactly what the planter is doing. A new seed firmer known as SmartFirmer can tell a grower what type of moisture they are planting into. It can also create a zone map of a field as the planter moves. Even if you don’t utilize this brand new technology, regular seed firmers can be an efficient way to improve planter performance.

“That’s the cheapest money you can put in your pocket,” said Dean Atkins of Atkins Seed Service.

Growers should follow a planter checklist each spring which includes making sure parallel arms are level and properly adjusting gauge wheels. Seed to soil contact is a very important factor to consider with the end goal of getting the seed down to a good depth to absorb the right amount of moisture.

“The trench should not collapse before the closing system does its job,” Huber added.

Atkins Seed Service is an area dealer for Precision Planting, Pioneer seed and 360 Yield Center. The business also does seed treatment.

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