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New planter gadgets revealed

Automatic depth control is one of the new features announced by Precision Planting during the company's winter conference in Tremont this week / CIFN photo.

TREMONT – A better closing system and automatic planter depth control were new features announced by Precision Planting during the company’s winter conference on Tuesday.

SmartDepth is an electric motor which replaces the t-shaped handle on the back of the row unit. This eliminates the need to get out of the tractor cab to adjust seed depth. The new technology allows uniform rows and moisture-based agronomy.

“From the cab, we can now adjust our depth with a single button push,” explained Justin McMenamy with Precision Planting.

FurrowForce is an entire system – not just a wheel which closes the seed trench. This entails dual wheels moving the soil inward which stitching the soil to preserve moisture. FurrowForce has a sub-second response ability to react to field conditions.

“It senses and controls on the fly,” said Precision Planting’s Jason Stoller. “Transport width is identical to your Deere planter chains.”

A load pin closing sensor is designed to fully close a trench and succeed at closing any air gaps. The company’s 20/20 cab monitor display screen will include a “closing margin” map.

“Our objective is to plant into moisture,” Stoller added.

A popular product known as SmartFirmer was announced at last year’s conference. This goes beyond the equipment to examine soil moisture, temperature and other information from the furrow. This has taken some of the guesswork out of planting.

“We are starting to get more information on the environment we are putting the seed into,” said Bryce Baker, another presenter at the conference.

Precision Planting’s Dale Koch discussed managing the furrow and the time it takes for a seed to germinate as late emergence leads to a yield hit in the fall. Koch noted that moisture, temperature and residue are important factors when planting a crop.

“We want uniform emergence in all of our crops,” Koch said.

Koch suggests planting deeper to make sure the seed is in moisture rather than planting too shallow. Tillage timing is also important during the planting season. A planter should be rolling as soon as possible following the tillage pass.

The day concluded with plot results from the 200-acre PTI farm at Pontiac. The farm allows for plenty of research throughout the year and even gives growers the chance to test drive the latest farm equipment. Jason Webster shared some farmer experiences at the new facility.

The Precision Planting winter conference continues through Friday at Tremont along with several other simulcast locations.

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