DULUTH, Ga. — As farmers around the country evaluate young
plants at emergence, it also is the perfect time to judge whether or not their
planters performed up to expectations.
Driven by pressure from higher costs, farmers expect more
return than ever on their investment in seed. A consistently accurate planter
plays a vital role in farmers’ ability to see their return become a
Farmers only get 30 to 40 opportunities to plant in their
entire career, said Mark Hanna, extension agricultural engineer with Iowa State
Farmers can benefit from taking a step back and evaluating
how effective their planting was to make changes for next year. Plant emergence
can reveal poor planter performance in several ways, including:
* Skips and doubles in fields hurt farmers’ expected yield by causing two
plants to share vital resources or leave precious field space unused. A skip
indicates an empty space in a row where a seed either was not planted or did not
Although there can be many causes for a seed skip, the most
likely cause is a problem with the planter, meaning a seed failed to drop where
the farmer calibrated a drop.
Often, skips and doubles are caused by a planter that
interrupts and inefficiently moves seed from hopper to placement. This can be
caused by improper pickup of the seed from the hopper, interruptions in the
vacuum system responsible for holding the seed or ricocheting inside the seed
tube before the seed reaches the ground.
If the planter fails once, it likely will fail again in
another location, causing a gap in the expected amount of plant growth versus
actual. A skip in one part of the field can result in a double planting in
If you have doubles, two plants compete for the same
nutrients, said Randy Peterson, AGCO product specialist for White Planters.
If you notice a couple skips or doubles here and there,
multiply that over your whole field, and you’re talking about real money. You’ll
have wasted seed and reduced yield.
* Plant emergence over a wide range of days hurts the entire farming cycle.
When some plants grow at a faster rate than others, the tallest plants shade the
shortest plants, hurting plant development.
Even if the plants that emerged at a later date than others
do grow to fruition, they are more likely to have varying moisture content, thus
shifting the harvesting schedule and costing the farmer time and money.
Timing of emergence is dependent on accuracy of the planter
depth indicator through the entire depth range, proper formation of a seed
trench and proper closing of the trench. Any inaccuracy or inconsistency will
cause variation in the timing of plant emergence.
* Unevenly spaced plants cause imbalanced distribution of sun and water.
Just as doubles cause plants to fight for the same sunlight, water and
nutrients, unevenly spaced seed also causes irregular distribution of shared
If seed moving through a planter has heavy contact with the
equipment, interruptions in movement can cause inefficiencies in spacing.
Most planters use air systems to convey and secure the seed
before dropping it in the ground. When these air sources are interrupted,
spacing and seed singulation can suffer.
* Even before emergence, rough openings and inconsistent seed trench depth
can put planter ineffectiveness on display. Inconsistent seed trenches affect
plant spacing and depth and will ultimately result in inaccurate planting.
You need to have a good seed trench for planting to go well,
It’s the foundation for the seed to drop into, and it needs
to be perfect. It should look like a wall, so the seed has room to be positioned
correctly before the soil moves in around it.
Offset opener discs create uneven wear, causing additional
maintenance intervals and a seed trench that may require positioning the gauge
wheels trailing the point of seed delivery allowing for inconsistent depth of
The most important evaluation to make about emergence is
unified timing, Hanna said.
Equal emergence and plant spacing provides plants that grow
at the same rate, gather sunlight, nutrients and moisture equally and pollinate
at the same time for higher yields. This is an ideal time of year to get out and
read your field and your planter’s report cards.
The recently released White Planters TM 9000 Series can help
growers combat these types of emergence problems by increasing planting accuracy
The 9000 Series creates smooth, consistent seed trenches
using opener discs that have opposing double row bearings for durability and
each of the discs shares the cutting duties equally.
Then, the 9000 Series uses a positive air system to move the
seed through the planter, instead of a vacuum or mechanical delivery system.
This allows for seed to uniformly filter into the seed disc, which holds seed
steadily in place with cells as they rotate through the seed meter, ensuring
crops are planted a consistent distance apart.
The positive-pressure system in the 9000 Series moves the
seed without damaging the seed coating or drawing in dust or debris — preventing
buildup and therefore skips and doubles.
Once the seeds are ready to go into the ground, the 9000
Series edge-drop system ensures seeds drop as short a distance as possible for
accurate seed placement. Seed tube clips hold the tube securely to the shank,
preventing additional movement that could compromise results.
The White Planters patented depth calibration system
provides farmers with the confidence that the depth they have specified using
the adjustment handle and indicator is accurate through the entire depth
For more information on White Planters from AGCO , visit www.white-planters.com.