MONTICELLO, Ind. — As the wheat harvest was wrapping up on the south end of this White County field, the new Fendt Momentum planter was planting in soybeans into stubble.
The demonstration of the AGCO Corp. planter, set for commercial release in 2021, highlighted seed placement accuracy and other technologies that are incorporated in the implement.
Representatives from Plevna Implement, with locations in Kokomo and Nappanee and the only Fendt dealer in the state, were on hand at the field demonstrations as were AGCO representatives and farmers.
Trent Shrock, Plevna Implement sales manager at the Kokomo location, said the planter “checks off about every box on our wish list of things we’ve been asking for in a planter for quite a few years now and we’re really excited about it.”
“It’s a new planter for model year 2021. It is being marketed and sold exclusively under the Fendt brand name. Part of the package under that umbrella is it’s going to have a three-year warranty which is unheard of for a planter and so we’re excited about that and it’s going to include an annual inspection,” Shrock said.
“An early order program started on May 1 and dealers have been putting out quotes and taking orders since then. We already have several sold for next year and we’re trying to do as many demos as we can while there’s still some wheat stubble to run it in and show it off.
“It has a heavy-duty cast iron row unit and it comes equipped from the factory with all of the Precision Planting goodies.”
Shrock provided details of the technologies featured on the planter.
The Momentum planter is built for efficiency and speed in the field, between fields and when changing crops. It carries large volumes of seed and fertilizer with twin seed tanks that hold 65 bushels each, while the fertilizer tank holds 1,000 gallons of liquid for more acres planted between fills.
“It has the vSet 2 meters, the vDrive electric meter, DeltaForce hydraulic downforce and you would have the option to add other Precision Planting attachments and accessories as the customer desires and more of that will becoming available as factory-installed in future model years. Having the Precision Planting technology on there is pretty exciting,” Shrock said.
When equipped with the optional SpeedTube seed tubes from Precision Planting, Momentum will operate at up to 10 miles per hour — twice the conventional planting ground speed — with more than 99% singulation and seed-spacing accuracy when planting.
Changing from 15-inch row spacing to 30-inch spacing can be done in record time, thanks to splitter rows that hydraulically rise and lock up based on planter configuration choices made on the in-cab monitor. A single touch folds and unfolds the planter automatically and simultaneously activates the tire inflation system.
“One of the big drivers with this planter is making planting more efficient with fewer stops and being able to get more done in the same amount of time,” Shrock added.
SmartFrame innovations feature a vertical contouring toolbar, configuration and smart, automated capability.
This new planter is made up of three independent sections that operate automatically, ensuring the row units on each section maintain the ideal seeding depth.
The planter’s patented sensor-controlled hydraulic system monitors the angle of the row-unit parallel arms to automatically adjust toolbar height, keeping the arms level and the row units properly engaged with the soil as ground conditions and terrain change.
The vertical contouring toolbar flexes up and down as much as 65.9 inches to follow the contour of the field and ensure the row units properly engage with the soil.
“Each wing acts as independent sections and hydraulic cylinders play a part in the flexibility as it goes over contouring terrain. It keeps the downforce accurate when the units are flexing, plus the whole idea is to able to maintain a consistent seed depth. They’ve done a lot of research and field testing and found yield benefits,” Shrock noted.
Like other Fendt products, the Momentum planter can be equipped with a central tire inflation system that automatically adjusts tire pressures from the roadway to the field, deflating the tires as the wings unfold.
To reduce yield-robbing soil compaction during planting, the system will automatically adjust tire pressure up or down compensating for the fluctuating weight of the planter as seed and fertilizer are used or replenished.
The system reduces each tire’s pressure to the lowest field setting as suggested by the tire manufacturer for the weight present at any given time, down to the pre-set low of 15 psi.
Operators can select from two automated modes. The Load Balance mode equalizes the weight across the planter, adjusting based on weight and speed information from sensors on each axle.
Without such a system, traditional central-fill planters can cause a 12-bushel per acre loss in corn yield from wheel-traffic compaction in the center versus wing rows, according to research from Pioneer.
The Controlled Traffic mode transfers the bulk of the weight to the center section of the planter, practically eliminating the weight on the soil from the wing tires.
By concentrating the planter’s weight in the tracks made by the tractor, soil compaction is limited. This mode works well for growers who maintain tram lines and use the same path for each field operation.
While high-capacity, central-fill seed and fertilizer on many planters offers a time-saving advantage, the added weight creates challenges and contributes to issues such as pinch rows and soil compaction. Instead of side-by-side duals for center transport, wide in-line tandem wheels travel in front of the row units, eliminating pinch rows.
“Most planters are going to have anywhere from two to four pinch rows and you take that across 2,000 or 3,000 acres and that adds up and pays back real quick when eliminating the pinch rows. The inline tandem eliminates pinch rows,” Shrock explained.
The wheels are positioned in the same path as the tractor tires, limiting compaction. The in-line tandem wheels also provide the flotation advantage of tracks and the high road speed of tires.
Wing wheels can be placed according to customer preference, but are typically on the end of each wing, to run outside the last row unit. This puts wing wheels in the same path on each pass through the field, reducing overall compaction without sacrificing row numbers or spacing.
In addition, the Momentum planter is equipped with VF, or “very high flexation,” tires that have a large footprint and carry 40% more weight at the same inflation as conventional radial tires.
The eight models for 2021 include 16-, 24-, 32-, 36- and 48-row configurations with row spacings of 15, 20, 22 and 30 inches, all available with liquid fertilizer.
These narrow-transport planters fold with the push of a button to a compact 12- by 12-foot package to navigate narrow roads and field entrances.
They come from the factory with core Precision Planting technologies and may be customized with the Precision Planting products best suited to a customer’s operation.
The planters are highly customizable with plenty of room and ground clearance for row- and frame-mounted tillage and fertilizer attachments.