Buying a New Planter? 10 Things to Consider

The good news for farmers who need to buy a new planter is that there are more options on the market than ever before. Unfortunately for some, that can be the bad news, too! How should a farmer make sure he or she is buying a planter that best fits the farm’s needs?

Precision Planting is offering a solution with its recently released buyer’s guide. The guide suggests considering 10 points. These are just highlights; check out the full report for complete information:

  1. Planter size: The planter should be sized to fit your planting window. If you have a 10-day window to plant corn, for instance, make reasonably sure the planter is the correct size to cover the planting area in 10 days.
  2. Row spacing: We believe that plants closer than four inches have diminished yields because of crowding. At 36,000 plants in 30-inch rows with a standard spacing deviation of three inches, which is very typical in modern planters, about one third of the plants would be spaced less than four inches apart.
  3. Seed delivery—bulk fill vs. row unit boxes: It is easy to get caught up in all of the big decisions of row spacing, bulk fill and fertilizer systems and overlook the primary function of the planter—get each and every seed in the right place. If the meter doesn’t function correctly, your crop doesn’t get planted correctly.
  4. Meter technology: Meter technology is available to provide 98.5% singulation or better. Inquire about this ability.
  5. Drive system: There are two types of meter drive systems—hydraulic and ground. Ask about these options.
  6. Swath control—row clutches: One of the most popular new options for planters is swath control or row shutoff systems. By reducing overlap, it is possible to reduce seed costs and improve yield through decreased completion in the headlands.
  7. Starter fertilizer system: Even if you are not currently applying starter or N with the planter, your planter evaluation should include consideration of future needs.
  8. Row unit down force: Row unit down force can be a yield making or yield breaking setting on your corn planter. Down force is needed to get the planter’s double disc openers down to your desired planter depth.
  9. Row cleaners: Almost all cropping systems will benefit from having row cleaners on the planter.
  10. Closing system: The last thing your planter does is certainly not the least. A good closing system will collapse the sidewalls and cover the seed, leaving little to no evidence of the trench being created, while not moving the seed.

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