What's Hot When It's Cold

Inside Dakota Ag

What's hot when it's cold? A visit to a couple farm shops shows that it's new bulk fill planters with variable rate and auto row shutoff technology.

Published on: March 28, 2011

I visited three farmers last week to see how they are getting ready for the planting season.

Both John Horter, of Andover, S.D., and Paul Koch, of Sherman, S.D., had upgraded their standard box-fill planters this year to 24-row center-fill planters with auto row shutoff and variable rate seeding capabilities.

Both were excited about the time they expected to save filling a bulk tank rather than individual boxes.

Both also expected to save significantly on seed on headlands and point rows since the planter would automatically shutoff rows when the openers reached planted areas.

Both cited the need for the shut-off technology because they were having to plant around more and more potholes and wetlands in the middle of the fields.

Both hoped to see significant yield increases in headland, too, because they wouldn’t be double planted. Double planted areas around wetlands lodged badly for Koch last year.

Both were planning to vary seeding rates and put more seed in the most productive areas.

“This will a big improvement," Koch said. "I'm anxious to get started."