Even before the showers that drove most people out of the field April 13, three farmers reported they were finding ground conditions so hard that they were making adjustments in how they planted. Part of it was no-till, with planters set up for no-till conditions.
The biggest adjustment they said they made? They slowed down to as slow as 4.5 miles per hour. One farmer says the using a 20/20 Seed Sense monitor from Precision Planting, he was able to tell he wasn't didn't consistent pressure on the ground at higher speeds. His singulation reading was okay, but just because seeds are dropped evenly one at a time doesn't mean they will wind up at the correct depth, and the same depth as the rest of the kernels that are being planted.
When he noticed inconsistent readings on ground pressure, he would slow down, and the problem would correct itself. He knew it meant not covering as many acres, but especially with rain in the forecast, he wanted the seed placed at the correct depth.
One advantage of newer monitors for planters like this one is that it can provide information far beyond just whether or not a row is dropping seed in the absence of the monitor, the only way to tell would be to stop and dig kernels and check depth. Finding kernels can be a challenge, let alone finding several in a row and preserving the depth at which they were planted while you're frantically looking for them.
Another farmer said that the more levels of sophistication you get, the more you advance your decision –making process. Just knowing singulation was a big breakthrough. Many tests have shown that as planting speed increase too far, say to 7 miles per hour with most planters, singulation falls apart.
The next level is taking information like the pressure on the units and interpreting what that means to something like planting depth. "All I want to do is get good stands," he says. "If this is what it takes to do it, then we'll do it.