Not only is seeding the most important variable in every farmer’s cropping operation, but rising seed prices have taught farmers they need to lead with the best-possible seeding technologies. It’s clear from the seeding and planting manufacturers that size, seed meters, bulk fill and precision controls all contribute to seeding productivity and yield performance.

GREAT PLAINS’ Tom Evans says that twin-row planting continues a swift growth path, albeit from a small penetration number of 2% currently. “The seed people are actively promoting the process, and farmers are easily seeing 10-12 bu. improvement. Everyone looking at a planter nowadays is looking at twin-row.”

Beyond the twin-row concept, Evans says the big drivers in seeding and planting is not so much the iron but all the options available to the grower, namely variable rate-fertilizer, alternative forms of nitrogen application, swath command, auto downpressure.

PRECISION PLANTING finished field-testing its WaveVision seed sensor and is going into full production for 2011. According to Dustin Blunier, the system’s frequency waves are better than optical seed sensors because they can “see through dust” to distinguish between good seed delivery and seeds falling together. This additional control helps greatly with seed population and overspending on seed.

Another introduction is the CleanSweep controller for row cleaners that allows the operator to increase/decrease the force on their row cleaners from the tractor cab. Utilizing pneumatic cylinders to make fast changes to pressure as conditions vary, Blunier says the system “takes floating row cleaners to the next level.”

MASCHIO-GASPARDO returned to the Farm Progress Show after a 3-year hiatus to introduce its Metro precision planter, a 24-row unit that was tested earlier this year with exceptional results for crop yield and quality, says the company. The machine is based on its medium till MTR seeding element and features a vacuum system that allows for maximum planting precision. Andre Barutta, general manager, says, “We are aggressively pursuing the market for precision planters. These machines have been time tested in Europe, where we have a significant market share. We believe that our planters could become a viable alternative for farmers looking for precision and high yields at an affordable price.”

>> Click here to read the rest of FE's 2010 Farm Progress report