January is a month for new starts, so it fits neatly with this issue’s focus on planters. Improved seed singulation and precision planting capabilities have driven planter sales in the past two years, not to mention the migration of corn into Western Canada. Even so, the debate is still raging. Which are better — planters or drills? There’s a crowd of advocates on both sides, but with so many new technologies reaching the market, it’s essential to start your search with an open mind. Here are four new planters, chosen from the dozen planter manufacturers on the basis of recent launches and upgrades. Get ready to do your homework.
White Planters 9000 Series
With one look at the new White Planters 9000 Series, it’s clear that something has changed. In all, there are 15 improvements to the company’s previous line, from a reconfigured seed tube to the use of positive air pressure instead of a vacuum system. And it’s attracting attention. Again, singulation within the planter is a focal point for manufacturers and AGCO delivers, with a lower release point into the seed tube that reduces ricochets and misplaced seed. Other changes include a reversed air flow system, where positive air is drawn from above the planter and forward of the row unit. Seed meters, frames, depth gauge wheel adjusting link and other refinements are all geared to increasing planter efficiency and performance.
Case IH 5 Series
Case IH says it has designed improved metering, seed monitoring and bulk-fill capacity into its updated Early Riser 5 Series planters. The new AccuState seed sensing system provides growers with the capacity to monitor and map detailed seed spacing data, including seed singulation, skips and multiples. The goal is to improve seed handling and deliver more uptime and reliability at planting, along with promoting more even and uniform emergence. The redesigned bulk fill delivery system also eases the filling process and decreases the number of stops, all leading to increased efficiency.
Seed Hawk Tempo
Unveiled at the Farm Progress Show in Regina last June, Seed Hawk’s Tempo planter is designed to add speed and precision to corn planting. Despite its top speed of 10.5 m.p.h. — nearly double the conventional speed for planting corn — Seed Hawk literature states it has proven performance with a low rate of skips and doubles, plus accurate seed placement in all conditions. Available in six- or eight-row configurations, the Tempo can provide up to 715 pounds of down pressure with a torsion spring control. There’s also a central fertilizer hopper, with additional 17-litre micro granulate boxes on the back of each 70-litre seed hopper.
Kinze 4900 Series
Introduced early in 2013, Kinze’s new 4900 Series planter is ready to jump into the 2014 planting season with precision metering and a narrow-transport, front-fold design on its frame. The most impressive feature on this new planter may be its seed meter, with accuracy that’s measured at 99 per cent at speeds of two to eight m.p.h. The meter itself is available with three modes: contact drive, hydraulic and — new on the 4900 series — an electric drive. Plus, high-torque 24-volt motors provide control of the seed rate, row-by-row. The frame offers greater flexibility over rolling ground, thanks to 42-degree (21 up and 21 down) wing flex. Stops can also be kept to a minimum, with a seed capacity of 12 bushels and a 500-gallon capacity for liquid fertilizer.