Tuesday, June 28, 2011


I got today's topic from my email box from a farmer asking an importtant question about his planting units.

"Hi Ed,

Is there any websites or articles that talks about your per acre loss on poor seeding due to the planter? I'm not happy with the spacing on my corn planter (CIH 900) or my GP 1500 (controlled spill). I was looking at some different planters and was wondering if I could figure out how much these planters are costing me with their poor spacing. The 900's issue is mostly skips, I've tried about everything everyone has suggested on NAT but, still can't get a nice stand. I was thinking of a Kinze 3000 with interplants and selling both my planters. New ones are pricey and used ones seem to hold there value. Can you think of a way out of this situation?"

This question is so difficult to answer I thought I would "let it set" overnight and tackle it this morning. That first question takes research and I know there have been some studies on corn spacing but fewer on corn emergence. Soybeans, I am not aware of any.

My first reaction is those two pieces of equipment will plant about as evenly as anything I have seen so it must be a question of the cost of the total rebuild versus trading up to something better. New is out of the question for most of us.

The only way I see out of this question is a total rebuild of both units versus the cost of buying a new or good used planter. For me, if I have another operator I would stay with two units is better because planting date is more important than spacing. If not, the Kinze trade makes more sense but it will be hard to sell two used units and they won't give you much for either trade in and most won't trade two for one.

Plant spacing is worth about 5% from average results to improved results for me. Plants emerging at the same time is at least 5% more yield and sometimes 10% in my experience. Planting date is ahead of both those problems for me.

From the limited information given that is how I see these questions. This is where having a mentor nearby really helps. All of mine are some distance away like I am to this farmer and its hard to paint the picture with words. It's obvious to me he wants to trade but afraid of not getting his money back in crops versus the expense.

I think I would build a budget, allocate so many funds to this problem and try to figure out rebuilding the old units versus the trading deal. That's about the best I can come up with this morning.

My trusted old planter works in Indiana now so I had this decision not that long ago. I had to make my decision on different factors including labor, distance and acres to be covered.

What do you think?



  1. Wow, got a great response already to my post!

    "I have the same issue's, and at my age and the few acres I farm anymore, I probably won't do anything.

    But, his decision to use the IH 900 was where he went wrong. Personally, I don't know how anyone could like one of them. They do come two ways, people who love them, and people who hate them.

    If he is running enough acres, then the decision is easier. Go for it. Either the Kinze or a later model JD, (even a White ) would be the way to go. He already has the numbers in different ylds to base the decision on. Leave someone who loves the IH 900 use it. Evcen if he has to give it away, he would be better.

    Two pieces of equipment on a farm HAS to be good. The planter and the harvester. Rusty disc's and other rusty or worn tools can get by, but the planter and the harvester MUST be in good condition and perform PERFECTLY ! ! !

  2. That reminds me of my 400 Cyclo planter. I never could get it right so I never fell in love with it. The row units are great but the seeding mechanism I never learned to control, always too thick if I got even spacing or it was more like a shotgun blast sowing seed trying to regulate it down.

    When I got the 5100 planter in the picture, it all changed for the better. The Martin setup made it a really good notill planter and my record corn yield is still my best with that planter.

  3. I planted sweet corn for a couple neighbors with our old 5100. The first field was worked wet and planted wet. not wet enough to plug up the openers but cold and damp with clods. There are long skips and rows that look like they didn't plant. I found some rotten seed but mostly I didn't find any seed. It is worse at one end of the field and gets worse as I went further into the field.
    Strangely enough, the next field that was good moisture and nicely worked looks really good. There were a few skips as I don't really know what I'm doing with sweet corn and also I think my old SMIII monitor needs to be tossed.
    Strange patterns. Don't know if it was planting depth, spots where the MoCap plugged up, the air set wrong. But, the population monitors read the same. The row units planted out pretty evenly. The fellow is not complaining as the contidions were terrible but I feel bad. I do not like custom planting corn!

  4. This year a lot of things went wrong Budde and yours is one of millions. I had some too and don't know anyone who didn't if they are honest. But having a really good notill planter setup really works in any ground tilled or not and I know you would like my setup.