Three years ago, AGCO decided to prove to its customers — and potential customers — that outfitting one of its White Planters with precision planting technology would offer them a payback in higher yields. The company organized a series of field trials across the Midwest and measured the impact of improving seed placement, and depth on yields.
The trials involved corn crops in the traditional corn growing regions of the U.S., but arguably, the benefits from precision planting might be of even more importance to those growers trying corn on the prairie, where the crop is still a fairly high-risk one. The results may demonstrate how crops in general are likely to respond to better seeding operations.
AGCO claims the results of three years of testing proved that features such as the brand’s DeltaForce automatic down pressure feature, which compensates for changing field conditions, could improve the accuracy of seed placement. That in turn yielded an average improvement of 16 bushels per acre compared to fields seeded with planters that didn’t have precision planting options.
The brand says from 2016 through 2018, 20 demonstration plots were planted using White Planters VE Series planters equipped with vSet seed metering, vDrive electronic drive, DeltaForce automated down force, plus 20|20 monitoring and data management from Precision Planting. AGCO compared the timing of plant emergence, season-long plant progress and yield due to intentional differences in seeding depth, seed spacing and down-force pressure across the 10-acre plots. Location variability due to soil types, seedbed quality, compaction and tillage practices were also considered.
“Traditional spring-type down force on planters doesn’t adjust on the go like the DeltaForce, which is continually measuring ground contact for the proper gauge wheel pressure,” says Darren Goebel, agronomist and director of global agronomy and farm solutions for AGCO. “Growers can adjust their air bag systems from the tractor cab, but it’s difficult to adjust accurately as conditions vary across a field. These don’t offer the convenience of real-time automatic down-force control, which is possible with the hydraulics in DeltaForce.”