Kansas City-based Monosem thinks its NG Plus custom planters can offer canola growers a seeding advantage
The main advantages to using a planter to plant canola would be improved depth control and consistency (even seed spacing),” says Brian Sieker, territory sales manager for Monosem, a planter manufacturer. “With consistent depth you get even emergence. And your plants aren’t competing with each other.”
By being able to provide consistent seed depth, singulation and accurate plant spacings, planter manufacturers are hoping to convince Western Canadian canola growers to make the switch from air seeders to planters. But air seeders are the current industry standard, so planters will have to prove their advantages to gain a significant market share.
Monosem, based in Kansas City, is one of those planter manufacturers willing to move into the west and go head-to-head with competing air seeder technology. The company’s pull-type line of NG Plus planters can be configured exactly to suit the needs of an individual canola producer, including those practicing min-till and zero-till.
Each Monosem row opener rides on an independent-linkage system, and a beefed-up version with a shorter and heavier linkage is available specifically for no-till fields.
The NG Plus models are vacuum-style planters, which means pressure differential inside the metering body helps draw single canola seeds into a rotating stainless steel disc that singulates and drops them down the seed tube at specified intervals. The result is very consistent spacing along the seed row. Each crop type requires the use of specific singulation discs. The planter’s vacuum pump is available with hydraulic or PTO drive.
“The vacuum — versus a mechanical system — just allows for that much more accuracy,” says Sieker. And a range of singulation discs is also available for each crop type. “It’s based on population, A higher population disc has more holes. So we match the population desired and the size of the seed to determine which disc to use.”
“With our planter, a big part of it (the features) is the stainless steel plates and the aluminum metre,” Sieker goes on. “That allows us to singulate the canola seed down to one a lot more accurately and then drop it straight down the seed tube and maintain that even spacing when it hits the ground.”
The company offers both single and twin-row openers. The twin-row design places seed in paired rows, staggering the location of seed in each. That helps increase seedbed utilization and minimize nutrient and moisture competition between plants. Monosem claims this can improve yields.
Pull-type planters are available in widths up to 60 feet with various row spacings. They can be ordered with the traditional seed box on each opener or a central seed tank that feeds all the openers. “The bulk seed system is a 50-bushel hopper,” says Sieker. “We can do up to two (tanks) on a pull-type tool bar.” That provides a maximum on-board seed capacity of up to 100 bushels.
The Monosem planters can also apply fertilizer on the same seeding pass. “We have liquid systems already developed,” says Sieker. “We’ve done dry fertilizer in-row and we’re working on mid-row banding, currently,” he adds. But owners will need to source their own cart to carry fertilizer blends.
The question remains, however, will prairie canola growers see potential in planters? According to Kellen Huber, owner of Tri Star Farm Services at Regina, a Monosem dealer, the answer is a definite yes. “It’s like holding onto a flag in the wind,” he says of the strong demand he’s seen for planters.
So far, the 40-foot model is the most popular working width leaving his dealership. Huber believes it offers the best value for investment and meets the needs of most producers. He’s also convinced Monosem offers the planter design best suited to the needs of canola growers.
“The big thing with Monosem is they’ve been in the vegetable market for the last 30 years,” he explains. “So they designed that entire machine around small seeds. Everyone else designed theirs around corn and soybeans; large seeds. It’s very hard for a large-seed meter to work with fine seeds.”
Huber also notes the plugging problem some planters have with fine seed hasn’t been a problem on the Monosem planters. “We’ve never really had a problem with it,” he explains. “But Monosem heard about it and just eliminated that factor by putting in a secondary air system.”
Huber has been working with Monosem to offer new features on planters that should further increase their appeal to prairie farmers, and he expects to be able to introduce some of them later this year. “Come to Farm Progress (in Regina in June),” he says. “You’ll like what you see.” †