Maximizing Spring Efficiency with High-Speed Planting

Tips To Cover Acres Faster This Spring

The ideal planting window is very small. A brief combination of perfect soil moisture, temperature and weather outlook. The seasoned farmer knows maximizing planting efficiency during this time is important for success at harvest.

For many, investing in high-speed planting technology provides a viable solution. It comes down to basic math. A 24-row planter operating at 10 mph will absolutely outperform the same planter working at 5 mph. While there’s no controlling the weather, equipment options, such as the Massey Ferguson VE Series planter, allow farmers to cover more acres quickly without sacrificing quality. This implement blends cutting-edge technology from Precision Planting with Massey Ferguson’s durable, maintenance-friendly design elements to deliver maximum efficiency.

It becomes, then, a question of accuracy. How to ensure the most accurate seed placement even at increased speeds. Technology such as DeltaForce® and SpeedTube® are designed to provide proper depth, downforce and singulation at higher rates of speed, but they still require human insight for best results.

Proper Field Prep

Our field studies have shown that depth, downforce and singulation are all important for uniform emergence and maximum yields. While most of this is automated, especially with high-speed planting rigs, farmers can take some of the pressure off machines with proper field preparations.

Ensure fields are dry enough before working. Wet soil is more than just a muddy mess, it leads to sidewall compaction and poor emergence.

For tillage operations, make sure tillage passes are in the same direction as planting passes. This limits row unit bounce.

In general, level fields as much as possible for smooth planter operation. Today’s high tech can manage inconsistencies, but why work harder than you have to?

Steady Speed

Not every field can be planted at top speed. Terrain, soil type and more will determine how fast farmers can operate in a certain area. You should never exceed manufacturer recommended speeds, but there might also be cases where you can’t operate at top speed, either.

The main concern here is loss of ground contact. While the planter might be capable of 10 mph, operating at that speed in hillier terrain might increase row unit bouncing. DeltaForce and other hydraulic downforce technologies can negate this, but, again, it comes down to working smarter, not harder.

Base speed not on what equipment is rated for, but what field conditions can accommodate. Double check yourself with monitor data and visual inspections of every field.

Adjust for Today’s Field

We’ve talked about the importance of planter setup before, but it’s worth noting that at high speed, a small misalignment can cause a big problem.

At high speeds, opener discs tend to throw more dirt, leaving messier rows. Make sure your planting depth is calibrated correctly for the field at hand and don’t disrupt more dirt than necessary.

You should also monitor closing wheel pressure. Depending on soil conditions, this might need to be increased for proper seed-to-soil contact.

High Speed on a Budget

High speed planting is an important part of modern agriculture. We are no closer to controlling the weather, but there are equipment solutions available to make the most of brief planting windows. And while high-tech rigs might not fit the production needs of every farm, Massey Ferguson provides customizable planters that fit your unique needs in terms of technology and dependability. Contact your local Massey Ferguson dealer today to find out more.

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