A smaller planter means less capital investment, a cheaper tractor and a lot of acres per day when running at 10 m.p.h., says a Saskatchewan farmer.
Blake Brownridge of Arcola said he became a believer in the European concept of small, high-speed implements last year when he seeded 300 acres with the 16-row Väderstad Tempo prototype supplied by Seed Hawk.
“We did 150 acres of corn and 150 acres of sunflower,” said Brownridge, who seeded in one mile long passes so he could compare the yield per acre to acres planted with his John Deere 1770, which has upgrades from Precision Planting.
“We started at 3.5 m.p.h. and gradually increased the ground speed to 10.5 m.p.h.
“We had really impressive results, even at 10.5. We had no trouble with skips or doubles. It was very consistent and very user friendly. Just get in the field and go. The corn was mid-90s for both the Seed Hawk and the John Deere. The flowers were 1,750 to 1,800 for both planters.”
He said the parallel linkage system was the same as on his Seed Hawk drills, just modified slightly to carry the row units. The prototype carried seed boxes rather than a central fill system.
“I think we’re going to adapt the European model to our farm,” he said.
“Right now we have a 50 foot Seed Hawk and a 60 foot Seed Hawk. I’m thinking we’ll downsize to just one 50 foot drill and then buy a high speed planter for corn and canola. Instead of 5.5 pounds of canola seed at 4.5 m.p.h., I think we can cut back to maybe 3.5 lb. at 8 or 10 m.p.h.
“I don’t think we’ll ever see an 80 foot drill on this farm.
“The cost of owning something like that just doesn’t make sense in light of these high speed planters coming out on the market in the next few years.”
Brownridge said the tractor investment is also a big factor in determining the size of seeding equipment a grower buys.