ExactEmerge Update #1: Planting Speed

posted on Thursday, June 21, 2018 in Precision

Planting season is wrapping up, if not already finished, and a lot of the corn is starting to get into its rapid growth stage. Our Precision group has spent a lot of time this Spring with our test ExactEmerge Planter and I wanted to give an update on what we have seen so far. Data is still being collected, and our end goal is to measure actual yield differences when compared to other planters. So far, the noticeable and measurable differences we have found are the ability to actually increase planting speed (usually significantly), improved (reduced) Coefficient of Variation (CoV) and Standard Deviation (SD), and increased accuracy in seed depth. To not write out a complete book, I’ll break these three topics into three sections over the next few weeks starting with planting speed this week.

I have been skeptical of being able to plant accurately at 10 mph ever sense the ExactEmerge planter was introduced. I am very particular, as one can imagine, about how we plant on our farm, so much so that we plant our corn at 4.5 mph to ensure accuracy.speed

Seed tubes are engineered to deflect the seed backwards at 4.5 mph, so the intent is for that to counteract forward momentum at 4.5 mph which will drop the seed straight down into the trench. The ExactEmerge brush belt design deflects the seed backwards at whatever forward speed it is traveling, eliminating that obstacle. However, my bigger concerns are consistent depth and adequate ride quality to ensure elimination of any skips.

No-Till Hills…I didn’t think there would be any way to go over 6 mph on our No-Till hills, but I was definitely wrong. Between the Individual Row Hydraulic Down-Pressure (IRHD) and improved design of the vacuum meter, I was easily able to run 10 mph. There was only 1 field of my own that I struggled to keep the row units in the ground at 2” consistently and so I slowed down to 6-7 mph. There’s a chance I could have been able to increase the down pressure to alleviate that problem, but I didn’t consider that option until after the fact.

So who doesn’t want to plant corn at 10 mph? Maybe the better question is who will admit they don’t plant corn at 4.5 or 5 mph? We have found that a lot of producers already plant at 6-7 mph. They are using a machine outside of what it’s designed to do which is degrading the quality of work it’s preforming. Hopefully this fall we can start to get a better understanding of how that effects actual end yield.

Another thing to consider is planter size. A 24 row 1775NT ME5e is about $50-$60k more than a 16 row 1775NT EE. If the ME3e is ran at 5 mph, then an average of 7.5 mph would equate to the same acres/hr, but to be fair, we run our current planters at their maximum speed (or higher), so we might be able to assume ExactEmerge would end up running 10 mph. At 10 mph the ExactEmerge would cover 1/3 more acres than the ME5e. So, in reality a 12-row planter could be used, further reducing the producer’s planter investment.

When it comes down to it, will speed actually be the determining factor for a customer to go to an ExactEmerge planter? My assumption is no. I wasn’t a believer in the speed until I ran one, so I wouldn’t expect any different from most other people. Next week I’ll explain what we are seeing in the lines of accuracy.