Planting the seed - New air-seeders improve small grain and canola production
Apr. 19, 2018
While farms continue to get larger, the optimal seeding window continues to get smaller. The level of precision continues to tighten too.
To deal with all of that, John Deere developed a 76-foot working width for their Model 1870, which is 35 percent larger than the 56-foot 1870. This extra width will allow producers to seed an extra 100 acres in a regular work day. In addition, the 90 Series/ProSeries openers will allow seeding speeds of up to 7 mph for more acres seeded in a day.
Farmers, dealers and ag media recently traveled to the Valley City John Deere air seeder manufacturing plant to view the latest precision planting equipment advancements for small grains and canola.
As an added feature, besides talking about the “Green Iron” manufactured at this location, a section of the program was devoted to the agronomic side of raising wheat and canola and the many factors involved in getting a crop properly planted, which is the foundation of raising a successful crop.
The agronomic portion of Deere’s new product introduction stressed how important the seeding window has become.
“All crops have a maximum genetic potential,” said Jeremy Peter, an agronomist with John Deere who has done a lot of work in North Dakota. “We then subtract the uncontrollable factors such as weather and soil types, which gives us the attainable yield (for a crop). The difference between the attainable yield and the average actual yield for canola is 41 bushels. That difference is made up of management factors – things that we can influence by how we carry out our operations.”
The purpose of the agronomic section of the program was to give those attending some tips and ideas to take home that will influence an individual’s operation, Wright said. He referred to four key successful factors associated with the planting operation:
1. The seeding window – The Deere senior agronomist presented a chart that indicated in the last three years (2015-17) North Dakota averaged 9.5 days suitable for field work during April, 19.4 days in May and 19.1 days in June. He noted that research has shown that the benefit of early planting wheat and canola is very small, but the penalty for planting late is about a 1 percent drop in yields per day for wheat and 1.7 percent per day for canola and a reduction in quality.
2. The correct rate – The amount of seed planted per acre can be decreased if the percent of plant survivability can be increased. Things such as seed germination, disease problems and insect feeding are factors the planter and row openers do not affect. However, the right opener can play a large role in lessening these factors: poor seed-to-soil-contact; sidewall compaction of the seed furrow; soil crusting; residue interference; seed placement too deep or too shallow, and winter kill in the case of fall seeded canola and wheat.
Reducing the seed costs per acre will increase the profitability of the crop being seeded.
3. Nutrient uptake – Banding N (nitrogen) has been shown to reduce losses and increase yields. This agronomic section of the day touched on the two types of banding Deere offers on their air-seeders. One method is to use side-row banding, while the other offers a separate fertilizer opener that applies the product between two rows of seed. Both offer effective approaches.
4. Uniform emergence – Research has shown that non-uniform emergence in canola can result in developmental variability; and a residue free seed row can boost the yield potential of the crop by as much as 12 percent. In spring wheat, uneven seeding depths can reduce yields. The Deere 90 Series/ProSeries openers and the 1870 openers do an accurate job of seeding depth placement that increases the potential of both crops in terms of uniform seed emergence and plant survivability, according to Yancy Wright, senior agronomist at John Deere.
Combining this agronomic research along with air-seeder technology and the actual air-seeder equipment is an indication that John Deere is committed to their small grain and canola growing customers, said Cyndee Smiley, media relations manager for John Deere.
“That is what spurred on the air-seeder team and the additional research, to make sure we got it right for our customers,” she said. “I can speak to the different ways Deere is looking at the small grains market from an agronomic standpoint, from an economic standpoint, and most importantly from what our customer base is asking for.
“We work with a number of allied partners within our industry and really partner strongly to insure that other partners that focus on small grains and canola are working together with Deere to come forward with the right solutions.”
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