Seeds need just the right combination of seed-to-soil contact and soil density to optimize nutrient transfer and moisture access.
How do you ensure good seed-to-soil contact in your fields?
Hoeg says that planters can create uniform soil pressure that provides good seed-to-soil contact and leaves a soil density and particle size that can optimize the conductivity of moisture and nutrients to the seed. A planter needs to be able to accomplish this in all tillage practices, including no-till.
“Compaction is one of the key issues to deal with to get good seed-to-soil contact, soil density and root zone development,” says Hoeg. Tillage practices can affect overall soil compaction; however, planters also must manage compaction, which affects soil density in, around and below the seed trench. Its ability to do so is critical for early emergence and robust plant stands.
The Early Riser® planter starts that management with a narrow leading edge opening disk and pulled equalizing, reduced inner radius gauge wheels. This feature combination creates a very soft seed trench wall, which allows the soil to return to a more consistent density when the seed is covered. The leading edge disk’s narrower cut displaces nearly ¾ inch less soil at a 2-inch planting depth. The reduced inner radius gauge wheels carry the planter’s weight and row unit almost 2 inches away from the side of the seed trench, eliminating much of the seed trench wall’s compaction and compaction under the seed trench, which is created by conventional row units with flat gauge wheels. This means that plants placed by Early Riser planters can have deeper, more robust roots.
The Case IH Early Riser 5 series planters use a furrow-firming point to condition soil density under the seed. A two-stage closing system helps create good seed-to-soil contact on the sides and over the top of the seed:
- The inverted closing disk places moist soil from the seed trench back on top of the seed and gently zips the seed trench closed from the bottom up, eliminating air pockets, preventing dry soil from stealing moisture from the seed and providing consistent density so moisture and nutrients can move through the soil to the seed.
- Zero-pressure ribbed press wheels seal the trench, preserving moisture and providing a stress crack relief in crusting soils to aid in young plant emergence.
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