One of the primary agronomic drivers of achieving photocopy plants is uniformly correct seed depth across the planter and throughout the field. Planters must be able to precisely place the seed in widely varying residue and soil types over hundreds of acres each day.
The Case IH Early Riser® 5 series planters are equipped with agronomic features designed to eliminate barriers that keep seeds from dropping to the same depth in the seed trench:
View this video to see some of these features up-close.
The best way to ensure uniform depth is to check the opening disk, furrow-firming points and closing disc dimensions prior to planting season to assure that they are at optimum operating performance. Zero-indexing your Early Riser row unit each year before hitting the field should be done only after any repairs have been made.
If you have a conventional row unit (pushed gauge wheel and pinch wheel closing system), you will find approximately 25 to 35 percent of your rows will not be planting at the same depth when set at the same depth setting. You can’t zero-index a conventional row unit, but you can index it so that you will know the required depth setting to make that specific row plant to a similar depth as the row beside it.
You also need to re-index the rows after each row unit repair. If using a conventional row unit, you may want to use some additional devices to deal with the bulk soil at the bottom of the trench with the caveat that you are “closing the barn door after the horse has already left the barn.” Added trench devices have a tendency to fishtail through the trench and are inconsistent in pushing seeds down or side to side when dealing with the bulk soil in the bottom of the trench. The Early Riser’s furrow-forming point eliminates that bulk soil before the seed arrives, allowing for more uniform death.
Finally, row unit down pressure is important for proper depth. As you experience tougher soils or pick up speed, additional down pressure is needed. On a conventional row unit, down pressure on the pinch wheel closing system is important and sensitive. Too much will move the seed, changing its depth, and not enough won’t give good seed-to-soil contact.
Closing disc pressure is adjustable, if necessary, but is not sensitive to changing conditions. Lighter or fluffy soils should have less down pressure and increase down pressure in heavier or stickier soils.
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To learn more about agronomic considerations at planting and photocopy plants, click here to request a new Agronomic Design Insights report on seed placement accuracy.