Seeder and Planter Manufacturers Continue to Push Envelope of “How Big is Too Big?”

As we discussed last week, biq seeders and planters have stepped up to make sure that the crop gets planted on time across the United States and Canada.  It has made me think about all the times we have asked the question of “how big is too big?” in the past.

Here are some videos and photos discussing this topic.

Last year I took this photo of a Seed Hawk air cart prototype that holds 1300 bushels in one tank fill.  If dry enough this might of been handy this spring in certain parts of the Dakota’s.  Many people commented that it looks more like a grain car for a train than an air cart.  Notice the guy hunched over in the bottom left corner to give you some perspective on how big this implement is.

Last year at Canada’s Farm Progress Show, Lyndsey Smith and I talked to Morris Industries, Chief Operating Officer, Don Henry about the size limits of seeder technology into the future.  For example Morris has an 80+ foot drill.  On a mile pass that is 10 acres seeded per pass.  Don makes some great comments on seeder sizes and how they try to plan for the future.

If you cannot see the above embedded video, Click Here

At the 2009 National Farm Machinery show, John Deere unveiled a 120 foot planter that according to retails for $345,000USD.  As mentioned in the AgWired post, a 120 foot planter is not for everyone but does fill a need for some areas of the US and Canada.

The Bourgault 7950 is one massive machine that is promoted as the largest air cart in the world (the picture of the Seed Hawk above is just a prototype).  In the video below we get a tour of the big Bourgault air cart and its large features.  I know that many growers seeding large acres of pulses enjoy the size of this Bourgault cart.

If you cannot see the embedded video above, CLICK HERE

Optimizing equipment size will always be a moving goal post kind of situation.  Obviously the answer is also regional specific and one size does not fit all.  In Ontario a 40 ft drill is large while in South Dakota that is small.

When spring is tight, farmers need to cover ground fast.  With the blizzards and abnormally cold weather this spring big equipment bailed many farmers out.  Companies will continue to build big seeders and planters as long as farmers are willing to buy it and a big enough tractor to pull it.

It is probably safe to say that the “how big is too big?” discussion will rage on for another year.


Shaun Haney

Shaun Haney is the founder of He creates content regularly and hosts RealAg Radio on Rural Radio 147 every weekday at 4PM est. @shaunhaney


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Jim Hale

I think the drill size will be limited by how creative the engineering will be on how to transport units safely. As for seed or liquid carts, I think we are at a short term max size due to weight issues. I’ve already heard of a producer with a very large seed tank having an issue trying to turn out on a down hill run and the cart overran the drill

Cory Beaujot

We (SeedMaster) make drills up to 100′ wide with metering systems with carrying capacities up to 1120 bushels. The most popular sizes are in the 70-90′ range and the 780 bu capacity. Our 90-100′ drills are great for the quintessential Saskatchewan landscapes around Regina but they can be challenging for farmers with hills and sloughs or transport restrictions. Bigger doesn’t always mean better!


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