Corn School: What's the Deal With Down Force?

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Consistent planting depth and even emergence — it’s every corn grower’s goal, but it can be difficult to achieve.

In this Corn School episode, AGRIS Co-operative agronomist Dale Cowan takes a close look at the impact planter down force can play in helping (or hindering) growers in their quest for an evenly spaced, picket fence stand.

“With precision technology, growers now have the ability to manage the down force applied to individual row units across the planter,” notes Cowan. “If we can maintain uniform planting depth by applying just about the right amount of down force pressure to keep the gauge wheels in contact with the ground, we’re going to get that consistent seeding depth we’re looking for and that early emergence.”

Check Out More Corn School Episodes.

In this video, Cowan discusses the technical aspects of down force management and how farmers can use tools such as DeltaForce from Precision Planting to achieve their goals. He also explains the important role played by soil texture, soil moisture, tillage and speed. All these factors lead to two basic questions when planting, says Cowan: “At what point do I add more weight and at which point do I take weight off?”

Cowan joins Highgate, Ontario, farmer John Nooyen in his shop to discuss his experience with DeltaForce, which he used for the first time on his planter in 2015. “It’s a big learning curve, but we’re happy with it,” says Nooyen who talks about what he learned last year and adjustments he plans to make as he gets ready to roll for the 2016 planting season.

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