Corn School: Six questions to ask before upgrading your planter

Planting season is just around the corner, but many farmers are still contemplating their planter needs for 2018.

Kearney Planters service manager Shaun Dilliott says he gets consistent calls from corn growers who are making planter upgrade decisions or contemplating buying new or used planters. “One of the things we get a lot of is people asking whether they made the right decision after the fact,” says Dilliott. “They’ve already purchased or made upgrades and want to determine if they’ve made the right decision.”

Dilliott says farmers who do advance research and properly assess their needs can ensure they make the best decision and avoid second guessing. In this this episode of RealAgriculture Corn School, Dilliott looks at six key areas he asks growers to consider when upgrading their planter.

The first and most important consideration is planter size, says Dilliott “Most operations want to have all their corn and beans planted in less than 14 days. Options on planters can decrease planting time and increase productivity, but size still does matter.”

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Row spacings can be just about any width a grower chooses, but it’s important to remember that 30-inch corn and 15-inch soys are the most common and offer the most products and competitive prices. Custom widths are also available, but Dilliott notes that custom width planters often become orphans and are “unsaleable” when the grower moves to new equipment.

Related: Time to prep your corn planter

Downforce is probably the most popular question farmers ask when they attend Kearney Planter clinics. Should a grower opt for variable or constant downforce? What are the options available for an upgrade or on a new planter? Dilliott addressed these questions in the video. He also looks at metering systems and offers tips on what to consider when tackling the mechanical versus vacuum question. Row width, row shutoffs, and closing systems are also at the top of Dilliott’s planter upgrade consideration list.

Click here for more Corn School episodes.


Bernard Tobin

Bernard Tobin is Real Agriculture's Ontario Field Editor. AgBern was raised on a dairy farm near St. John's, Newfoundland. For the past two decades, he has specialized in agricultural communications. A Ryerson University journalism grad, he kicked off his career with a seven-year stint as Managing Editor and Field Editor for Farm and Country magazine. He has received six Canadian Farm Writers' Federation awards for journalism excellence. He's also worked for two of Canada's leading agricultural communications firms, providing public relations, branding and strategic marketing. Bern also works for Guelph-based Synthesis Agri-Food Network and talks the Real Dirt on Farming.


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