Bigger corn planters with on-board fertilizer deliver efficiency and cover acres quickly. All that weight, however, can produce yield-robbing pinch rows and compaction.

On this episode of The Sharp Edge, we visit Jeff Cook who farms with his family at their Mapleview Farms operation, just southwest of London, Ont. Over the years, the Cooks have worked to tackle compaction by addressing axle load, adopting the latest tire technology, and lowering tire inflation pressure.

In 2016, the Cooks moved from standard tires to tracks on their 24-row John Deere planter, after planting trials revealed how the centre 12 rows of the planter, which also carry the fertilizer cart, were experiencing a 10-bushel yield hit.

In the video, Cook tells Maizex agronomist Greg Stewart how five years later, the 12-inch tracks’ ability to carry weight have all but eliminated the negative yield impact of compaction and pinch rows.

Stewart notes that growers like Cook have a long list of possibilities they can look at to improve their corn planter — from downforce, to closing wheels, and floating trash whippers. “Closing a 10-bushel yield gap by going to tracks and also allowing for dry fertilizer in a 2×2 band is pretty exciting,” says Stewart.

Click here for more episodes of The Sharp Edge.

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