Last week, Beck’s Hybrids of Atlantic, Ind. wheeled out its one-of-a-kind, do-all planter. And it was a “teched-out” plot-planting gee-whizzer that’s headed for the fields to plant wheat this fall, then corn and soybeans next spring.
Want it to plant 10-inch rows? Check. Want it to plant 20- or 30-inch rows? Check. How about planting multiple hybrids at the same time? Check. Variable-rate seed planting and fertilizer placement? Check. Check.
In partnership with Harvest International, Precision Planting and Schlipf Precision Ag, Beck’s Hybrids is taking the machine to the fields as part of its Practical Farm Research program. “Over the years, our PFR team has conducted studies about row spacing and seeding rates,” says Jason Gahimer, PFR operations manager. “But we’ve yet to determine the right row spacing, seeding rate and hybrid combination.
“The multi-row width, multi-hybrid concept planter will allow us to plant 10-inch, 20-inch and 30-inch rows, as well as multi-hybrid, variable-rate populations, and apply variable-rate fertility throughout the field to identify the zones, spacing and seeding rates that’ll maximize yields.”
What’s ‘under the hood’
This multi-row width, multi-hybrid concept planter features:
• A custom-made planter bar and row units by Harvest International
• Precision Planting vSet Select multi-hybrid meters
• A vApply HD liquid control system
• FurrowJet in-furrow liquid attachments
• CleanSweep pneumatic row cleaners
• A DeltaForce hydraulic down force control system
• Yetter closing wheels and row cleaners
• A Surefire Ag fertilizer pump system.
The modular design required laser precision to fit the units together with 1-inch clearance. The planter bar and row units were manufactured in northwest Iowa, according to Byron Friesen, president of Harvest International. “Because we laser-cut everything, it ensures a high level of accuracy, which lends itself to more precise planting.” Schlipf Precision Ag of Milford, Ind., mounted the Precision Planting components onto the planter bar.
This fall, Beck’s PFR team will use the planter to conduct a 10-inch row width study in wheat. Next spring, corn and soybean field trials will begin with the multi-row width, multi-hybrid planter in central Indiana. Before heading to the fields, the team will use its Farmserver precision farming tool to create management zones and identify test blocks — and vary rates on the go.
See Becks’ do-all planter video for more details.