Every spring, farmers across the province asks a lot from their planters when it comes to correct seed placement. Some simple math will demonstrate that when we plant approximately 28,000 seeds per acre at four miles per hour, we are dropping 1.6 seeds per seed meter, per unit, per second. That’s equivalent to an AK-47 machine gun with the capability of firing about ninety rounds a minute. Now, if we increase our planting speed to six mph, this quickly results in 2.3 seeds delivered every second down the seed tube. That’s a big demand! The simple truth is, regardless of planter brand, color, or age, the implications of improper planter speed can have significant impacts on your final yield and ultimately, your bottom line. 

  • Routine planter wear on all moving parts causes greater variability at higher speeds.
  • Unfit soil conditions during planting, including lumpy soil and residue, can cause unit shuddering and greater variability at higher speeds.  
  • Proper seed furrow formation, seed depth, and seed placement at the bottom of the seed trench can be compromised at higher speeds, leading to greater variability.

Many of these factors that reduce our yield and our bottom line can be alleviated by routine planter maintenance and slow planter speeds.

In closing, remember that plant-to-plant uniformity in germination, emergence and growth are essential to maximizing yields; every plant should be a carbon copy of its siblings close by. Have a safe planting season!!!

Dave Emery, CCA-ON, Maizex Seeds District Sales Manager, Southwestern Ontario
Twitter: @emeryda