Momentum seen in quest for better seed placement

Competition in the planter market is rolling faster as Agco introduces its revolutionary new Fendt Momentum to help overcome conditions that challenge uniform emergence.

Row croppers know an evenly emerged, picket-fence plant stand is the critical first step for optimum yields, despite the many agronomic and operational challenges beyond their control. Agco says they have developed the new Momentum planter to give growers more control over the challenges.

Time is one of those challenges. Momentum will operate at up to 10 m.p.h., with more than 99 percent singulation and seed-spacing accuracy when planting, when equipped with the optional SpeedTube seed tubes from Precision Planting. That is twice the conventional planting ground speed. The narrow-transport planters fold to a compact 12-by-12-foot package.

SmartFrame technology is at the base of the new planter. It attempts to consistently place every seed at the optimum depth and spacing while minimizing compaction and eliminating pinch rows.

According to an Agco news release, Momentum achieves this regardless of variations in soil moisture, soil type, residue levels, terrain or operating speed. It is built to reduce downtime for refills or configuration changes and cleanout when switching crops.

SmartFrame employs a vertical contouring toolbar and smart automated capability. The planter has three independent, intelligent sections that operate automatically, ensuring the row units on each section maintain the ideal seeding depth. The sensor-controlled hydraulic system monitors the angle of the row-unit parallel arms to automatically adjust toolbar height, keeping the arms level and the row units properly engaged with the soil as ground conditions and terrain change.

The vertical contouring toolbar flexes up and down as much as 66 inches to follow the contour of the field and ensure the row units properly engage the soil. The sensor-controlled hydraulic system monitors the angle of the row-unit parallel arms to automatically adjust toolbar height, according to Alex Lundgren, product manager for Seeding and Tillage equipment.

“Where the Momentum planter really shines is when planting terraces or uneven fields,” Lundgren says. “The planter essentially flexes to wrap itself over the top of the terrace and down into the lowest point, putting each row unit in the best possible position for optimal row-cleaning, downforce, furrow forming, seed placement and closing. We see more consistent emergence even in fields that appear level.”

Wheel placement is another unique engineering feature. High-capacity, central-fill seed and fertilizer systems save time, but the extra weight contributes to pinch rows and soil compaction. Instead of side-by-side duals for centre transport, wide in-line tandem wheels travel in front of the row units, eliminating pinch rows. The wheels are positioned in the same path as the tractor tires, limiting the compaction area.

Wing wheels are located according to customer preference ,but are typically on the end of each wing, to run outside the last row unit. This puts wing wheels in the same path on each pass through the field, reducing overall compaction without sacrificing row numbers or spacing.

In addition, the Momentum is equipped with with high flexion tires that have a large footprint and carry 40 percent more weight at the same inflation as conventional radial tires.

Weight management is the third differentiating technology on the Fendt planter. The Momentum can be equipped with a central tire inflation system that automatically adjusts tire pressures from the roadway to the field, deflating the tires as the wings unfold.

To reduce yield-robbing soil compaction during planting, the system automatically adjusts tire pressure up or down to compensate for the fluctuating weight of the planter as seed and fertilizer are used or replenished. The system reduces each tire’s pressure to the lowest field setting recommended by the tire manufacturer for the weight present at any given time, down to the pre-set low of 15 psi.

Operators can select from two automated modes. Load balance mode equalizes the weight across the planter based on weight and speed information from sensors on each axle. According to research from Pioneer, traditional central-fill planters can cause an 11-bushel per acre loss in corn yield from wheel-traffic compaction in the centre vs. wing rows on planters without such a system.

The controlled traffic mode transfers the bulk of the weight to the centre section of the planter, practically eliminating the weight on the soil from the wing tires. By concentrating the planter’s weight in the tracks made by the tractor, soil compaction is limited. This mode works well for growers who maintain tram lines and use the same path for each field operation.

The Momentum planter is built for speed in the field, when changing crops and when travelling between fields. It carries large volumes of seed and fertilizer with twin seed tanks that hold 65 bushels each, while the fertilizer tank holds 1,000 gallons of liquid for more acres planted between fills.

Changing from 15-inch row spacing to 30-inch spacing can be done quickly with splitter rows that hydraulically rise and lock up based on planter configuration choices made on the in-cab monitor. A single touch folds and unfolds the planter automatically and simultaneously activates the tire inflation system.

Eight models for 2021 include 16-row, 24-row, 32-row, 36-row and 48-row configurations with spacings of 15, 20, 22 and 30 inches. All planters are available with liquid fertilizer.

They come from the factory with core Precision Planting technologies and may be customized with the Precision Planting products best suited to a customer’s operation. The planters are customizable with plenty of room and ground clearance for row- and frame-mounted tillage and fertilizer attachments.

Customers can order the planter in early summer from select Fendt dealers in North America for delivery for the 2021 spring planting season.

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