DECATUR, Ill. — Bigger usually has some downsides, especially in planters and seeders.
Transport sizes create risk and stress, while weight and its distribution add costs and agronomic issues.
U.S. manufacturer Kinze recently responded with a 60 foot machine.
It’s still a prototype, but Mike Gryp of Kinze said farmer feedback at the Farm Progress Show in Decatur, Illinois, earlier this fall was mostly positive.
“For the larger operator, especially in the (Great) Plains and Prairies, the machine offers a lot of capacity without having to spend so much time managing those big moves,” he said.
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Reducing a heavy-framed, split-row planter’s toolbar to 12 feet from 60 feet required some changes to the company’s approach to the big machines.
It gets a centre pivot, which also improves how it manoeuvres in the field. The company has used that strategy on smaller machines, but this was a first when it came to a larger unit.
Using two ranks of planter units, the machine can handle 24-row, 30-inch corn or 48-row, 15-inch soybeans.
The prototype has Kinze’s inner-plant system and a pusher unit split-row for 15-inch soybeans.
“Having the pushers out front creates a good gap between the front and back row units,” Gryp said.
“The gap provides better residue flow going through the field. It also gives space so that if you need to get in there for maintenance on a row unit, you can lift the planter up and stand right be-tween the rows to work on it. Gets rid of all that bending down and climbing between tightly packaged row units.”
The machine’s 24-inch clearance is partly why it is easier to get around the frame. It is higher than the company’s other planters and improves residue flows.
The new machine uses a rock shaft to lift and pivot rather than relying on a central post. This gives an additional 14 inches of clearance in transport.
“We all know farmers transport over a lot more than flat blacktop,” he said.
“Elevated railroad (crossings), crowns in the road, or going through ditches, it means there is less chance we’re going to drag those back row units with this design.”
Managing weight is always an issue when it comes to a single bulk seed tank.
“We end up with a lot of weight in the middle of the frame,” Gryp said.
“You can end up with pinch row compaction, and that creates uneven field and hurts yield.”
The big planter uses hydraulic weight transfer cylinders to distribute that load outboard to the wings of the three-section planter.
“Now we (have) good, nice even depth control by keeping the frame level in field, and the wings can move up and down 15 degrees on rolling land or over ditches,” he said.
The company isn’t speculating on a release date yet and has been showing the machine off to gauge farmer interest and garner suggestions for future improvements.