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How to Buy a Planter, Part One: Remember Six Agronomic Principles

When it comes to seed population and accurate seed spacing, every planter has operating rules. The Early Riser™ planter give you a wider working range within each of those rules.

Bill Hoeg, Case IH Planter Sales and Marketing Manager in North America, is our guest blogger for this post, the first of a two-part series on factors to consider when buying a planter. Bill provides important agronomic factors to keep in mind in this first blog post 

The planter is the most important piece of equipment on your farm, hands down. If the seed isn’t planted in a way that maximizes yield potential, you will see an impact on your profitability. Planter reliability also is an important factor, because you can’t afford to slow you down during a limited planting window. Making the most of your equipment will help you Be Ready to meet the challenges of feeding a growing global population.

Consider these six agronomic principles of optimized planting when buying a new planter:

  1. Proper seed depth
  2. Uniform seed depth across the planter and throughout the field
  3. Good soil-to-seed contact
  4. Uniform soil pressure all around the seed
  5. Accurate seed population
  6. Accurate in-row seed spacing

A lot of planter manufacturers focus only on in-row seed spacing and accurate populations, because, quite honestly, accurate population and in-row seed spacing is the easiest to impact. However, other factors also are important. A planter should be able to deliver on all six agronomic principles right out of the box and it shouldn’t require hundreds of dollars of additional equipment on each row to improve planter performance.

It is not necessarily complicated: If you plant at the right depth, seed will emerge faster, and if you plant at a uniform depth, it will all come up together. This scenario gives you the best opportunity to maximize yields. Good soil-to-seed contact provides the best environment for seed to germinate. Uniform seed pressure is the hardest to affect, but you want to influence soil pressure on all sides of the seed to maximize moisture conductivity to the seed.

When it comes to seed population and accurate seed spacing, every planter has operating rules. As long as you stay within those rules, you can get respectable results. I suggest the Early Riser™ planter does a better job, because you have a wider working range within each of those rules. It features a pull-gauge wheel, which allows the row unit to operate much more smoothly in rough fields. It also has the largest diameter seed disk. A bigger disk doesn’t have to turn as fast, so it can remain in its optimum operating range even in adverse conditions. As a result, you can plant a wider range of populations and seed size accurately at faster speeds.

Do you know of other factors that should be considered? If so, let us know! For more information about Early Riser planters, including demonstrations on how to create an ideal seed trench, how to achieve early, even emergence, and the benefits of pull- vs. push-gauge wheels, call your local Case IH dealer or visit

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