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Planting Report: Tracked Tractors Shine This Spring

This Steiger® 370 Rowtrac™ 370 and True-Tandem™ 370 disk harrow await drier fields in Arkansas.

Every season brings challenges and opportunities. Planting delays continue to test farmers across many Southern regions this spring. Many growers have seen firsthand how the latest Case IH technology can help them manage these challenges.

Today’s guest blogger is Del Massey, Case IH crop production sales specialist. He covers East Texas, Arkansas, the Missouri Bootheel, Tennessee and Alabama. Here is his planting report from the field:

In my role, I have the opportunity to work with outstanding farmers who raise a wide variety of crops. This spring — like most springs — has brought some unique challenges. It’s been an especially tough go in the Missouri and Arkansas areas I cover.

Weather has really impacted our season. Some growers did get a small three- to four-day window around Feb. 15 to accomplish some soil prep work. But since that window closed, fieldwork opportunities have been scarce.

Because of the large amount of rain we’ve received in this part of the world, planting is coming along slowly. Some corn and rice have been planted from central Arkansas south. But right now, they are rained out. In northern Arkansas, less than 10 percent of the rice and corn are planted. Most years, corn planting would be finished and rice would be about half complete.

Many rice fields still have ruts from last year. Some of the higher, sandy ground that typically would be planted to corn has been worked with a vertical tillage tool or disk. Most of the lower ground where rice would be planted is still the way it was left last fall. Fortunately, the insurance cutoff for rice is later — around May 20 — in most areas.

Farmers face quite a few challenges this spring. The insurance cutoff date for corn is fast-approaching. This will force many farmers to shift planting intentions from corn to soybeans or sorghum. I’ve received more calls about setting planters and air drills for sorghum this spring than I have in the past three years combined. This tells me that the profit potential appears better for sorghum than it does for corn, soybeans or cotton. Putting pencil to paper for each of these crops has been the main game for most farmers this spring, especially as the date gets later.

Through these challenges, it’s been rewarding to see how Case IH equipment has helped farmers. Our track technology tractors — the new Magnum Rowtrac, Steiger® Quadtrac® and Steiger Rowtrac tractors — really have demonstrated their value. They’ve paired so well with our full line of tillage equipment to help producers work through this spring’s conditions. I have seen a tracked machine hitched to our new True-Tandem 335 VT vertical tillage do some pretty amazing work in wetter soils. The hydraulic baskets on the True-Tandem 335 VT and our new True-Tandem 345 disk harrows can be raised or deployed with less down pressure to work well in wetter conditions. When it comes to planting and seeding, our easy-adjusting equipment helps farmers quickly change crops and settings — it really fits farmers’ needs. Our wide variety of planter plates and air-drill rollers can facilitate nearly any crop.

My advice for farmers this spring: Make hay while the sun shines.

  • Stay in close contact with your Case IH dealer; make sure you have all of your equipment needs covered.
  • Keep your equipment well-maintained. It’s much easier to inspect equipment and make adjustments while it’s raining than it is after you get to the field.
  • Turn to your Case IH dealer and supporting product specialists in the field to help you review your equipment needs, and you’ll be ready when the dry weather comes.

We’re here to support farmers and help you reach whatever decision will bring the most profitable opportunities this year.

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