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Planting Report: Check Your Planter’s Performance

Planting season might be wrapped up, but evaluation season is just beginning. Consider several factors when grading your planter’s performance.

Whether you rolled through planting season mostly unhindered, with the typical ups and downs, or with more challenges than you care to remember, it’s time to start evaluating how your planter performed.

Today’s guest blogger is David Brennan, Case IH crop production product specialist. David covers portions of Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska and South Dakota. Here from the field is his recap of the planting season:

Season overview

Central and southern Minnesota enjoyed average to above-average conditions. Planting progressed quickly. That wasn’t the case in western Iowa and eastern Nebraska, where we managed our way through some extremely tough planting conditions. Frequent rains narrowed suitable windows for planting. And then some of the corn that did get planted early suffered through stretches of cool, wet weather that led to poor germination. Rains in some areas also resulted in surface crusting that forced farmers to replant. Fortunately, replanting was not terribly widespread.

Planter performance

In areas where cooler- and wetter-than-normal conditions caused poor and delayed germination, it wasn’t necessarily because of poor planter performance. There are several ways to help differentiate. This list is a good place to start:

  1. Inspect mesocotyl length to grade the planter on consistency of planting depth.1
  2. Dig for ungerminated seed where gaps or skips are perceived in the field, keeping in mind that many seed companies are only in the mid-90s for germination percentage.
  3. Review the entire field for patterns related to fall fertilizer applications, fall tillage, spring tillage, etc.
  4. As the corn plant matures in the V4+ range, conduct leaf counts to get a Net Effective Stand number that truly grades the planter.

New 2000 series Early Riser® planters

I had the opportunity to demonstrate two of the new Early Riser 2150 planters in my territory — one in central Nebraska and one in western Iowa. These units planted all of the corn for the harvest demonstrations at the Farm Progress Show in August and at the Husker Harvest Days farm show in September. These shows will be great opportunities to see firsthand how the new Early Riser performed. Be sure to watch for other field days or plot tours in your areas that will highlight the new Early Riser. Here are some of the comments I heard from farmers this spring:

  • The Early Riser 2150 was well-received by customers at all demonstration sites.
  • They especially liked the strong, robust look and feel of the row unit and tool bar. They appreciated the use of all the cast components.
  • Farmers liked the vertical travel of the row unit. They felt it would prove valuable in western Iowa’s rolling terrain.
  • They liked the potential to increase planting speeds without sacrificing planting quality.
  • No-till customers liked the crop residue flow. They also liked the seed-trench closing ability exhibited by the improved two-stage closing system and the in-cab air adjustment.

Despite the challenges in some areas, farmers remain ever-optimistic about how this year’s crop is shaping up. If you would like ideas about ways to help your crops reach their full potential, talk with your Case IH dealer. From primary tillage to seedbed preparation to the latest, most agronomically designed planter technology, we’re here to help.


Videos: 2000 series Early Riser planter

Brochure: New Early Riser planter

1Nielsen RL. The Emergence Process in Corn. Purdue University Corny News Network website. Published May 2014. Accessed June 17, 2016.
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