Essential Planting Equipment: An Overview
Mar 23rd 2021
Farming in America is so big that the money generated from it alone would place it in the top 20 of the world's largest economies.
The gross domestic product of farming in the United States is $1.053 trillion. That places it right behind Mexico and a shade above Indonesia for total GDP.
Despite all that money being made, farmers and ranchers only make up 1.3% of the employed persons in America. So with that much money on the line, it's important to have the right harvesting and planting equipment for whatever size farm you run.
From tractors to air drills, America's farmers need the right equipment for whatever they plant.
In the following planting equipment guide, we'll look at what you need and some of the brands you can trust.
Seeds are usually only planted an inch or so below the soil's face. Soil can become compacted over the winter, so it needs to be turned over, so those seeds laying so close to the surface have a chance to germinate, then grow.
The process of turning the soil and prepping the seedbeds is done mechanically. Plowing breaks up the soil and makes it more pliable. It will also help with drainage and the growth of firm roots.
Before the plowing is done, a farmer will spray manure and other fertilizers over their field. When the field is plowed, those fertilizers and other organic matter will be rolled into the soil for nutrients. The fertilizer is rich in necessary nitrogens and the turning over also increases the oxygen content for the crops.
The plowing also breaks up weed roots. This is beneficial because weeds will muscle out your planted crop if left to their own devices.
Hopefully, this plowing will also mean fewer herbicides and fewer weeds. And, as any farmer knows — fewer weeds mean a more valuable crop.
Another way of planting is to not till the soil but leave the organic material left behind from last year's harvest. This prevents the erosion that is sometimes caused by plowing.
This no-till planting style doesn't disrupt the spoil or destroy valuable bacteria, insects, and fungi that contribute to soil health. These valuable organisms help break down organic matter and enrich the soil.
Many farmers see this planting as more valuable than conventional plowing. The threat of water and wind erosion to fields is a serious one. The material left behind from last year's harvest actually helps fight the erosion by helping the soil stay put.
In places like Iowa, no-drill plantings have been the norm for the last 35 years. Farmers there site the formation of uneven seedbeds as another consequence of tilling the soil.
Planting Equipment 'Must Brands'
Before the overview of planting equipment types, remember these three names: Cooperhead AG, Yetter, and Kinze. These manufacturers of farm equipment are all top of the line and are synonymous with reliability and functionality.
Copperhead AG makes planter closing wheels, high-quality brackets, and closing systems. One of their best projects is their planter arm conversion kit. The company's Cruiser Xtreme is a fully cast iron planter wheel that is synonymous with durability.
Yetter has been around for almost 100 years and makes some of the best planting equipment out there. They are a leader in planter attachments, residue management, and fertilizer management. Yetter makes a wide assortment of row cleaners, planter-mount colters, and closing wheels.
Kinze is one of the largest privately help farm equipment makers in America. The company makes a host of products and planters, and it is probably most well-known for its grain carts. The company's founder Jon Kinzenbaw designed and built the first single axle, low-profile grain cart.
A modern farm needs a suitable tractor to pull the many varieties of farm equipment needed for planting. Tractors are a basic necessity for both small and large-scale operations.
Among the varieties of tractors are:
Compact tractors: Perfect for material handling, these smaller vehicles still pack a lot of towing power.
Track tractors: Imagine a large tractor with tank treads, and you have a track tractor. These vehicles can plow fields and give a smoother ride to the driver.
Wheeled tractors: These utility tractors are made for general-purpose work and towing and come in various styles and configurations.
Seeders and Planters
Tractor-pulled seeders come in several styles and are often delineated by the plant material you're looking to harvest. A small farm can get by with a mechanical seeder, but a larger operation needs one of these tractor-pulled varieties:
Drill seeders: These box drill seeders are the most common pull-behind seeders. They have few limitations and are the most commonly used for garden crops.
Air seeders: These large seeders take seeds stored in a hooper and use compressed air to fire them into the soil. The drawback is that these equipment types can only be used on one type of seed: small, round ones.
Planters: These are the sharpshooters of seeders. You use planters for their accuracy. With its several wheels and blades, the planter cuts the ground, plants a seed, and seals the ground behind it.
Broadcast seeders: These pull-behind accessories are great for grasses and other cover crops but are practically useless for garden crops.
The chisel plow is a common pill-behind attachment for planting. Its blades dig about a foot deep into the soil and you use it for fields where regular crop production takes place.
Other varieties of plows include the moldboard and disc plow. You use the moldboard for areas that haven't seen crop production for a number of years. A farmer uses the disc plow to cut into the soil and slice into weed roots.
The last thing you'll need is a tractor-mounted fertilizer spreader. A broadcast spreader uses gravity to spread the fertilizer. A manure spreader takes solid animal waste and spreads it over your fields.
Yous use a slurry spreader, the last type, for spreading liquid manure.
Make the Right Call
Planting crops like soybeans and corn may seem basic, but it's a highly scientific and labor-intensive process that calls for excellent decision-making and equipment.
Make the right decision on your planting equipment by sticking with names you trust and getting the right advice. If you have any questions about what your farm needs, reach out to an expert for help.
Contact us today for your planting needs or to speak to an equipment professional.