Crop Tour Field Notes

Now that the fall tillage of our AGCO Crop Tour 2016 fields has been completed, I wanted to take a minute to recap the season that is now in the bin.

By Justin Remus

First, I should explain a little about myself and my role in the 2016 AGCO Crop Tour. My name is Justin Remus, AGCO Corporation Field Product Specialist covering Southern Minnesota and Eastern Iowa calling on the Ziegler Equipment dealer for AGCO. I was in charge of the Crop Tour events held near New Ulm, Minnesota.

Getting started

To start the season we met with a few local farmers to perform our yearlong analysis of both the crops and equipment.

The equipment

After we established our game plan, we paired our needs with the correct AGCO equipment that covered the entire season. The planter was a White Planters 9800VE series 24-row equipped with factory installed Precision Planting equipment and factory-installed liquid fertilizer system. This planter was married to a MT765E Challenger® track tractor on 18-inch belts. Seedbed preparation was done using our new Sunflower® 6830 high speed rotary finisher. The 6830 was paired with a MT855E Challenger track tractor.

I was personally very impressed with the capabilities of the new 6830 and its ability to chop and size the remaining residue that was left after the winter of weather while creating an even, consistent seedbed for planting. The speed in which this tool operated provided excellent production for a 29-foot tool as we were able to cover 28 acres per hour at 10.5 mph. This production level is equal to or better than that of a 60-foot field cultivator traveling at 5 mph while being less than 13 feet wide during transport.

The largest amount of focus for the 2016 AGCO Crop Tour was placed on the new 9800VE Series from White Planters. As part of our focus on building the story around this planter a series of test plots were setup to test different situations and settings found on a regular basis.


The first test situation was based on singulation of seeds being placed with the vSet2 meter and our “Goof” meters. The “goof” meters were setup to simulate corn seed placed four inches and under from another seed while other holes were sealed off to represent a skip or lack of seeds being placed. We compared these “goof” rows to that of a properly set and singulating vSet2 meter. During our study we found a singulation advantage of the vSet2 meter to be $35 per acre increase than that of our improper singulated seed meters.

The second plot test demonstrated the difference in seed planting depth in corn. For this test, eight row sections were setup from planting depths of 1.5 inches to 3.5 inches. Planting depth is a widely contested talking point from farm to farm. This test proved to be very interesting throughout the season. From emergence to tassel to harvest, this test was able to show several pieces of information. During emergence seeds across all depths came up within a 24 hour period which I thought would be greater than what the plot demonstrated. In reality it wasn’t until shortly after tassel that the difference in production could be seen. At this time the effect of hatchet rooting on deep planted and lose of stand due to wind were noted in shallow planted seeds. Based on those factors we saw a dramatic difference in yield potential. We noticed anywhere from a $160 to $200 difference in yield return based on fluctuating the depth a half inch. These cash values directly relate to our third and final trial for the planter.

Our final trial was to demonstrate the difference between excessive, light and automatic downforce control. We simulated a downforce setting too heavy, similar to a spring downforce control which on one side made sure that our row unit achieved depth of targeted seed placement but compacted the furrow next to the seed thus causing hatchet roots along with narrowing of the root mass. The light downforce demonstrated a downforce control setting set low, which caused the row unit to fluctuate depth and not place a consistent 360 degrees worth of soil around the seed. Automatic operation of the DeltaForce system was also operated to demonstrate the capabilities of 24 individual row units operating at a desired pressure to create even seed to soil contact while also achieving desired depth for seed placement. Based on this test we saw an 11 bushel advantage given to the automatic setting versus excessive downforce and a 15 bushel advantage given to the automatic setting over the light downforce control.

Based off the success of this year’s real world test we have already started our Crop Tour 2017 activities with fall tillage comparisons using the Sunflower 6830 Series for residue management and Sunflower 4630 Series for our primary tillage.

Randy Peterson
Senior Product Specialist

With the SeedSense 20/20 and its color-coded, touchscreen display, you’ll spot any errors in downforce, spacing and singulation immediately. You’ll zero in on the source. You’ll check it out. You’ll fix it. And you’ll move on, confident that you’re doing everything you can to plant profitably. More precise than any other monitor, 20/20 SeedSense tells you what you need to know about population, skips, doubles, speed, row unit ride, downforce and ground contact. It enables you to seed precisely, maintain depth, avoid compaction and troubleshoot mechanical problems. 20/20 SeedSense is easy to use, too. The main screen summarizes everything. The most important metrics are the largest. Green means go, yellow means caution, red means stop and fix whatever’s wrong. Just tap the screen and you’ll see row by row details, so you know where to look.[/caption]

When we set up our White Planters 9824VE, I saw how simple and easy it was to set up. All we had to do was install the SeedSense 20/20 monitor, install residue managers, calibrate the gauge wheels and that was about it. We started the planter, and it was something to see. The SeedSense 20/20 monitor set up was so easy. We installed the field view app on an iPad™. When you can see basically the whole field, as it is being planted, is, to say the least, impressive. The SeedSense 20/20 monitor showed 99.5% singulation, just about the whole time. But even better than that was the DeltaForce system: it automatically adjusts itself; this is so critical going from field to field.

The vSet and the vDrive is so accurate, and not a lot of wire harnesses to connect to the tractor. It compensates for curves, waterways and basically does whatever you set it to do.

I watched this farmer plant from my house on my iPad, I got his username and password, so I could watch his planting, and even if he stopped planting.

It shows if you have skips, doubles, even if a corn kernel gets caught in one of the 27-cell corn plates. It tells you when there is a deviation to anything on the planter.

So the biggest take aways I got from the Precision Planting system are:

  • The SeedSense 20/20 monitor with the Field View app is fantastic.
  • The DeltaForce system made a big difference in regards to yield.
  • The electric drive is a very simple and reliable system.
  • With any seed size, refuge, graded or ungraded, flats, rounds—it did not matter—it planted it all very accurately using 18 inches of vacuum.

Another thing, it looks as good as new even after 1,000 acres through it. I have learned more in six months doing this, than I have in 30 years of running White Planters.