In The Field with the Fendt Momentum Planter

Planting season is rarely ideal. New planter technology can help mitigate less-than-ideal conditions and help plants get their best start.

By Jamie Cole | Video by Jamie Cole

Every planting season is frantic, it seems. Even as corn planting dates fluctuate, every farmer knows that the right start for a crop is crucial. Because “it all ties together,” says Isaac Hill, a product specialist for Fendt that has spent his spring “chasing around a lot of planters,” he says, “making sure they are set up and ready for success.”

Keeping up with Hill during planting season is a challenge, but FarmLife worked with Hill to visit with several growers using the Fendt Momentum planter in a challenging planting season. “We have quite a few growers in the immediate area running a Momentum planter,” says Hill, speaking of his home base in central Illinois. His territory is a good representation of the way farmers across the Corn Belt are using Momentum, as the growers he helps service use several different configurations of the planter and with varying levels of experience.

Roger and Nate Wallace (see their full story here) are in their first planting season with a Momentum in the 16-row, 30-inch setup, but were already running a Fendt 1042 tractor. The two work well together, says Nate: “The tractor and the planter together just seemed like they float across the field with ease,” says Nate. Roger and Nate trade off time in the cab during planting season, and Roger recalls watching Nate work and he “went through a waterway and it was unbelievable, the way the planter will flex.”

The flexible frame is both a notable and very visible feature of the Momentum planter, but the Load-Logic® weight management system literally avoids making an impression. “You can’t even tell where the planter tires have run,” says Alan Johnston, a neighbor of the Wallaces who had experience with the Momentum planter in its early development stages. “It was definitely an experimental planter” then, he says, but now, Johnston is running a 24-row, 30-inch Momentum on his own place. “Being able to have the tire pressure automatically lower and pump up just according to what the load requirements are to carry the planter, that is going to reduce compaction,” he says. (For a detailed look at how Load-Logic® weight management works, click here to read “The Right Tractor Tire Pressure Lightens The Load.”)

Hill says Load-Logic is a major selling point for these farmers; reducing or eliminating pinch rows is a yield booster, because “compaction is a yield robber,” he says. “If you only give (roots) one direction to go, which is down to the bottom of the row, we get hatchet roots… they’re going to lose the ability to get moisture or nutrients,” he says.

“We’re probably looking at a difference in yield that would be significant, one row to another… one that’s pinched, another that’s not,” says Roger Wallace. “You could probably see anywhere from 20 to 40 bushels difference.” (See “A Deep Dive into Soil Compaction” for more information on the ROI of avoiding pinch rows.)

Kreg Main, another Central Illinois neighbor just down the road from the Wallaces, says the DeltaForce® downforce system sold him on Momentum. He recalls in past seasons watching emergence: “Well, okay… this plant is up. This one’s almost up. This one’s not even close to being up. I mean, it’s just a game we were playing.” But uniform emergence is the “number one” goal, he says, and consistent planting depth with DeltaForce® along with Precision Planting vSet® seed metering for spacing and singulation will “get that plant off to the best start it can,” he says.

It’s a huge assumption that Mother Nature will cooperate with that ambition, but Hill says Momentum can at least mitigate there, as well. “It’s been an extremely cold and wet season,” he says. But because compaction worries are less with the planter’s unique weigh distribution, “Some of our growers with the Fendt Momentum have been able to get into the fields a little bit quicker,” he says.