The Proof of Proper Planting Comes At Harvest

See how using the Fendt Momentum planter helped growers achieve their best corn stands in a number of ways.

By Jamie Cole

“Seed is expensive,” says Kreg Main, a Central Illinois grower who just spent his first season using the Fendt® Momentum™ planter. “You want to actually try to do the best job you can to get that seed where you want it, how you want it, and what population you want it at and not be out there with doubles and skips.”

Getting the most out of the seed you sow is every farmer’s goal. In a frantic planting season that saw many Corn Belt farmers battle weather and plant late, we visited with a few who worked through the challenges with the help of a Momentum planter.

“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.

Hill has had a busy year. “I got the opportunity to go out and sit in the cab with a lot of growers, being able to be hands on with them,” says Hill, a product specialist for Fendt, “to help coach them through what I’m seeing, what they’re seeing, and put our minds together to give the best opportunity for those seeds to grow.”

Growers have the opportunity to take advantage of some of the unique features on the Momentum planter to improve seed-to-soil contact and singulation while avoiding some of the common issues introduced at planting that can affect yield. “Being able to deflate the tires, taking away some of those pinch rows, you’re able to get into some of the less ideal conditions,” Hill says. “We’re able to balance out the weight throughout the entire planter frame. That allows people to get into the fields if the field’s a little bit too wet … Get out there a little bit earlier than what they might have normally done to make sure that they’re hitting that optimal time of planting.”

Here’s how some Momentum farmers saw that pay off at harvest time.

For Kreg Main, getting the seed environment right from the start was the key to a “real good stand,” he says. Main added the FurrowForce system to his planter to improve furrow closing. It’s a two-stage system that first closes the seed furrow from the bottom up, and then firms the soil over the seed to retain moisture. “It really tucks that corn seed into that furrow,” says Main, “and takes out all the air pockets and does a real nice job taking the side wall compaction out of it, too.”

Main points out that Mother Nature was kind during the growing season, but spring planting was tighter than usual, so being able to plant faster was helpful. “We are looking at a real good singulating crop, real even crop, and probably going to be our best crop we’ve ever raised,” he says.

Al Johnston, a neighbor of Main, says he also noticed the evenness of emergence and agrees that corn yields were “tremendous.” Johnston also added the optional liquid fertilizer tank to his Momentum planter, which made the planting pass all the more efficient.

“If you have a little bit of nitrogen next to the plant, you don’t seem to see that transition from the seedling stage to the root stage. That whole transition seems real seamless,” says Johnston. (For more on this topic, see “The Case for Starter Fertilizer” here.) “Before, we were carrying that liquid on the tractor with big saddle tanks, and it was much, much more efficient, time wise, to have that on the planter,” he says.

Roger and Nate Wallace (see their full story here) are also in their first planting season with a Momentum in the 16-row, 30-inch setup, and were already running a Fendt 1042 tractor.

“We felt like the planter did its job real well,” says Roger. “The pinch rows were kind of eliminated for the most part with that air distribution system.”

While corn yields were up year over year, Roger says the “eye test” on the crop was all the proof he needed. “Just watching the plants and watching the way they emerged and the way they grew, we felt like we kind of eliminated that problem to a large degree,” he says. “the corn ended up looking like … we like to call it a picket fence effect.”

(See “A Deep Dive into Soil Compaction” for more information on the ROI of avoiding pinch rows.)

Meanwhile, the AGCO-exclusive SmartFrame™ technology worked as expected. “It’s flexing where it needs to flex and it kept the seed in the soil like it was supposed to,” says Roger. Nate agrees. “The planter just kinda rolls over top of the rougher spots … It doesn’t hit and bounce in and out … It was noticeable,” he says.

“When growers are saying this is the best stand we’ve ever had… There’s a huge contribution of being able to, to maintain that ground contact,” says Hill. He sees it on farms where hand checks—counting kernels on individual ears to estimate yield—show the difference. “We’re seeing a lot of the times a two-round difference,” he says. “A lot of the times that equates to 22 bushel an acre.” (See more about estimating yield in the field with hand checks here.)

Exclusive Features, Proven Benefits

The Fendt Momentum planter from AGCO is an advanced planting system with SmartFrame technologies, including its vertically contouring toolbar design and the optional Load-Logic™ weight management system that automatically senses loads, monitoring the weight on the planter and adjusting.

The Load-Logic weight management system lets the operator choose to use a load-balance mode to distribute the weight of the seed and fertilizer evenly across the planter bar, or the controlled-traffic mode to focus the weight on the in-line tandem center wheels that follow the path of the tractor wheels. The farmer can adjust to put the weight in the right places, and then the tires adjust automatically using a smart central tire inflation system (CTIS).

It pairs perfectly with Fendt row-crop tractors with the factory-installed VarioGrip™ tire pressure regulation system. VarioGrip allows the operator to set and control tire pressure on-the-go from 8.7 to 36 PSI to reduce compaction and tire wear while optimizing traction and performance in the field or on the road.

The vertical contouring toolbar on Momentum allows growers to save substantial time by planting any contour or terrace in the way they want vs. the terrace dictating how the planter is positioned. A sensor-controlled hydraulic system raises and lowers sets of secondary row-unit toolbars to extend the normal 15-inch range of vertical movement to an effective 68 inches, ensuring the row unit stays in its optimum position relative to the ground to plant at the correct depth. Meanwhile, DeltaForce® downforce system creates a specific downforce for each row for the right standing pressure for different soil types and planting conditions.

Growers can monitor all planter functions and individual row unit performance in real time with the 20/20 SeedSense® monitor system, which comes standard on all Fendt Momentum planters. 20/20 SeedSense tells you what you need to know about population, skips, doubles, speed, row unit ride, down force and ground contact. It enables you to seed precisely, maintain depth, avoid compaction and troubleshoot mechanical problems.

The eight models include 16-, 24-, 32-, 36- and 48-row configurations with row spacings of 15, 20, 22, and 30 inches, all available with liquid fertilizer. All are narrow-transport, folding to a compact 12 x 12-foot package with the touch of a button.

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