Planters vs Air Drills

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Seeder vs Planter Demonstration

There are few things that get a farmer’s blood pumping like a field ready for the seeder and shiny new iron to drag across it. With the growing corn and soybean acres in the west, more farmers have adopted row crop planters, and, inevitably, wondered how good a job they would do on other crops. Combine that with expensive canola seed and the planter’s claim of doing a good job with lower seeding rates and you’ve got a lot of buzz generated about planters for canola.

Organizers of the inaugural Manitoba-based CanoLAB at Brandon set up a precision seeding station where three types of planters were on display. Attendees got to see the kind of plants they could expect from the lower rates and wider rows, plus get a crash course on common hiccups.

In this video, Kristen Phillips, agronomy specialist for Manitoba with the Canola Council of Canada, runs through the major pros and cons of planters based on preliminary research results. There’s much more work to be done, and planters have promise, but there are significant trade-offs to be aware of — planters are often set at 15″ rows and wider, are not typically set up to handle granular fertilizer and require significant hydraulic output perhaps necessitating a bigger tractor than farmers currently run.

What’s more, Andrew Dalgarno, who farms at Newdale, Man., shares the results of last year’s seeder vs. planter demonstration held at his farm — it’s only a demo, yes, but the glaring result is that timing and weather — not iron — hold the biggest sway in a crop’s eventual yield.

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