Refurbishing a “New” 20-Year-Old Planter with Sam of the North
25 Feb 2420m 54s

Sam Coutu is updating his bean planting unit for 2024. He bought a bigger — and soon to be better — planter for cheap. Now, he’s mapping out the upgrades he’ll be doing and parts he’s installing on the unit. Sam explains the economics, efficiencies, and objectives behind his planter decision. When it’s all said and done, he’ll be in his refurbished planter for a mere $60,000. If you’re contemplating planter changes for spring, listen to this! 

 This episode is presented by CLAAS

00:00 We're talking to Sam of the North at Sam Katu, who's an extreme AG affiliate, and he's got a big planter refurbishing project going on. 00:07 Maybe you can glean some tools that you'll put into your planter refurbishment in this episode 00:14 of extreme Ag Cutting the curve. Welcome To extreme Ag Cutting the Curve podcast, where real farmers share real insights 00:21 and real results to help you improve your farming operation. This episode of Cutting the Curve is brought to you by cloth 00:28 where machines aren't just made, they're made for more with a wide range of tractors, combines, foragers and hay tools. 00:35 Cloth is a family business just as driven, demanding, and dedicated as yours. Go to 00:41 and start cutting your curve with their cutting edge equipment. And now here's your host, Damien Mason. 00:47 Hey there. Welcome to another fantastic extreme ice, cutting the curve talking. Sam Chu, or I call him Sam of the North. Sam's a good dude. 00:54 He farms, he farms in Quebec, and as he told me in a previous recording, only about 1% of the entire province, maybe it's 2%, 2% 01:02 of the entire province is devoted to farm ground. Uh, there's a lot of woods and lakes up there. But anyway, he's one of our, he's one of our buddies 01:08 and he's an extreme ag guy, and he is always got good stuff to share. He shared a text with, uh, the extreme ag crew about a, 01:15 a used planter that he bought, and then he's gonna be putting it in the barn and he is going to be going through it 01:20 and retooling it, refurbishing it, renovating it. This is a subject we just talked about in a webinar recently about what tips and tricks 01:30 and upgrades we are doing at Extreme Ag that you can then put into your planter for better planting results. 01:36 And I said, you know what, Sam, this is kind of cool. You're right there with that theme. So what'd you buy? What's the big picture? What do you wanna do? 01:44 So the planter I bought, I bought it from auction time and it's, uh, I was not really looking for it. Uh, it showed up on, on Facebook, 01:55 and uh, I said, I go take a look to the deal. So it's, uh, 1790 John Deer Planter. It's on, uh, it's a 24 row, 20 inches, 02:08 and, uh, I got that for 28. Do $28,000 us. So It's $28,000. Yeah. Sounds like a, sounds like a decent deal. 02:19 Uh, it must be beat to hell. Yeah, That's, that's what I was thinking. But then I just, uh, go to, I got to escort it last week 02:30 because it's too wide. But, uh, when I look at it, it was, it was pretty decent. All the frame is good. 02:38 It's a CCS, it's a central commodity system. And, uh, I was on 15 inches before and that planter was older than that one, 02:50 and it was completely not scrap, but it's was kind of drunk. Yeah, right. And so, got a lot, I didn't pay a lot 03:02 of money on that older planter. Yeah. But I paid this one cheaper than I bought the, my old 15 planter inch planter. 03:10 Yeah. So, all right. So, so we're talking about an upgrade and one of the big points that the guys made, 03:15 we talked about this in Louisville during the Farm Machinery Show, when we had a panel, and we talked about it again on our webinar, the idea that 03:22 to have successful planting, you've gotta spend a gazillion dollars on, on the newest paint. 03:28 And we went through this again and again, you know, Chad runs three planters and he is always going through them. And then Kevin talked about, uh, maintenance of the brushes 03:36 and stuff that I don't even think about. Obviously I'm not, I don't run planters, uh, you know, but I, I'm familiar. 03:42 But the things that these guys do well, what you're doing is an upgrade. So let's talk about 03:48 what you're upgrading from into the planter you had was not quite scrap, but then where did it go? 03:55 So I didn't use it last in 23 because of a, a man a manpower shortage. Yes. So I used the 24 row 60 04:10 foot planter to plant my beans. And I go twice. I, I have to go to plant twice. So it's twice a time. 04:20 You mean, you mean, how do you mean? You mean you went down and turned around and came right back in between the two 04:24 rows? Or whatcha are you talking about? Yeah, so I plant the fields and I put the, the, the RTK, I just 04:32 put the line seven eight inches. Yeah. Side. So I, I was like twin row for 23. I I plant on twin rows. 04:42 So the planters, you're saying that the, the planter you're getting rid of or upgrading from, you didn't even use it last year anyhow? 04:49 No, no. 'cause it was too much of a project. And I had, last year I got my other planner to refurbish. Yeah. So I didn't have the time 05:00 and the money to invest in that older planner. And this year I saw this deal. And with the experience of the Twin Row from this year, 05:09 I really prefer going, I was a, for 20 years, I was a 15 inches guy, because I feels right around here. 05:20 We are northern the hemisphere and we have more lights during the summertime. Yep. So we have to cover the ground more than on 30 inches. 05:29 Mm-Hmm. So I think that 20 inches is a good in-betweens from 1520, 05:39 and it also cost 25% less to refurbish the planter. All right. So you decided you're gonna go with 20 inches because you were 15 inch guy, 05:50 the stu the pro the planter you didn't even use last year. Is it for sale or is it a scrap yard, 05:55 or what's the deal you trying to find, find you, you're trying to find someone that, that wants a pro a bigger project than 06:00 You. It may, maybe there will some parts coming from it on the, on this one I got some president planting, uh, 06:09 things that I, I, I'm not sure what to do yet. It, it's for sale and it's not for sale at the same time. All right. So the, let's talk about what you're, 06:19 what what you bought. How old is it? It's, uh, 21 years old. It's a 20 2003. Okay. You bought a 21-year-old planner. 06:29 And this is supposed to be a, and this is supposed to be an upgrade. Uh, Sam, I'm not sure I'm following your logic here. 06:36 So I went from three boel boxes to commodity decentral. 'cause my older one was a 97 uhhuh. So it'll be easier to 06:50 finish fields when you, you don't, when you have to finish a field and you have like one, uh, one bag 06:59 of, of beans. Yeah. You have to put in 23 bags in 23 boxes. So right now I just have to put split in two boxes. 07:10 Yeah. So that's good. So you've got great big bins. So you're going save hassle, you're gonna be able to go to bulk, bulk seed, presumably. 07:18 Yeah. Yeah. Okay. So that's a, that's an upgrade. What about the mechanics? Um, you know, the frame's all fine, et cetera. 07:25 Are you replacing most of the stuff or, Uh, yeah, maybe. I, I'm for sure I will invest like 07:31 1200, 1400 grand. No, sorry, 1200, 1400 per row. You're gonna spend 12 to $1,400 of, uh, of upgrades per row on 24 rows. 07:47 So you're gonna end up being all right. Well, that's still not that bad. So you're gonna be in a $28,000 planter 07:52 and you're gonna have another 30 some. So you're gonna end up being in this planter for about 60 or so thousand dollars. US. 07:57 Yeah. Roughly. Yeah. Okay. So what's, what's the upgrade you're gonna do? Uh, for sure the disco. 08:03 You have a sheet of paper. I know you, before we hit record, you have a sheet of paper so you can go ahead and tell me 08:07 what you've got going on there. So for sure, the disco nurse, they are, are shop, uh, the parallel alarms. 08:15 Something we discussed with the guy on Fri on, uh, Thursday, uh Oh. The webinar. We 08:20 talked a lot about parallel alarms that Yeah. Uh, the company you can buy from integrated Ag Solutions and it's got a bearing, uh, and 08:28 therefore it takes the bounce out of it. And Kelly is a big, huge proponent of it. And then, so I think was, uh, uh, Chad. 08:36 Yeah, Chad and Temple. And I already bought those spar arms for my other planter last year, so I know, I know 08:44 what the deal is. So I might, I might go this way. Uh, closing wheel. I don't know what, I will go with the closing wheels. 08:54 I have the closers on my other planter really like it. Uh, not sure if I need it for the beans. We'll, we'll see. 'cause the beans are planted shallow and corn. Yeah. 09:08 So we, we'll see if I, if I need that, uh, bearings or, uh, gauge wheel bearings, uh, gauge wheel alarms. But I, I got a certain budget I don't 09:19 wanna go over this year. Alright, so you're gonna be tearing into this, this winter. Uh, you talked about our webinar where we discussed this, 09:28 which by the way, dear listener, if you want more in, in depth about the tips and the tricks and the upgrades and things that these guys are doing, you can probably go 09:35 and find the recording of that webinar at Extreme Ag Farm. So what I'm wondering then, is 09:41 you obviously wanted to upgrade. You talked about now you've got a bigger seed box that's a benefit. 09:45 Uh, you're gonna put new parallel arms, probably new opening, opening wheels is what you're saying on the thing. 09:51 Pasta, new closing wheels. What about things like two by two and, and all that kind of stuff? 09:56 Uh, this planter has already, uh, in furrow fertilizer. So I'm gonna keep it this way. Like this way for this year. Yeah. You'll do in furrow. You won't do any two by two. 10:09 Uh, no, not in beans. And my other 15 inches s blend was set up the same way. Only infer fertilizer. No. 10:17 All right. Now forgive me for sound ignorant here, but you're gonna use this for both things. You're gonna grow 20 inch corn. 10:22 No, only beans. You're only using this for soybeans. Yeah. 'cause I don't have the, the corn head for 20 inches. 10:29 Yes. There's a farmer around here. I, I might that as a corn head. So maybe for, uh, trials purposes, 10:38 I might try some Don't. Yeah, do do like 80 acres of 20 inch corn and then get your neighbor buddy or hire him to come down 10:47 and, and shell it off for you. Yep. I might do that. What about, but the main, the main purpose of this plant is for beans. 10:55 Yeah. So tell me what your, what your, uh, your hope is. Do you get more yield out of this? 11:01 Does it make you go faster? What's it, what's the, what's the, tell me the big objectives. 11:07 Um, yeah, it'll, 'cause the other planter was 30 feet. This one is 40 feet. So there's will be a time gain. Good. Yeah. Time. 11:18 Do you need a different tractor? And then do you need a different tractor to pull 10 more feet of planter? Uh, I'm still short on manpower. Mm-Hmm. 11:27 So I, I don't know if the idea is good or great, but my feeling is we'll see if I can plant soybean before corn. 11:37 If the weather allows it. I might go and plant beans before, but still my farms are like 20 miles apart. 11:46 I might plant my corn on this farm and beans on this farm. And then switch farm. 11:53 I wanna talk to you about then the other upgrades technologically. Before I do that, I want 11:57 to tell all our dear listeners out here about Nature's. Nature's one of our business partners here at Extreme Ag and they're focused on providing sustainable farming 12:05 solutions and helping maintain crop genetic potential for today as well as future generations high quality liquid fertilizers powered 12:13 by Nature's Bio Kay can be targeted at specific periods of influence throughout the growing season via precision placement techniques, as a means 12:21 to mitigate plant stress, enhanced crop yield, and boost your farm's return on investment. You know what Kelly Garrett said two years ago, 12:28 stress mitigation is gonna be my biggest objective. And one of the keys to that, if you talk to the guys, Chad talks a lot about it, putting fertility 12:37 out there in small doses when you need it, when that plant is going through a little bit of stress, natures can help you on that journey about being more 12:44 of a spoon feeder, being more efficient with your fertility. Go to and check it out. 12:50 Nature's N-A-C-H-U-R-S natures, uh, can help you with your, your spoonfeeding, nutrition fertility project 12:59 and, uh, upgrades. I just see that, uh, Sam's got people walking around behind them there. 13:03 If you're listening to us, you can't see it. But, um, coming to us from Quebec Electronics, um, you know, you got a 20-year-old planter, 13:11 but if you put new electronics in your tractor, it doesn't matter, right? No, it won't change anything. 13:18 You know, as this planter has been, uh, was like really well equipped for the time, it's, uh, hydraulically driven for the, the seed rates. 13:29 So like, it's the same technology as today. Yep. So that it's not mechanical, it's hydraulic and Sure. 13:39 The, the version of the, the, the software might be older, but it, it'll still gonna work. So that's what I was, uh, wondering. 13:50 And then we talked a lot about our webinar, about down pressure, making sure that if you're going across field, 13:55 that you're consistently putting that seed at the depth. What depth are you planting your soybeans? Like an inch? 14:01 Um, I'm targeting an an inch and a half And a half. Okay. So the point is your new IL arms will handle that. 14:08 Is there anything, uh, compatibility wise that you're, you're gonna be adjusting? Uh, on this one? 14:13 There's some, uh, airbags for the, it's are not springs. They are airbags. They are not I hydraulic cylinders, 14:22 but that's why I told you my older planter got, uh, parallel, uh, precision planning system that adjusted itself for the airbags. 14:33 So I might take that from my older planter and put it on this one. Got it. That's, that's something I'm, I will thinking. 14:42 Got it. What about the, you know, what advice do you have? Uh, what, what thing have you learned in your farming, uh, 14:53 practices and doing the planter stuff? What have you learned that you think somebody might be listening to this and saying, you know what I, I'm torn 14:59 between doing this or this. What, what kind of, uh, advice do you have? By, by buying this planter 15:09 and refurbishing myself, I can save a lot of money and I, I can, I can have 70, 75, 80 bushel out of this planner. 15:20 Easy. So it's, it's not the year. It's not, it's not the year of the, the planner that matters. 15:27 It's how, how it will go in the field. It's how in shape it'll go. It'll go in the field is important. Yeah. 15:37 You know, I, I like that. Now you made the adjustment from 15 to 20 and, and you know, but we know that if you, as far as soybeans, 15:46 they feel they cover a lot of space. So, you know, I I think that's a moot point. 15 to 20. I don't think it really matters, does it? 15:52 No, it don't really matter. And the silicon has 25% less units on it. It'll be lighter. So fuel consumption will be better. 16:02 And uh, the compaction there will, they are, I know friends got them and they are easier to pull. Yeah. So you grab some fuel savings, 16:13 you're gonna have cover 10 more feet per per swath. You're gonna still be putting the same population out, presumably Sam? 16:19 Um, yeah, that's, that's something we're working on here. 'cause we're still putting too much. 16:25 I think we're at 1 50, 1 40, 1 50, 1 60. So I'll try to go a little bit lower. Like one 20. You're gonna 16:34 Be lower. You're gonna be lowering population. But it's not in a, it is not to an adjustment because of the planter. 16:39 It's because you just think based on stuff that we've talked about here at extreme Ag. Yeah. We've generally been, we've generally been putting out 16:45 and spending too much money on seed and not seeing a yield benefit for doing so. Yeah, exactly. There's, there's some, uh, around here. 16:55 Um, the later we plant, we're gonna add just like a 10% per week more seeds that we're gonna put. 17:05 'cause we, uh, we will branch less, but we want more plans to do the same amount of nudes per acre. 17:14 But I feel that this 10% is a little too much. 5% might be enough. If you didn't, if you bought this planner 17:25 and didn't do all the stuff you're talking about, you'd be, it, it would not be an upgrade. 17:29 But by spending, you know, it sounds like a lot, but you're talking about not that much money, you know, 1200 bucks per row 17:36 and you got, you got, you gotta turn the wrenches, you gotta do the work. Yeah, yeah, yeah. I'll, I'm gonna do it myself 17:42 with that, our guys. Yeah. All right. So This year in, in, uh, not this year, but if you bought that plant new this year 17:55 in Canadian money, it's more than 400,000. So Yeah. And you're gonna be in this for about 60 or so? 18:03 Yeah, 60 or so us which in Canadian money is about 90, 80. Yeah. 80. 80. 18:11 I just did that conversion in my head, Sam. I got it, man. You know. All right. His name is Sam Tu. 18:16 Um, he's, he is awesome. We like talking about him. Uh, what do you get me out the door here. Um, you gonna come back and tell us how the results are? 18:23 Is there anything that scares you? You're like, you think, oh man, I'm gonna, the only thing the only concern I have 18:27 about this, uh, planter project is I'm, I'm not concerned at all. You're not concerned at all. 18:34 You're saving a bunch of money. You're gonna have an upgraded planter. And by the way, you know, it used 18:38 to be you couldn't get some of the parts. Have you got everything pretty well lined up? You're convinced? 18:41 Uh, since we're in January, the parts will be easier and it's easier this year to get the part. And it was last year. Yes, sir. 18:48 So it's not a, it's not a really an issue anymore. Not, Yeah. You're not concerned, you're not concerned about 18:54 availability of the, of the replacement parts No. And the upgrade parts. Yeah. 19:01 I would be more concerned in, in April than today. Yeah. In January. We're, We're recording this in the first week 19:08 of January, so we're still All right. All right. His name's Sam. I, I enjoyed talking to him and I'm sure you enjoyed this. 19:14 Also, if you've been, uh, contemplating upgrading your planter, it doesn't mean you have to go and buy the shiniest paint at 19:19 the dealership, uh, sitting there in the showroom. You can also just go ahead and, uh, you can go ahead and buy a, a 20-year-old unit like he did, 19:28 and then, uh, get your wrenches going and buy some new stuff. And also the, the, 19:33 the thing you talked about from the webinar, you even said the parallel alarms are paramount to this thing for you. 19:39 Yep. I know. It's, uh, that's a huge improvement. Really Huge improvement. Yeah. 19:44 Also because it controls the bounce and then you get consistency of seed placement. Yep. All right. Talk to you next time. 19:50 Thanks for being here, Sam. Uh, if you wanna learn more, go to the hundreds of these podcasts that we've produced 19:55 and hundreds of videos that guys like Sam have shot out there in the field. Also, the webinars. If you want to take your learning 20:00 to the next level, become an extreme Ag member, it's only $750 US dollars that is, uh, to become a member. You get access to premium content. 20:09 You also get special offers. You might be able to go to Commodity Classic for free. 'cause that's one of the things that 20:14 our business partner Natures did. You also then get the data, all the trials that these guys do at the end 20:20 of the year, they compile the data. You get that, that's worth a lot of money right there. So consider becoming extreme AG member. 20:25 Till next time, thanks for being here. He's Sam. My name's Damian, and this is Extreme Ag Cutting the Curve. That's a wrap for this episode of Cutting the Curve. 20:33 Make sure to check out Extreme for more great content to help you squeeze more profit out of your farming operation. 20:40 Cutting the curve is brought to you by cloth where machines aren't just made, they're made for more. Visit 20:48 and start cutting your curve with cutting edge equipment.