Planter fertility has its challenges and I would like to share a few of the challenges I have experienced. I am going to tell you my story…around 5 years ago I felt that our yields had plateaued. We had great yields for the area we lived in, but I felt there was so much being left on the table. I knew there had to be more ways to increase the yields than what we had already tried on the farm. Our first thought of adding fertility to the planter was a concern to us. We knew it would slow down the planting process dramatically. However, we took the risk in the hunt for a higher farm average and improved efficiency.
I began my quest by researching everything I could possibly find on the best possible solution to do this. After much research I made the decision to go with the Yetter 2X2 system on my John Deere 1790 16/31 Splitter planter. After that decision was made the “fun” began… I had to find a way to add the fertilizer storage tanks and pumps to put on the planter. I had some old 250-gallon saddle tanks lying around that I mounted on the planter tractor. I had a used PTO pump that I added to the tractor to pump the fertilizer to get me by for the first year. It worked fine but I knew there were things I could do to make this much better and more efficient.
The biggest challenge of all was plumbing the hoses on the planter and we needed to find ways to fill up the saddle tanks quickly and easily. We mounted a hose at the front of the tractor that filled both saddle tanks at the same time. The fertilizer tanks were mounted on the tractor, so the hoses had to connect from the saddle tanks all the way back to the planter. We plumbed it to the PTO pump then each row was fed by a hose that could not be pinched when the planter folded. The planter now had fertilizer hoses along with the vacuum hoses, air hoses, hydraulic lines…Holy hose nightmare!
Over the last 5 years, I have made countless changes to the 2X2 equipment and my formulas of fertility. We went from PTO pump to ground-driven pump. The ground-driven pump regulates the fertilizer application more precisely. We have also become experts at plumbing & routing the hoses, so they aren’t in the way of folding. We changed the location of the tanks multiple times over the years to find the perfect place that didn’t block vision as we were driving down the road & didn’t add to the issue of compaction. We finally decided to mount one tank on each wing of the planter and one on the front center. Doing it this way helps balance the weight of the planter to reduce compaction.
Many, many hours and lots of trials went into this process to see what the best plan for us and our farm was. I feel that if I had the opportunity to be exposed to a group of progressive farmers like the ones in XtremeAg at that time, this process could have been much easier and done in a shorter time frame. This would have saved me lots of time and money.
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