“I farm mostly dryland cotton in sandy country. We run three, 16-row planters and have to get consistent seed placement and be super efficient crossing big acres. To accomplish this, I went all in with the Precision Planting system in 2017. The old planters have chains, sprockets and bearings that require a lot of maintenance.
“Precision Planting technology is a simple, computerized system. Planter maintenance is reduced, and our startup time is about 60 percent faster. All of the components are compatible and very user-friendly.
“The 20|20 monitor mounts in the cab and shows data points, including planter speed, seed singulation, downforce, furrow moisture and soil temperature to name a few. It also has a feature called Good Ride, which means the planter boxes are not bouncing, and you are getting accurate seed placement. We try to keep our Good Ride in the 97 to 99 percentage range.
“Another Precision Planting component we can’t live without is DeltaForce. It’s a hydraulic cylinder that mounts to the front of the planter box and controls downforce. DeltaForce varies the pressure applied to the row unit, so the pressure on the depth gauge wheels is constant. When the planter box is full of seed, this component lifts it up a little bit.
“As the box starts getting empty, it applies more downward force so the seed is planted at a consistent depth across the field. If you plant cotton too deep, it uses all its energy getting to the surface and won’t ever be a viable plant. If you plant it too shallow, the seed will dry out and may not germinate in this hot, windy West Texas environment.
“DeltaForce keeps the planter boxes from bouncing so we can increase our speed. In the past, we planted at 5 mph. Now we typically plant about 7 mph. Because this component reacts so quickly, we are getting seed up in our center pivot tracks. In the past, the planter just bounced over them.
“The Precision Planting technology streamlined our planting and increased yield at harvest because we have more uniform plants. Adding these components to your planter is like turning a pickup truck into a Ferrari. It’s pretty neat.”