Planter Down Force Monitor and Control from Ag Leader

Melissa Sandfort

**UPDATED with audio and video from National Farm Machinery Show**

Insights WeeklyAg Leader Technology is excited to announce the INTEGRA™ display will soon feature planter down force monitor and control capability, allowing the display to monitor and adjust down force based on field and soil conditions. Planting seed at the optimum row unit down force is an important factor in good crop germination, and ultimately, yield.

The heart of the system is a hydraulic down force actuator (as compared to other pneumatic airbag systems), engineered by Dawn Equipment. The actuator is the fastest on the market, allowing the INTEGRA display to make quick row unit down force adjustments.

Ag Leader was giving growers a preview of the new system at the National Farm Machinery Show this week, where we spoke with Russ Morman about when it will be available, how it works, and the benefits for growers. “The adjustments we’re going to be able to make to our down pressure will be a lot quicker than the other systems on the market and this being a metal system rather than an air bag it won’t have the risk of puncturing,” said Russ.

Listen to Russ explain the new system here: Interview with Russ Morman

Watch Russ do a little video demo at NFMS here:

2012 National Farm Machinery Show Photo Album

So what does this mean to you, the grower? You can now make nearly instantaneous changes to the down force while airbags can take several seconds to make an adjustment. This equates to improved planting because seed will be in the ground at exactly the right place at the right time, since field conditions can vary even just several feet down the line. And seconds can really count.

The INTEGRA is also capable of advanced seed monitoring and controlling In-Furrow and Starter fertilizer applications, variable rate population control and other planting functions.

Some advantages of hydraulics:

1. Instantaneous response time allows the system to react to the constantly changing field conditions much faster than pneumatic systems.

2. The Ag Leader system will have very low hydraulic requirements (3 gallons/minute or less vs. hydraulic driven air compressors that can require 8 gallons/minute.)

3. Durable and rugged cast enclosure, so growers don’t have to worry about failures such as airbags that get punctured or wear out over time.

4. Two channels of control allows the system to tailor the down force on the rows at the center of the planter near all load bearing wheel tracks where more down force is needed due to greater soil compaction, as opposed to the wings of the planter.

5. Competitive systems average the needed amount of down force needed regardless of location of the rows on the planter.

Ag Leader is conducting final product evaluations this spring in real-world conditions. Pricing will be released June 1 and the product will be available for purchase in November.

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Ag Leader, Audio, Insights Weekly, National Farm Machinery Show, Planting, Video