Faster planting speeds tested in new John Deere tech

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John Deere is testing tech on its ExactEmerge row units which it hopes will increase planting speeds to 16km/h – double the typical speeds of standard planting

John Deere's collaboration with the University of Sydney will test its ExactEmerge row units on a 100-hectare cotton field

The manufacturer is testing the speeds as part of a collaboration with the University of Sydney which will also include third-party validation.

Once fully tested, ExactEmerge hopes to provide farmers with a quick alternative while still maintaining factors critical for planting including accurate singulation, seed population, spacing, applied down force and uniform depth.

Able to integrate with both new and older planters, the ExactEmerge technology can be used on crops such as cotton, sorghum, sunflower and summer grain crops.

John Deere Australia precision agriculture manager, Benji Blevin, says the collaboration with the university’s Institute of Agriculture will highlight the technology’s performance and its suitability to Australian conditions.

"Growers are typically used to planting at 8km/h but what we want to show is, using ExactEmerge, they can achieve the same accuracy at double the speed," Blevin says.

"That ability to cover twice as many hectares as a traditional planter in the same amount of time has the potential to significantly shift the goal posts during the planting season.

"When you can plant at 16km/h with the confidence that you’re not compromising seed placement, you are effectively increasing the optimum planting window.

"That is important because your rate of loss accelerates greatly after the optimum window has passed, but with a high-speed planter, you can avoid missing that optimal planting window. This makes an enormous contribution to a farmer’s chance of achieving the highest crop yield possible."

Already, the technology has been demonstrated at the University of Sydney’s property in Llara in northwest NSW where the 1850 hectare farm is used to produce dryland wheat, canola, chickpeas, faba beans and dryland cotton alongside cattle.

Results of that demonstration, which tested the ExactEmerge system on cotton grown in a large-scale 100-hecatre area, are still being finalised - but University of Sydney director for northern agriculture, Guy Roth, says the expected results look promising.

"Growing crops is a combination of having good engineering, good agronomy and getting the timing right," Roth says.

"In this validation, John Deere provided the technology and we brought academic rigour to the agronomy and soil science, so it was the perfect opportunity to collaborate and conduct this large-scale validation study.

"Using ExactEmerge, we were able to get a very good, even plant stand across all the treatments and soil types which is very important when planting cotton."


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