Published on Thursday, January 26, 2017
Planting season is sneaking up on us and we will be in the field before we know it. While farmers across the Midwest are excited to get their planters fired up, low commodity prices leave many searching for ways to cut costs while still increasing yields.
Sometimes though, cutting costs or staying stagnant with your management practices could actually hurt your bottom line. A perfect example of this is traditional closing wheel systems. The industry standard closing wheel setup is two solid rubbers. It’s what comes on most planters – it’s what most farmers have always known. With the label of “industry standard,” many farmers find it difficult to even consider new options for closing wheels. And spending money on them? Forget about it. Especially with today’s market prices.
But what if we told you that you could spend money and STILL see a positive ROI? Or that by investing in alternative closing wheel systems you could get into the field earlier than ever before AND see more bushels of grain on your yield monitor?
With their closing wheel studies, Beck’s Practical Farm Research (PFR)® team continues to evaluate not only which closing wheels are right for area-specific farms, but which systems continue to provide increased yields and ROI’s over the industry standard two solid rubbers. The purpose of these studies is to determine what effect different closing wheel types have on plant emergence and yield.
This study was conducted across four sites in the Midwest and always targeted unfavorable planting conditions. In doing so, Beck’s PFR tests claims from the various manufactures that their closing wheels will allow farmers to hit fields earlier in the season, when conditions may be wet and no-till scenarios are less than desirable.
The results? Almost every closing wheel at each of the four sites provided a yield advantage over the control. In 2016, 11 different closing wheel systems were tested to evaluate their ability to crumble sidewall compaction, which is important with early planting and no-till scenarios. In almost all cases, the alternative closing wheel setups helped the fibrous roots push through the sidewall better than the solid rubber control. In addition, these plots saw improved seed-to-soil contact, superior stand establishment and ultimately higher yields with these more aggressive closing wheels over the control.
Beck’s PFR understands that soil types vary greatly across geographies. Knowing that, different closing wheel systems were tested at each of the four sites to determine which were the most successful for their soils. The winners at each site for 2016 include:
Indiana | 2 Copperhead Ag Furrow Cruisers | +6.6 Bu./A. advantage over the control
Kentucky | 2 SI Distributing Finger-Till Wheels yielded the same as 1 Martin Spade and 1 Solid | +5.8 Bu./A. advantage over the control
Ohio | 1 Dawn Curventine™ and 1 Solid | +2.7 Bu./A. advantage over the control
Iowa | 2 Dawn Curventine™ | +4.1 Bu./A. advantage over the control
So what’s the take home message? Alternative closing wheel setups consistently outperform two solid rubber closing wheels. Consult Beck’s PFR or your trusted advisor to determine which closing wheel might be right for your farm.
Curventine™ is a trademark of Dawn Equipment Company.
Author: Jim Schwartz
Categories: PFR, PFR Reports
Tags: Beck's Blog, Practical Farm Research, Agronomy, Beck's Agronomy, indiana agronomy, Iowa Agronomy, Ohio Agronomy, Kentucky Agronomy, PFR. PFR Report, Products, Jim Schwart