- A properly closed furrow has no air pockets, a mellow path for the plant to emerge, and retains soil moisture
- Most closing systems are designed to address one of these three keys, not all of them
- FurrowForce is an automated two-stage closing system with integrated sensing
What Environment Should The Seed Be In?
What is the ideal environment that seeds should be left in when planter is finished with its work? The environment should be one where there is no evidence that the planter ever created a furrow, placed seed, and closed the furrow. This environment should have no air pockets, should be mellow so that as the seed germinates it can emerge, while at the same time being firm enough that moisture does not quickly leave the soil. It's a delicate balance that needs to be achieved, and there is significant yield opportunity in getting it right. Getting it right means that the variability in the field has been accounted for and adjusted for, and that germination of each seed has happened at the same time. When seeds germinate and emerge at inconsistent times, yield loss occurs.
The Struggle With Getting The Environment Right
Since getting the seed environment right is so important to the profitability of your farming operation, what is preventing us from getting it right? Most of the time it comes down to knowledge. When planting, do you know how much weight is on the gauge wheels and if they are maintaining ground contact without compacting? Do you know that the closing system is ensuring the soil is placed optimally around each seed? The answer is many times we don't. Specifically, with closing systems, there are so many options for wheels, staggering, and spring pressure setting; which is best? And the bigger question is: how do I know? Digging a few seeds per field gives you some level of insight, but is a fraction of a percent of the total seeds planted. There has been no way to sense that the closing system is doing the right job. But now, you don't have to plant with your fingers crossed.
FurrowForce Gives You Visibility
FurrowForce is an automated two stage closing system with integrated sensing. FurrowForce works fundamentally different than other closing systems. The first stage notched wheels work to close the seed furrow from the bottom up, eliminating air pockets. The second stage stitch wheels carry weight on them to firm the soil over the seed to retain moisture. But the real magic of this system is the load cell that measures weight on the stitch wheels. From the 20|20 in the cab, the operator will set a certain amount of weight that they want to carry on the stitch wheels. When the load cell measures more or less weight on the stitch wheels than has been set on the 20|20, the FurrowForce system automatically adjusts the force applied to the unit row by row, with sub second response. When the stitch wheels are carrying weight on them, you can be confident that the first stage notched wheels are cutting into the soil at the correct depth, fully closing the trench. As you are planting in the cab, you have confidence that your closing system is doing the job you want, instead of having your fingers crossed and hoping that the furrow is properly closed.
Manage Soil Density
Many growers think about proper closing as having the seed covered. But putting soil over the seed is only part of the equation. Managing soil density to maintain moisture is a key component of creating the best environment for the seed. In conventional tillage and easy to close environments, growers look behind the planter and when they don't see an open trench, they are satisfied. But in this environment, tillage was done ahead of the planter which introduces air into the soil and dries it. If the soil density over the seed is loose, the soil continues to dry out and moisture that is needed for quick germination is quickly lost. FurrowForce solves this problem by maintaining a set amount of weight on the stitch wheels to firm the soil over the seed, remove air out of the soil, and retain moisture for a longer period of time to give each seed the chance to germinate consistently. Watch this video to see the difference in moisture retention in loose soil versus firmed soil.
Confidence In The Cab
FurrowForce is controlled by the Precision Planting 20|20 monitor. The 20|20 gives the operator in the cab a complete picture of planting performance, now including closing. The weight that is being carried on the second stage stitch wheels is adjusted from the 20|20. There are also closing performance metrics shown on the 20|20, such as closing margin, good closing percent, and closing uniformity. If you are running in very dry conditions, you can increase the weight carried on the stitch wheels with just a few button presses in the cab. Never before have you had the confidence to know how your closing system is performing throughout the entire field
Real User Experience
Trent ran FurrowForce in it's first year, and was thrilled with the difference it made in managing the seed environment in his various field conditions.
Pair FurrowForce With DeltaForce For The Best Soil Environment
In order to have the ideal system for creating the perfect seed environment, pair FurrowForce with DeltaForce. FurrowForce is sensing the weight carried on the stitch wheels and adjusting the applied force on the closing system to keep the stitch wheel weight consistent. DeltaForce works in a similar way to control row unit downforce. DeltaForce uses a load cell to measure the weight carried on the depth gauge wheels and adjusts the applied force on the row unit to ensure that the weight on the gauge wheels is consistent, automatically adjusting row by row in less than a second. The pairing of DeltaForce with FurrowForce provides the seed the ideal environment to germinate and emerge, as well as allowing roots to grow without obstruction to set maximum yield.