The Roundup -

Planter Test Stand Days Feb. 22 & 23


Growers and Sidney Sugars personell watch the beet seed on this oiled belt to determine if spacing is correct.

Planting to stand is the key to producing a sugar beet crop that does not need thinning but allows for a maximum number of beets per acre. "The seed going in the ground is the foundation for the whole growing year," Sidney Sugars agriculturalist Vanessa Pooch said.

In cooperation with NDSU, Sidney Sugars hosts two days every spring when growers can bring in their planter units and have them tested to insure that the unit is in good working order. Each unit is a row on a planter. Most planters in this area are 8 or 12 row, with a few 24 row planters. Every year, 20 to 25 growers take advantage of this opportunity. Tri-County Implement has graciously provided space for the testing this past year, and will do so again on Feb 22 and 23 this year.

A precision unit monitors beet seed from a planter unit.

NDSU brings a belt with a little bit of oil on it. The seed drops from the unit on to the belt where watchers can determine if there is correct spacing. Vacuum pressure is adjusted to what each grower typically has with the tractor he is using, replicating conditions in the field as closely as possible. Issues usually found include worn out seals, a knocker wheel or once in a while a plate.

Precision units are also tested. The unit is tested by placing the box that holds the plate on the unit. The seed drop is watched by tiny sensors in the monitor, showing any skips or other irregularities. "This new technology in agriculture is precise to a T, showing what the seed spacing should be at any given speed," Pooch commented.

The planter test stands are scheduled for Feb 22 and 23, 2017 at Tri-County Implement. Post cards will be going out, but growers are encouraged to call Sidney Sugars at 433-3309 to schedule their appointment.


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