Your Closing System Deserves an Upgrade

Have you ever wondered why there are over 30+ different planter closing wheels that attach to the same frame from the 70’s?

Rethink your existing closing system
In many ways, farming is much different now than it was in the 1970’s, over 40 years ago! There’s autosteer, treated seeds, yields have nearly doubled in some regions and we use our phones for farming apps. But when looking through old product brochures we noticed that quite a few things haven’t changed–including the closing systems.

Toss out the old wheels, toss out the frustration, and take a look at a redesigned closing system built for today’s planters and beyond.

How is FurrowForce different from other closing wheels? 
Rather than trying to close from the soil surface, FurrowForce has first stage notched wheels that are aggressively angled to fracture the sidewall of the furrow, moving soil horizontally. The depth of the first stage notched wheels is determined by the second stage stitch wheels. The two stages are rigidly linked to accomplish this depth control. The second stage sets depth but also carries weight. It firms the soil above the seed with adjustable airbag force. FurrowForce can be optimized for the best closing performance because depth, the width of the first stage notched wheels, and pressure are adjusted either manually or automatically.

I have a lot of rocks in my soil. Does FurrowForce have issues with rocks?
No! There is a rock guard that can be added to kick rocks aside.

Does FurrowForce work well in my soil type/conditions?
Yes! Tune the depth of the first stage, width of the first stage, and pressure to match your conditions. When set correctly for your conditions, FurrowForce works great.

Do you have to have all the electronic stuff to go with it or can you just buy the closing system? I like my planters to be simple and mechanical.
FurrowForce can be run with manual adjustment without the need for a 20|20 monitor. With manual adjustment, digging behind your planter is what will inform your adjustments.

What is the advantage of running FurrowForce as an automated closing system?
If you don’t want to have to continually guess at what pressure to set your closing, then FurrowForce along with a Gen3 20|20 monitor in your cab is the solution. Simply add load sensors and control modules and you have yourself an automated closing system.

In the cab, set the amount of firming force you want the stitch wheels to carry. When the load cells sense that there is more or less weight on the stitch wheels than you desired, the control module adjusts the pressure applied to that row instantly, to maintain your desired pressure. And you can be confident, because of the way that the two stages are linked together, that when you are carrying weight on the second stage stitch wheels, the first stage wheels are cutting into the depth you set them at.

How do I ensure FurrowForce is running correctly?
FurrowForce isn’t an install it and never check it again product. You will need to spend time finding the right depth and wheel spacing for your conditions. Once these things are set correctly, though, digging behind the planter will be totally different than you have seen before.

Why not just make a good wheel or attachment to go on the closing frame that has been around on planters for 40+ years?
In order to provide farmers with a system that can adapt to all environments and have ultimate control, new frames are needed. Any wheel that goes on the existing frame is trying to close from the soil surface down, and it took a completely new design to be able to close from the seed up.

I’ve heard people say “I can’t find the furrow.” Doesn’t that make digging behind the planter harder?
It’s true. We hear many users of FurrowForce say “I can’t find the furrow.” This isn’t surprising since FurrowForce adapts to your planting conditions to remove air pockets and firm soil to keep moisture and destroys the evidence of the planter having placed the seed in the ground. Digging behind the planter to check your seed will be a totally different experience, but in a good way! When there is no evidence of the furrow, this means that your plant’s roots will be able to grow freely through the soil profile without yield-robbing soil density changes to navigate through.

What issues do people have with FurrowForce? Has Precision Planting made any improvements?  
FurrowForce is not an "install it and never look back again" product.  Closing is best achieved when the notched wheel width, depth, and pressure are all adjusted correctly for the conditions. For instance, with the wheels set very wide in tacky conditions, total closure of the furrow would be improved by narrowing up the wheels. Also, the stagger of the first stage wheels and the setting of the rock guard is important to prevent catching rocks.
Brian scott article2

Why Retrofitting a Used Planter Was More Practical for Our Farm Than Buying New

How we still upgraded to the newest planter technology for half the cost of a new planter

Our farm bought a brand new 24 row, 3-bushel box planter in 2012. During the first few seasons of using our new planter, our farm was transitioning to no-till and implementing cover crops. We needed a way to make our planter more adaptable to varying conditions and crops since we grow corn, soybeans and various specialty crops. A few years later, in 2015, we had our first experience with Precision Planting products. 

Enter CleanSweep. No more screw adjust row cleaners refusing to stay adjusted. These floating row cleaners adjusted all at once from the cab which made moving from tillage to no-till and planting into cover crops a much simpler process. Add in DeltaForce and we quickly realized we should have been running the old air bags deflated when the 3-bushel boxes were full. Ever since we added those two products the applied downforce map has been my go-to on my 20|20 screen. I tend to leave it up all the time because it tells some interesting tales and spots problems quickly.

Fast forward to 2019. We decided it was time to try out electric seed meters and why not go to a central fill planter while we’re at it. We grow a few specialty crops such as waxy corn, popcorn and seed beans, which require frequent and thorough planter cleanouts. Pulling out two dozen 3-bushel boxes several times a year to get to the seed plates was getting old. We knew we could gain a good amount of springtime efficiency with open access to the seed plates while adding the convenience of central fill.

We priced new planters from our local OEM equipment dealer and a custom build on a new toolbar from a Precision Planting dealer. Roughly $350,000 for either option wasn’t a pill we were quite ready to swallow. I started shopping around for used planters that fit our specifications and what we ended up with was a planter three years older than the one we already owned.

I learned about Schlipf Precision Ag while searching for used planters. Rich Schlipf is a Precision Planting Premier Dealer who keeps an inventory of planters on hand to upgrade for customers. He had a 2009 planter, the same model as ours but with central fill. We liked CleanSweep and DeltaForce so obviously those were going on our “new” planter, too. We wanted vSet and vDrive as well, so they were added to the list. When the cost estimate came in, we were pleasantly surprised. 

The 2009 retrofit with all the Precision Planting products we wanted, an upgrade to the Gen 3 20|20 monitor, every wear part rebuilt, and a few other odds and ends, totaled just under $180,000. Quite a savings over the new builds! And we were still getting all the same technology we would have chosen for a brand-new planter. 

But there was one more thing that made the decision very easy. Since our 2012 planter was equipped with some Precision Planting parts I don’t think our local equipment dealer really knew how to price it on trade. Well, Schlipf offered to trade with us, too. The price they offered for our 2012 was $24,000 higher than we were offered elsewhere. Deal sealed at that point! We were getting a great planter with the latest technology for about half the cost of new.

We just finished our fifth season planting with the “new to us” planter. Filling the bulk central fill tanks has made life easier. We could clean out the rows and meters without taking any boxes off the row units. With our old planter we had small and large corn plates, soybean plates and popcorn plates. Now we just have a corn plate and a bean plate from Precision Planting. 

On our previous planter, I would go through all our corn and popcorn seed tags and match the seed sizes to a vacuum chart in the manual and make myself a spreadsheet to carry along in the tractor to adjust accordingly. Now, the same vacuum setting works for all our crops and seed sizes. The vSet and vDrive have simplified all of those processes greatly. 

Now I like to say I have 24 individual planters rather than one 24 row planter. Every row can do its own thing, if necessary, when it comes to seeding and downforce. vDrive has made our section control perfectly accurate by reducing overlap. Before we could only run two rates across the planter, so if 12 rows were splitting a prescription zone the planter would have to pick one zone or the other as the population. Variable rate prescriptions now get planted as written because every row can be a different rate. That old hydraulic drive was slow to change too, but the vDrives change very quickly.

The final proof that our planter upgrades were worth it comes from our seed dealer of over 25 years. He’s walked our fields for a long time checking up on his product. From the first season with our Precision Planting built planter, he said our stands were so much more even and uniform than they ever were before.

Retrofitting an older planter bar, rather than buying a brand-new planter, has been the most practical and economic decision for our farm. We are more than pleased with the job it has done and the customization that we could add to match our farm’s needs. I highly encourage other farmers to explore the idea of adding new products to your existing planter to increase your farming potential.  
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View Your Seeder Performance Like Never Before

The 20|20 display offers more visibility than you’ve ever seen on your seeder before.

In-cab visibility to the performance of your air seeder has always been a challenge. High application rates, very small product sizes, and product blending all combine to make monitoring very difficult, especially with current blockage sensor technology.

Your 20|20 paired with Clarity's blockage and flow monitoring system displays and maps flow variability and product blockage metrics in real time so you can diagnose and fix blockage issues before they happen. Learn more about each metric below:
  • Product Magnitude - Magnitude is a relative rate metric showing the amount of product flowing through the sensors, giving you row-by-row comparison and the ability to quickly identify inconsistencies.
  • Product Deviation - Deviation displays how each row compares to the average magnitude being applied. This metric shows the percentage that a row is applying above or below the average. You will be able to further diagnose performance issues using this metric.
  • Product Uniformity - Uniformity represents the percentage difference of the row's magnitude versus the seeder’s average magnitude. This metric is an absolute value of product deviation.

All of these metrics are mapped on the 20|20 monitor in addition to showing their numerical value.

With 20|20 on your air seeder, you unlock this new visibility to application performance in addition to adding the capability to monitor and control downforce, control application rates, and section swath control.