Machinery Chatter
Russ Quinn DTN Staff Reporter

Thursday 01/30/14

Raven, Kinze Collaborate on Multi-Hybrid Planter Control

New technological advances in corn planters continue to be unveiled. Among the most interesting recent developments are multi-hybrid planters, which would allow farmers to switch between multiple hybrids across a field automatically when planting.

Raven introduced multi-hybrid technology last summer at farm shows. (Photo by Karen McMahon)

Raven Industries and Kinze Manufacturing, Inc. announced Tuesday (Jan. 28) they will be collaborating on the control system for the new multi-hybrid planters, which Kinze first announced it would begin to manufacture back in December.

Raven will be the technology provider for Kinze's new 4900 series multi-hybrid concept planters being tested with select North American farmers in the spring of 2014, according to a press release from Raven. This planter will be the first to offer farmers this capability as a factory-installed option. Raven showed prototypes of the planter at last summer's farm shows.

"We're very excited to see a quick adoption of this ground-breaking technology with one of the world's leading manufacturers, Kinze," said Matt Burkhart, vice-president and general manager for Raven's Applied Technology Division. "Growers will quickly realize the benefits of a multi-hybrid system and the ROI (return on investment) through the use of that technology."

In addition to the Raven/Kinze partnership, Beck's Hybrids will also be providing their agronomic knowledge to the collaboration, the release said. Beck's, the world's largest family-owned independent seed company, introduced their first multi-hybrid planter in 2012 and will be starting their third year of testing in 2014.

"Multi-hybrid technology allows corn planting to include precision hybrid placement," said Jason Webster, Central Illinois Practical Farm Research director for Beck's Hybrids. "Placing the correct corn hybrid is one of the most important decisions a grower can make each and every year. Our multi-hybrid testing at Beck's has shown significant yield gains and profitability by changing corn hybrid placement on the fly based upon varying degrees of yield potential throughout a field."

On Dec. 10, Kinze announced they were going to manufacture an electric multi-hybrid concept planter. Instead of farmers selecting an average seed variety for use across the entire field, seed hybrids can be selected and automatically planted to suit different field management zones, according to the news release.

Kinze said farmers can utilize a "racehorse" seed variety in areas of high productive soils and more of a "workhorse" variety in less productive areas. In fields with poor drainage, a variety which can handle moisture could be planted in these areas while a more productive variety could be used in field locations with higher elevation.

"The electric multi-hybrid planter will allow farmers to maximize yield in every part of their field, and not have to make compromises," said Rhett Schildroth, senior product manager at Kinze Manufacturing. "The yield gains in our trials varied from 2 bushels per acre to more than 10 bushels per acre by utilizing multi-hybrid planting."

According to Kinze, the multi-hybrid concept planter has new row units that incorporate two meters for every row. This meter feeds a single seed tube so the row unit gauge wheels, openers and closing wheels are identical to a standard Kinze 4000 series row unit.

"By eliminating the drive chain and clutch, we were able to orient the meters close together so that they feed a single seed tube," he said.

Posted at 8:32AM CST 01/30/14 by Russ Quinn
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