From the Farm: Planting Process

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ILLINOIS (WCIA) — Soybean research fields look different than typical production fields because they have short strips of soybeans throughout the field.

That requires a special planting process, said Craig Grafton, technical research specialist at Bayer’ Stonington plant.

“About every 15 feet, there is a different variety across that planter, there are 2-row plots which is standard for us, but every 15 feet it will switch varieties,” said Grafton.

That used to be a laborious process by hand, but now is totally automated and electronically monitored.

“We obviously use GPS, so we’ve already got this field mapped and ready to go. So he downloads that into the tractor and the trials that we are planting are downloaded into the planter and it runs a script, just like a production farmer does with their scripts,” said Grafton. “We’re planting just like that, using GPS technology is a lot of it that drives the planter. We can get GPS all the way down to the seed if we need to.”

It looks like there is not a whole lot of room for a driver in there. “There’s several monitors in there, a lot like a normal production planter would have. We do have an additional computer in there that is running the planting program and the planter itself. That’s how it communicates with the planter and the software that is built for the planter,” Grafton said.

This has replaced people who are sitting on the back of a real simple planter putting in real tiny paper bags of seed.

“You hear a lot about high speed planters with production agriculture. This is our high speed planter. It is going about twice as fast since we do not have to ride and dump packets. It is doing it for us. So this is our version of a high speed planter.”

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