Dustin Blunier, marketing communications manager for Precision Planting, heard one too many stories of farmers investing high hopes and a hundred thousand dollars in a new corn planter, only to find it performed worse than their old one.
“Guys would say, ‘If there’s one new thing I am going to buy for my operation when I’m farming, it’s a planter,’” Blunier recounts. “So they go and spend anywhere from fifty- to a hundred-and-fifty-thousand dollars and find out later that their first-year stands are worse than the last two or three years when they were running a 20- or 25-year-old planter.”
He says the most common reason for the lag in performance is that buyers fail to get the planter outfitted or configured in a way that fits their farming conditions, unlike their old planter that they had fine-tuned over the years.
“Buying a planter is a very important decision, and it takes some time,” he says. “Really, it takes customization.”
In an attempt to prevent one more case of buyer’s remorse, the group at Precision Planting devised a purchase guide that outlines all the factors farmers need to consider before buying their next planter. Blunier says the buying process has gotten more complex over the years due to advances in equipment and an ever-increasing number of options designed to perfect the planting of corn. These include variable-rate seeding, swath control, bulk seed fill, automatic down-pressure control, narrow rows, twin rows, air-metering systems and planter monitors.
“You can’t go to your implement dealer and say, ‘Give me a corn planter’ with the underlying assumption that there is one planter that works for everyone,” he explains. “That just is not the scenario. You have to look at all the different options and how they are going to work on your operation.”
Because Precision Planting deals only in planter attachments, the company strives to be brand neutral when it comes to the planter itself. Blunier says there are strengths and weaknesses to every planter out there, so the key to buying is to identify them and find the system that will best address your biggest needs.
“There’s a lot of options to consider, and you need to take the approach of which ones fit my operation,” he says. “Your dealership is going to have options. Your Precision Planting dealer is going to have options. And it is important that all those fit together so you can make the most of each one.”
Here are the 10 factors Blunier says to consider.