Kinze Manufacturing announced yesterday it has developed what it is calling the world’s-first electric multi-hybrid concept planter. The planter can switch seed hybrids on the go without your having to stop and refill the seed hoppers. The planter does this automatically based on your pre-programmed instructions, according to changing conditions in the field.

“For example, in parts of the field with high productivity soil, a “racehorse” seed variety can be utilized, whereas a “workhorse” seed variety can be used in the less productive areas,” the news release states. “In fields with poor drainage, a variety that can handle moisture can be planted in the lower areas, with a more productive variety used in field locations with a higher elevation.”

The enabling technology behind this concept planter is electric driven motors. Kinze first showcased its electric motors last year as an option on its new 4900 series planter to allow farmers to vary seeding rates on each row unit on the go. The new multi-hybrid planter takes the concept one step further by letting you vary not only the rate but also the type of seed planted, which is all done automatically.

Raven Industries, in conjunction with South Dakota State University, unveiled a similar concept multi-hybrid planter last summer. The planter uses the same type of electric motor drive technology to change the type of hybrid planted. With both planters, electric motors drive seed meters in place of hydraulic- or ground-driven meters.

Raven set up its system on a Monosem twin-row planter, using the front row units to hold one hybrid and the back set of row units to hold a different hybrid. In comparison, Kinze’s electric multi-hybrid concept planter incorporates two meters for every row. The meters feed a single seed tube, so the row unit gauge wheels, openers, and closing wheels are identical to a standard Kinze 4000 series row unit, the company says.

In a recent interview, Raven’s Ryan Molitor said the company is currently analyzing the harvest results from the trial to determine any yield differences between the concept planter and a traditional planter that plants the same hybrid across the field. Kinze says its planter has shown a solid yield advantage in its trials.

“The yield gains in our trials varied from 2 bushels per acre to more than 10 bushels per acre by utilizing multi-hybrid planting,” said Rhett Schildroth, senior product manager at Kinze Manufacturing. “And unlike other crop practices that seem to have good results one year and negative results the next, every trial we’ve conducted with multi-hybrid planting has resulted in a yield increase.”

Both planters are still considered in the concept stage. Kinze says it will showcase the technology in the field during spring 2014.

For more information on both planters visit Kinze.com or http://ravenprecision.com/

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