Automatic seed depth adjustment based on soil moisture has been developed by US planter equipment specialist Precision Planting for maize, soya and other precision-sown row crops.
SmartDepth comprises new control software for the company’s 20|20 in-cab monitor that takes soil moisture data collected by a sensor on the company’s SmartFirmer furrow bottom firming tool. It then operates electric actuators on each of the planter’s manual depth adjusters to seek the minimum depth at which the required moisture level is present.
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Currently, Precision Planting points out, growers aim for consistent planting depth to avoid germination delay caused by planting into dry soil, which can result in a yield deficit come harvest. But planting deeper than necessary also delays germination relative to planting at a shallower depth when sufficient moisture is available.
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With SmartDepth, the operator starts out by entering a soil moisture target on the 20|20 display and then minimum and maximum planting depth limits. Once these parameters have been confirmed, the planter will make automatic adjustments within those limits to operate at the shallowest depth at which the required moisture level is available. The new system is currently in the beta phase of development.
Company: Precision Planting
Type: Automatic planting depth control
Key feature: Adjusts planting depth for corn, soya and similar crops according to soil moisture availability