Potato Grower

December 2019

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soft sand and softer, wetter conditions. This proved to be very helpful in enabling the planter to make it through some tough conditions—demonstrating that the planter helped the tractor be more economical in using its power with lower fuel consumption. The option of a rear tool bar with shanks on was used to help rip the tracks out and the center between the rows. The farm was able to plant its acreage in a short planting window, and the operator made the comment that he would really have a hard time going back to a six-row planter. "I know at first it looks intimidating," he said, "but after operating this planter, it gets around very gracefully and covers acres quickly." Next stop was in Manitoba at the end of April. This would be Spudnik's first 12-row planter being pulled with a wheel tractor; track tractors pulled the planters in the Washington and Idaho trials. This proved that a wheel tractor, correctly ballasted and with the right rubber, could pull the 8312 planter. This planter also had depth wheels on the shoes to help with consistent seed depth, as Spudnik and the grower were trying to keep the depth fairly shallow and benefit from the heat and quicker emergence to get the plant off to a good start. The auto height sensing proved to work well after adjusting the gauge wheels and the ride height of the shoes, a practice that worked consistently across all five planters. The calibration and operation of this feature proved itself in the field. The productivity from the planter was a big reason the farm wanted to purchase and run the 12-row planter. It proved itself in the season as being as productive as two eight-row planters, which they had employed in previous years. Due to the cold mornings, the Manitoba grower was also able to start later in the day to get warmer soil temperature, as well as finish earlier in the evening, and still cover the acreage in a short planting window. The acreage they were able to cover on their best day in 2019 was around 150. However, weather and temperatures did not allow for a full day of planting, and they calculated WWW.POTATOGROWER.COM 17

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