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Jeff_a_Caldwell
Senior Contributor

Precision savings -- $8 or $9/acre

That's the verdict from some recent ISU research on lightbars, autosteer, row shutoffs and similar technology for tillage and planting. A year-long study last year found savings just shy of $8/acre from more precise planting and $1 back from more precision with tillage. 

 

Do you see this kind of financial benefit from these tools on your farm?

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5 Replies
Shaggy98
Senior Advisor

Re: Precision savings -- $8 or $9/acre

To be honest, I have never tried to calculate savings on a per acre basis.  We don't have a lot of acres at this time, so I have never been able to justify the additional cost of individual row shut-offs on the planter.  However, we are using auto-steer on the tractors as well as the sprayer and I feel my greatest return is less operator fatigue.  Before I was using the GPS equipment, I thought the reduced fatigue was only a sales pitch.  It didn't take very many acres to discover the pitch they were throwing at me was 100% true.  I've been using it only for 1 year now, but I can't imagine farming without it now.  It's kind of like cell phones, we don't realize how much they benefit us, but try working without them for only a single day during planting or harvest.

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weedman
Veteran Contributor

Re: Precision savings -- $8 or $9/acre

we plant about 1600 acers of corn with a 16 row planter. I estimate we raise and lower our planter every 500 ft. Hill country,contours many short rows, but still just guessing on raises and lowers. If every time we raise and lower the planter each row unit saves 5 seeds because of accyrate on and off I figure seed savings of $.50 on each end of field. $240 bag /80000=.003x5=.015x16=.24x2=$.48. If we have 1600 acresx43560 sq ft=69,696,000 sq ft/20000sq ft=3485raises and lowers.

3485x$.24=$836.00 savings just on seed Approx 50 cents / acre

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smokeyjay
Advisor

Re: Precision savings -- $8 or $9/acre

Jeff, I don't have auto steer at this time, however, I will be purchasing a unit in the very near future.  For me, operator fatigue and the ability to run in less ideal conditions, like darkness and dusty conditions are the primary motivators for me.  I think savings in the overlap, point row shutoff area are simply icing on the cake, as we take steps to minimize these things manually.  Which brings me back to the fatigue issue as the main benefit.

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dennymal
Veteran Contributor

Re: Precision savings -- $8 or $9/acre

Jeff;

   I think that 8-9 dollar savings is dead on. I think depending how many point rows, smaller fields a person has it could even be higher. Biggest cost savings is seed, however with more people adding a herbicide with their round-up to control resistant weeds that savings will climb also. It definately cuts down on fatique and allows a person to plant after dark. Now heres a savings Iowa State didn't mention. 4 years ago on a square 80, 160 rod row lenghth, I measured the distance between the skip rows. I averaged about 32-33 inches. I set the planter width about 5 inches shorter in corn and six inches shorter in beans. With a 16r30 planter I feel I gain 1 row every 21/2 rounds or about 1 row every 11.3 acres. On a 80 thats adding 1 acre additional corn. With todays corn hybrids being most of the fixed ear type I feel the shorter skip rows have not hurt me yield wise.

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Threadkiller
Frequent Contributor

Re: Precision savings -- $8 or $9/acre

Using autosteer has greatly reduced my row length.  I used to get longer rows by driving like a drunken sailor.....an earlier poster mentioned he can squeeze out more rows by narrowing up his skip row, but we are losing row length!  so that is one negative effect of using autosteer.  🙂

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