AKRS test plots help producers with efficiency

Corn stalks growing.

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In a corn field just outside the AKRS dealership in Albion, a couple of trials are being conducted to take a closer look at planter technology.

We caught up with Kyle Afrank who is the precision ag director with AKRS. “What we try to do throughout the years is understand what technology makes sense for our growers,” Afrank said. “Some of that is figuring out what works, and what doesn’t in our fields. In this trial, we are comparing our John Deere ExactEmerge and John Deere MaxEmerge 5e Electric Planter. With our ExactEmerge, it’s a planter that really has no bounds on speed. We talk to a lot of growers, and they tell us they don’t need to go 10 miles per hour. But the things we are seeing is, if you are going 5 miles an hour, 8 miles an hour, or 10 miles an hour, that planter performs when we ask it to perform. So, we alternated passes in this field between the MaxEmerge and the ExactEmerge. When we look at yields at the end of the year, we’ll have a good representation. Also with that trial, we did passes at 5 miles and hour and 8 miles an hour with the ExactEmerge. Here we have pretty hilly terrain, so it’s hard to go fast. But some of the data we’ll look at is productivity differences, fuel consumption, and we’ll look at the acres-per-hour gain. and how we can look at that through the growing season, and how we can get done planting sooner, which cuts down on yield drag.”

Yet another trial being conducted in the field at Albion compares two different closing wheels on the ExactEmerge planter. “For model year 23, we have the option for a Yetter Twister Closing Wheel that’s factory installed,” Afrank said. “We put the Yetter Twister on half of the planter, and we put the regular rubber wheel planter we’ve had for several years on the other half. We are comparing both of those. We have some trail cameras set up for a time-lapse, so on these cameras we’ll examine what the emergence looks like.”

The benefit of all this research, is to cut down the planting window for the grower. “Over the years, before we had technology that allowed us to go fast, the only way we could plant faster was with larger planters,” Afrank said. “A lot of our terrain actually limits how fast we can pull the planter. Much of what we are doing with our trials is how do we prove we can go faster, but maintain the same yield or actually have better yield. A lot of it is proving the technology, making sure it does everything we want it to, and showing the growers across Nebraska what it actually does.”