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C2 delivers efficiencies through seed row spacing

The advantage of the C2 opener system is that a grower gets the benefit of wider row unit or trip spacing, while not losing the agronomic advantages of narrow seed row spacing.

For example, when selecting the paired row opener system, seeds are placed in a twin row at approximately 4 inches apart from each other (at each shank). When this paired row system is used on a 12-inch row unit spacing, the effective seed row spacing pattern becomes 4 inch – 8 inch – 4 inch – 8 inch across the machine. This provides excellent seedbed utilization and weed competition while still maintaining all of the other advantages concerning wide row spacing. (see below)* Reduced operating costs (purchase price, maintenance, horsepower requirements) are still possible while utilizing as much of your valuable land resources as possible. Additionally, the robust C2 row unit is unique in that it was designed specifically for the paired row opener from the start, with no compromises to durability or depth control in the process.

Selecting seed row spacing is critical when purchasing new or used farm equipment

Sheppard says there are several things affected by row spacing selection including:

1. Initial Purchase Price and Maintenance Costs
Trip or row unit spacing is one of the main determining cost factors in purchasing and operating an air drill. Generally, narrower row spacing will result in a higher initial purchase price and higher long-term maintenance. The initial purchase price and maintenance costs come from the larger number of openers needed for narrow row spacing as compared to wider rows. In turn, when the time comes to replace shanks and openers, there would be a larger maintenance cost associated with an air drill set up on narrow rows versus wide.

2. Horsepower Requirements and Fuel Consumption
Larger, higher horsepower tractors are also needed to pull air drills with narrow shank spacing as opposed to wide. For example, assume we use a round number of 5 horsepower required to pull a single double-shoot hoe opener. For a 60-foot wide air drill on 10-inch shank spacing it would require 360 horsepower (72 openers) versus only 300 horsepower (60 openers) for the same machine on 12-inch shank spacing. That is an additional 20% power required from a row spacing change of only 2 inches.

3. Seeding Speed and Efficiency
Another consideration when comparing narrow row spacing to wide would be the desired seeding speed of the operator. Soil throw with hoe style openers on narrow row spacing can lead to row “stepping” where the last shanks on the back row of a drill will throw soil onto the preceding rows, leading to inconsistent seeding depth across the machine. By switching to wider row spacing, an operator can alleviate this stepping issue and also travel at slightly increased seeding speeds. Increased seeding speeds lead to more acres seeded per hour or the ability to purchase a smaller drill on wider spacing and seed the same acres per day as the slower seeding drill on narrow row spacing.

4. Residue Flow
Residue flow or trash clearance is the ability of an air drill to pass through previous years’ crop and weed residues without plugging. This ability is enhanced by using wider shank spacing and effectively having fewer shanks to catch residue during seeding. Narrower shank spacing tends to require cutting crops shorter during harvest or significant residue management (harrowing, vertical tillage, etc.) after harvest, ahead of seeding operations.

5. Seedbed Utilization/Weed Competition
To date, wider row spacing has had a distinct advantage over narrow. In one critical area, narrower row spacing does shine and that is in seedbed utilization (SBU). Wider row spacing results in higher plant populations in each seed row causing a higher level of competition between plants whereas narrow row spacing decreases the population of plants in each row resulting in decreased competition between plants. Paired row openers reduce this competition by splitting seeds into two rows at the seed boot. With planted seeds more dispersed throughout the field, seeded plants are also more competitive against weeds as well. Another benefit of this higher dispersion is the ability to capture more of the available sunlight and soil available nutrients throughout the field.

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