How Fast Does Your Planter Roll?

April 28, 2016 05:00 AM

It’s a classic case of “your mileage may vary” when it comes to planter speed. Many factors are at play that can push optimum planting speed up or down in an individual field. And even with newer high-speed planter technology, field-by-field speed variations can vary significantly, as Louisiana farmer Dustin Morris discovered in 2015.

“Planting soybeans in some of our heavier soils, I didn’t have enough tractor [John Deere 8285R] to run 10 mph,” Morris tells Farm Journal’s “In The Shop” columnist Dan Anderson. “With the IVT transmission, at 8 mph or 9 mph I was usually at max fuel flow. Horsepower can absolutely be an issue as planting speeds increase.”

Farm Journal Pulse polled farmers to find out what their average planter speed was this spring. More than 1,400 responded. The national average was reported as 4.95 mph.


Here is a breakdown of the percentages of farmers who fell into each speed category:

  • 3 mph or less – 3%
  • 4 mph – 27%
  • 5 mph – 57%
  • 6 mph – 9%
  • 7 mph or more – 4%


While the majority of farmers haven’t adopted high-speed planters as of 2016, as the Pulse poll reveals, signs of speedsters do exist.  

Want more information about the 2016 planting season? See what farmers are up to at Crop Comments and visit the corn, soybean, wheat and cotton planting maps, which are updated every Monday afternoon.

In the market for a used planter? There are nearly 3,500 listings at

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Spell Check

Sac, NE
4/29/2016 06:43 PM

  8.6 mph. Speed tubes are working well. Field checks confirm.

Yuma, CO
4/30/2016 10:10 PM

  The faster you plant the more the corn price goes up; thanks!!!

4/28/2016 12:02 PM

  A typical farmer only gets 40 chances to plant a good crop in his life. So why do you want to rush it and do a non perfect job? I run about 4.5 to 4.8 mph. Sometimes slower depending on field conditions.


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