Kinze Manufacturing, Inc. has announced the first electric multi-hybrid concept planter. The seed hybrid being used automatically changes as the planter moves across the field to fit field management zones.
"The yield gains in our trials varied from 2 bu. per acre to more than 10 bu. per acre by utilizing multi-hybrid planting," says Rhett Schildroth, senior product manager, Kinze. "And unlike other crop practices that seem to have good results one year and negative results the next, every trial we’ve conducted with multi-hybrid planting has resulted in a yield increase."
(Related: How Kinze Concept Planter Differs from Twin-Row Systems for Two Hybrids)
Each row unit on the concept planter incorporates two meters, which feed a single seed tube. Row-unit gauge wheels, openers and closing wheels are identical to those on a standard Kinze 4000 Series row unit, which eliminates the need for drive chains and clutches.
"We were able to orient the meters close together so that they feed a single seed tube," Schildroth says. "It is a very elegant way to add the multi-hybrid planting capability."
During spring 2014, Kinze will partner with Midwestern farmers to showcase the technology in the field using multiple concept planters.
In a Nov. 22 blog post, Kinze described its ongoing research with Beck's Hybrids regarding variable hybrid planting. For the seed company's 2013 field trials, Kinze engineers used a Kinze 3600 twin-row planter and converted half of the row units to plant one hybrid, half for the second. The manufacturer also used Ag Leader components.
"We added custom electronics to turn the row units on and off automatically as the farmer goes through the field," the blog notes. "The electronics proved to be the biggest hurdle, as everything had to be customized for variable hybrid planting."
The blog post says Beck's will publish the results of its field trials later this year.
In June, Raven Industries introduced technology that can plant two hybrids from the same machine. To test the system, a Monosem twin-row planter was used.