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Ontario Grain Farmer Magazine is the flagship publication of Grain Farmers of Ontario and a source of information for our province’s grain farmers. 

High speed planting


IT MIGHT BE cliché, but the old saying ‘time is money’ still applies in agriculture.



“Timing is everything,” says Scott Johnston, a grain farmer and beef feed lot operator north of Brussels, Ontario. “We didn’t have much of a window to get the corn crop in this spring and it seems like the window is getting shorter every year. When it’s time to go, you have to go and get the job done.”

That sense of urgency, coupled with an older planter in need of replacing, is what drew Johnston to the Tempo by Vaderstad. “I saw it in the yard, asked ‘what is it’, and bought it,” he says.

The performance of the planter matches the quickness of Johnston’s decision. Designed for high speed precision planting, the Tempo operates at 10.5 miles per hour with consistently low rates of skips
and doubles.

“Everybody seems to want to get their planting done quicker and with more precision,” says Jeff McGavin of McGavin Farm Equipment in Walton, Ontario. “We had people asking for something like this, and, generally speaking, if customers ask we try to help them out.”

McGavin’s is one of two dealerships currently selling the Tempo in Ontario. It can also be purchased through WJ Heaslip Ltd. in Hagersville.

“To be honest, I was a doubter at one point,” McGavin adds, “but when you see it, you believe it. It’s just as precise as they say it is.”

Farmers attending Canada’s Outdoor Farm Show in Woodstock this September were able to see the planter in action for themselves with a demonstration that tested the claims of the manufacturer. At 14 miles per hour it had a 98 per cent accuracy rate and at 12 miles per hour, it was 99.8 per cent accurate. Once the planter completed a pass in the field, farmers were able to dig up the rows and examine the spacing and verify the singulation.

Johnston spoke with some of the farmers at the show. “I said, you just go, you just plant. I planted as much corn with an eight row in a day as a twelve row can in a day. The spacing is dead on no matter how fast or how slow you go.”

Available in six-row and eight-row models, the Tempo’s positive pressure system uses airflow to maintain control of the seed as it moves down the seed tube. Each seed meter is driven by a small electric motor installed on each of the row units of the planter. Power for the motors comes from an integrated hydraulic fan and alternator.

“On the eight-row planter you can have four planting one variety at a certain rate and four on another, if you wanted to,” explains McGavin. “And you can operate the whole thing with an iPad.”

The E-Control wireless control system provides remote set-up and calibration, as well as real-time monitoring during planting.

Various other components built into the Tempo design also contribute to its accuracy at high speeds. The fertilizer coulter prevents it from throwing soil. Row cleaners allow the planter to work in no-till fields. And the pulling action of the trailing gauge wheels result in smoother operation, reducing vibration.

“Custom guys that have to get the crops in quick and move on to the next job while the ground is ready are customers we would target this planter to,” says McGavin, while noting that smaller farm operators with irregularly shaped fields would benefit from the size and speed of the planter as well.

The compact size of the planter is due to the manufacturer’s European origins. The width of the machine (9′ 10″ during transport) is designed for narrow roads – a benefit for those moving from field to field here in Ontario as well.

“It’s a very heavy planter though,” cautions Johnston, “you need to have a big tractor.”

However, Johnston gives the planter top marks for its basic and simple design. “It’s very accessible to change parts,” he notes. “And it’s maintenance free in a lot of ways with no grease fittings.” 

Vaderstad is looking into developing a 16- row planter for the North American market and McGavin says the Swedish manufacturer continues to research the needs of farmers through feedback from their Canadian dealers. In 2013, Vaderstad purchased Seed Hawk, a manufacturer in Western Canada, for the production of equipment for the North American market. •


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