Testing Out a Planter on our SeedMaster Farm

by | Jan 3, 2023 | Promoted

Planters have grown in popularity in the United States, but you don’t see as many in Alberta. However, that didn’t stop our curiosity at Rousseau Creek Farms in Deadwood, Alta. We had heard we would be able to cut seeding rates by using a planter and get better crop emergence.

Last spring our local dealership brought a planter out to our farm for a demo. The first day didn’t go as planned, it was spent trying to get the settings on it right. There were missing parts and parts that weren’t right for it. The planter didn’t even make it into the field that day.

The next day we were ready to get rolling with it. We weren’t however able to distribute fertilizer with the seed. We also discovered the canola seeds were cracking as they were getting stuck on the plates used to meter out the seed.

It took three days to get 100 acres of canola seeded, with our SeedMaster seeders we usually plant around 400 acres per day, making the planter not financially feasible for us. About 10 acres into the demo both sales guys said to us that a planter wasn’t the right fit for our farm.

The planter was also too time consuming to set up. We run a 27,000-acre farm with myself, my wife Sharon and mother Janice working on it, along with a staff of hired hands. To run a planter, it would require us to train all our staff on how to use it.

There were wear parts you had to replace every 600 acres on the planter. There’s also cups that must be taken apart and cleaned three times a day. It wasn’t a drill that was going to get us anywhere near the acreage that our seeders do daily. We have a short amount of time to get our crop in the ground and we need to get as many acres seeded per day as we can.

Our soil conditions also aren’t the best fit for a planter. If the soil is wetter or cooler planters struggle to place the seed correctly, and where we farm in the Peace region we usually start planting in the spring in cooler and wetter conditions.

Once the crop started emerging, we didn’t find the planter gave it any advantages over our seeder planted rows — which was the whole reason for using a planter. You could have drawn a line in the field where the canola was seeded with the planter compared to our SeedMaster drill. It was seeded a day or so sooner, but it was probably a week behind in blooming.

We found it’s a more complicated process with a planter to get the exact same result that SeedMaster has had out for 10 years already. And to boot it’s an easier system to use with lower operating costs. So, for right now you won’t see a planter rolling through any of our fields.

Header photo — Trevor Paulovich checking one of his canola fields during the 2022 growing season. Photo: Trevor Paulovich