Why Use Down Force?
Every farmer understands when seed is planted it must be placed at a uniform depth, with good seed-to-soil contact, and a consistent seed spacing. In addition, each crop has an optimum depth that promotes the best germination, growth, and yields. For corn this is typically 1.5" to 2" deep, and for soybeans it is 1" to 1.5". To maintain this depth consistently across a field that varies due to compaction, soil type, and residue, a down force system must be properly selected and managed.
Before selecting a down force system, it must be emphasized that more is not necessarily better. While having enough downforce to maintain a consistent planting depth is very important to increase yields, having too much down force will promote row compaction and decrease yields. Field variability, farming practices, and moisture levels all impact how much pressure should be used in a particular area of a field.
There are three ways to apply down force with two different ways of controlling them, which includes springs, pneumatic air bags, and hydraulic cylinders. The first two, springs and pneumatic, are manually controlled and are adjusted based on field experience and periodic seed depth checks. These methods can work well if the field is fairly consistent, but if they are set and forgotten, it can result in shallow seed depths or row compaction.
However, since planting conditions can vary from sandy loam and open fields, to packed clay and headlands — an active hydraulic down force system is a valuable option to consider having on a planter. The new Kinze True Depth™ hydraulic down force system provides row-by-row automatic down force for consistent seed depth and optimal crop emergence without causing compaction. Equipped with quick reacting hydraulics and an automatic control system, True Depth™ eliminates manual adjustment and frees you to focus on getting seed in the ground.
To learn about the advantages of the True Depth™ down force system, watch the following testimonies from farmers Lane Aldrich and James Yenter.