The Useful Duck!

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Wednesday, December 29, 2010

The end of the year, grain drill prices, spending all my money.

I need to buy fertilizer.
I suppose it was a good thing I did not prebuy my fertilizer already as I just got a bill for about $800 worth of insurance payments. Ouch...
I think they told me Urea was $480 per ton. Pretty expensive to fertilize ground that you get 2.5 ton of hay off of and can't actually sell...
I found a brochure for a Great Plains 1510 HDF grain drill in my "office" and spent a few moments looking at it.
This is a 15ft three-point drill which has parallel bar style openers/row units like a corn planter but is a regular fluted feed grain drill. The row units have a flat face where you can bolt on a no-till opener. I have noticed that anywhere I go over the ground twice, like corners, or headlands, or any overlaps, the wheat comes up a lot faster. The happens even when I am not putting on fertilizer.
Some folks are disking the ground first but once or twice over the ground with a disk leaves it rough.
So... I was wondering if putting the 1510 with no-till coulters on the back of my CPH cart which has coulters on it would work the ground better. I could use a little wider no-till coulters in the back which would make a nicely worked little slot. (In my imagination)
So, I called the local dealer as I know they have one of these drills on their lot and it has been there for two years...
I now know why. 
Great Plains 1510HDF with 3" ribbed press wheels and no small seeds or fertilizer is around $33,000
The no-till counters are $247/row for a total of $6000
Small seeds would add $2500
The harrow, which is the secret to planting with a v-opener no-till drill (IMHO) adds $1400
You are paying over $40,000 for a three-point grain drill.
If my idea that working the seedbed just a little more would increase yield is true then the $40,000 would be worth it and I'd probably buy it as I need to do what ever I can to maintain my no-till planting business. Shoot, that is only 2000 acres or so worth of work.
However, I suspect there may be other factors involved and I can't really afford to experiment with $40,000+ dollars.
I think I will just rebuild my old drill instead. It only has 7,500 acres on it. I suppose it is time. (of course the counter was broken for a year...)


  1. What about using manure? Sound like it might pay as a fertilizer.

  2. Anon-The problem is getting the manure. The dry manure we had been getting from the neighbor takes something like 30 ton per acre to get enough N. I have been trying to get liquid but that was going to take ten ton per acre, if I could get it hauled. So, basically, logistics is the problem. I need a tanker truck and a pump and I'm all set!


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