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Cyclo planter biggest shortcoming?
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Posted 6/10/2021 19:37 (#9052214 - in reply to #9051751)
Subject: Increasing plant populations

When the 400 series cyclo came out most guys were in 36” or wider rows, ran a 4 row planter and plant populations were sub 20k so plant to plant spacing was manageable. The 400 was much nicer than messing with planter plates, had one hopper to fill and the row unit was on par with other competitors at the time. That all changed when the John Deere 7000 came out. The row unit was superior to any other row unit at the time which supported the move to reduced tillage, the meter was dead on accurate with most seed and the seed spacing was better than any other planter at the time. The only advantage the cyclo had was the central hopper but the other benefits of the 7000 outweighed that by a wide margin.

Farmers knew a better mouse trap when they saw it and lots of 7000 planters were pulled by other color tractors. The 500 cyclo did little to change that. At the same time corn populations were steadily moving higher and the hybrids of the 70’s and 80’s were much less tolerant of poor spacing than the hybrids are today. Plants placed next to each other often yielded nubbins in those days.

The 800 cyclo came out in the early 80’s with the much improved row unit that the current row unit has linage back to. The issues with in furrow spacing, especially as planters got wider and had to blow the seed further were not addressed. The other issue with the 800 is there were not RH & LH row units so with the one opener disc leading the planters would dog track, the more number of rows the more pronounced it was. For farmers already familiar with the John Deere planters there was no reason to switch to the 800. The 900 & 955 were further fine tuning of the 800 row unit and different frame options, again little reason for anyone to switch.

When 1200 finally came there was finally a reason for people to switch planters. Basically the dominance of the Deere planter design (White and Kinze had similar designs) was too great for the cyclo overcome. Simple planters for sure and improved hybrid tolerance to plant crowding makes the spacing issues less of a concern than they were in the past.

Edit for more perspective:
In the 70’s most people only owned one planter and it planted all the corn and soybeans on the farm. You were a real BTO if you ran two planters. The 7000 did a far superior job to the cyclo planting the expensive hybrid seed corn. Soybean plant breeding was light years behind corn and the majority of the beans were planted as bin run after a trip through the fanning mill. So the horribly inaccurate feed cups on the 7000 weren’t a big deal.

The Kinze brush meter (don’t know the year) and the Deere vac meter on the 7200 in 1985 addressed the bean population accuracy issues.

In the 80’s and 90’s as more emphasis was put on no-till and seed tech many farmers added a no-till drill to put in soybeans. As soybean seed has gotten progressively more expensive more people have replaced the drill with a narrow row planter to accurately meter the seed. The cyclo fits the bill for a second planter for beans OK.

Edited by UNL96 6/10/2021 21:38
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