Comparing Planting Technologies for Their Impact on Seed Placement and Yield in Small GrainsDOWNLOAD
Traditionally, in the United States, small grains have been planted using a grain drill; but in recent years, interest has developed around the potential benefits of using precision planting (PP) technology. At the same time, broadcast incorporation (BI) of seed has gained some traction due to its capacity for faster planting. Given that planting methods impact stand establishment and, subsequently, yield, choosing the best planting method is important for maximizing profitability. This study was conducted to evaluate three planting methods (conventional drill, BI, and PP) for their effect on seed placement, grain yield, and grain quality in winter wheat (Triticum aestivum L.). Field trials were conducted at five Michigan farms using a variety of equipment based on availability and farmer interests during the 2020–2021 growing season. Multiple seeding rates for BI were also compared to determine whether increasing seeding rate could make up for increased variability associated with BI. In-season data collection included stand counts, seeding depth, and tiller counts, while grain yield, moisture, test weight, thousand kernel weight, deoxynivalenol, and protein content were measured at harvest. Results showed an 8–11% increase in yield with PP over BI that was significant at two out of three locations, while BI and drill had similar yields at all five locations. There was no difference in average seeding depth between any of the treatments, but depth variability was greatest for BI and lowest for PP. Broadcast incorporation had more tillers than conventional drill, significantly higher at two of five locations, which may have minimized any potential yield loss due to more variable depth. Moreover, there was no difference between seeding rates for BI. Overall, results indicated that BI can be used for faster planting without a yield penalty, while transitioning to PP may improve yield in small grains.