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Planting Technology Has Outpaced Weather Uncertainty

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The numbers tell an interesting story. While changes to the climate have decreased the number of workable days for planting, machinery and technology have revved up and made up for any loss in productivity. 

According to Deanna Kovar, VP, production and precision ag production systems at John Deere, a Model H tractor and Model 290 planter could plant 30 acres a day. And 70 years later, today’s 24-row planter can plant more than 45 acres per hour—that’s up to 540 acres planted in a 12-hour day. A single John Deere tractor and planter can precisely plant more than 700 corn seeds and 2,800 soybean seeds every second.

Nutrien Ag Solutions meteorologist Eric Snodgrass explains since 1948, the primary Corn Belt and Soybean Belt states have measured a 2" increase in precipitation between March and May. As for temperature changes in the past seven decades, they warmed about 1°.

“This pattern has reduced the number of workable planting days by five,” Snodgrass says. “But it’s also allowed us to get into fields earlier and lengthened the growing season by nine days.”


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