The new SmartDepth technology, now available through Precision Planting dealers, offers farmers increased precision for seed depth placement. SmartDepth uses a proprietary calibration process to ensure that every row unit is planting at the same depth, removing row-to-
row variability. SmartDepth also allows a farmer to save time when changing depth settings on the planter, and to adjust depth more often, in tenth-of-an-inch increments, by simply pushing a button on their Precision Planting 20|20 in-cab display.

Research conducted by Precision Planting reveals that row unit variations can be half an inch or more across planters, based on block checks.

“For shallow-seeded crops like cotton or sugarbeets, that depth variation can be the difference between the seed producing a plant or not,” says Bryce Baker, marketing manager for Precision Planting. “In crops like corn, we have seen rows planted too shallow take a few days to two weeks longer to emerge. Digging up a few seeds per field doesn’t offer a complete picture of whether a particular depth setting will be best.”

SmartDepth can be paired with Precision Planting’s SmartFirmer, a seed firmer sensor that measures how much moisture is available for a seed to uptake. “Pairing SmartDepth with SmartFirmer allows an operator to see if their current planting depth has sufficient moisture for germination, and then make depth adjustments from the 20|20 in the tractor cab,” Baker says. 

Both technologies are now available to farmers through Precision Planting premier dealers and require a Precision Planting 20|20 monitor and integration to operate across any planter equipment. The SmartDepth technology is available to farmers on a limited basis for the 2021 planting season.