"Planting more hours
per day could result in a smaller planter size having lower costs,"
added Gary Schnitkey, U of I Extension farm management specialist
who conducted the study.
The study's objective
was to determine the planter size that had the lowest cost for a
given farm size. Farm sizes from 400 to 4,000 acres in 400-acre
increments were evaluated. Planter sizes range from six rows up to
36 rows. Planters were assumed to plant all acres with all acres
evenly split between corn and soybeans.
"Two categories of
costs were included in the analysis," Schnitkey explained. "These
were timeliness and power costs. Timeliness costs account for yield
losses from not planting near optimal times. Power costs include
depreciation, interest, repairs, housing, insurance, fuel and
lubrication, and labor. Power costs were calculated for the planter
and the tractor to pull the planter."
According to the
study, on the basis of power costs alone, the eight-row planter has
the lowest costs for a 400-acre farm. The 12-row planter has the
lowest costs for 800 and 1,200 acres; the 16-row planter is lowest
for farms of 1,600 to 2,000 acres; and a 24-row planter is most
efficient for a 2,400-acre farm. For 2,800-acre farms, the 32-row
planter has the lowest cost; and 36-row planters are best for farm
sizes from 3,200 to 4,000 acres.
[to top of second column in
timeliness is factored in, costs change," said Schnitkey. "For
example, a 36-row planter has the lowest cost for the 3,200 acres
and above sizes when timeliness costs are included. When only power
costs are included, a 16-row planter has lower costs for 3,200 acres
and above farm sizes.
"Timeliness costs are
important because least-cost planters differ when timeliness costs
The full report, part of the "Farm
Economics: Facts and Opinion" series, is available on the farmdoc
of Illinois news release]