It's not every day engineers get to start with a blank computer screen and design a new piece of equipment from the ground up. The AGCO seeding team was tasked to begin with a "clean-sheet design" for a planter built on a global platform.
Farmers, dealers and media recently got the first peek of the company's new Momentum planter in Peoria, Illinois. It's another component to the company's Fendt distribution expansion strategy in North America that has already seen the introduction of the Fendt Ideal combine in 2018 and the Fendt 900 Gen6 Series tractors last year.
"We feel very strongly this is the most agronomically advanced planter in the industry, bar none," says Bob Crain, senior vice president and general manager, Americas.
FOCUS ON THE FRAME
To back up that statement, look no further than the AGCO exclusive SmartFrame. Larry Kuster, senior product specialist, seeding and tillage, says it consists of three independent intelligent sections that operate automatically to ensure the row units maintain the ideal seeding depth. A sensor-controlled hydraulic system automatically adjusts the height of each toolbar section while monitoring the angle of the row unit parallel arms. This keeps the arms level and the row units properly engaged with the soil as ground conditions and terrain change. That's especially essential when planting on terraces and uneven fields. The vertical contouring toolbar is outfitted with Precision Planting components and flexes up and down as much as 68 inches to follow the field contour.
Engineers also focused on minimizing compaction when designing the Momentum planter. In-line center tandem wheels are positioned ahead of the row units and follow behind the tractor tires as it pulls the planter through the field, limiting compaction. VF (very high flexion) tires carry 40% more load at the same pressure as a conventional radial. "Unlike the side-by-side duals that are found on center-fill planters, Momentum's tandem wheels eliminate pinch rows," points out Kuster. The front tandem tire is also smaller than the rear, he adds. That helps to distribute the weight 40/60 between the two tires and also improves planter maneuverability.
In addition, wheels are positioned at the end of each wing to run outside the last row unit. That puts the wing wheels in the same path on each pass through the field, reducing overall compaction without sacrificing row numbers or spacing.
TWO WEIGHT-MANAGEMENT MODES
An optional hydraulic weight-management system is also geared to minimize compaction. Called Load Logic, it allows the operator to choose between two modes: 1) load balance -- equalizes the weight across the planter or 2) controlled traffic -- transfers majority of the weight to the center section of the planter.
"Load Logic consists of smart spindles, weight transfer cylinders and the central tire inflation system," explains Rex Schertz, engineering manager, seeding and tillage. "The smart spindles sense how much weight is on each tire. The tire-inflation system constantly adjusts tire pressure in real time according to the manufacturer's recommendations, compensating for the fluctuating weight of the planter as seed and fertilizer area used or replenished. Meanwhile, the hydraulic cylinders are adjusting weight on each wing, depending on which mode you're in. If you're in controlled traffic, for example, the cylinders are pulling weight off the wings and concentrating the weight on the center, but still leaving sufficient weight on the wings for proper planter unit performance."
Orders for the Momentum planter for the 2021 planting season delivery will begin early summer from select Fendt dealers. Built in Beloit, Kansas, the planter is available in 16-, 24-, 32-, 36- and 48-row configurations with rows spacings of 15, 20, 22 and 30 inches. It's equipped with two 65-bushel central-fill hoppers and a 1,000-gallon liquid fertilizer tank.
The planter is backed by the Gold Star Customer Care Plan: a three-year warranty, complete annual inspection by the dealer and no deductible.
For more information, visit www.Fendt.com or a Fendt dealer.
Gregg Hillyer can be reached at Gregg.firstname.lastname@example.org
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