If Clare Kurz, farmer at Palmer, NE, isn’t building or modifying something, he’s probably thinking about it.

The ideas abound, small and big: from foam-filled planter tires that eliminate stalk-puncture problems as they roll over stalk stubble in his strip-tillage, to special wagons he built for hauling grain, to the computerized grain-handling system featured in a farm magazine article several years ago. It includes a 140-ft. elevator leg that he designed and built.

Even machinery he buys new isn’t immune to modification in his well-equipped farm shop. So, it’s not surprising that when he decided eight years ago to begin planting corn and soybeans in twin rows, he modified the factory-built planter he bought for planting 8-in. twin rows on 36-in. centers.

He thought about building his own planter. “But if it didn’t work out, I had an ‘orphan,’ ” he explains. So he bought a planter built by Monosem, which the company assured him he could sell if the twin-row concept didn’t pan out for him.

A modification soon followed. He replaced the originally equipped parallel linkage on the planter row units with 2-in. gas-filled racing shock absorbers enclosed within coil springs. They’re now available as an option
on the company’s planters for which Kurz now serves as a representative.

That modification takesmuch of the bounce out of planter row units, an important consideration when planting at speeds near 7 mph. The bounce or rebound resulting from the down pressure required to cut through crop residues can lead to uneven planting depth, Kurz says. The shocks with coil springs provide the necessary down pressure while dampening the bounce for uniform planting depth. Excessive row-unit bounce disturbs seed travel through planter drop tubes, upsetting seed spacing uniformity. Minimizing that agitation improves seed-spacing uniformity, Kurz points out.

Kurz has incorporated other interesting ideas into his twin-row production. But first a summary of his system and why he’s gone this route that achieves irrigated yield averages of 200-plus-bu./acre corn and 70-bu./acre soybeans.