The big drums rolling across Midwest soybean fields at planting time range in size from 20 to 85 ft. wide, says Gary Naeve, a farmer and president of Custom Made Products, Humboldt, IA, a large Midwest implement dealer. The hollow steel cylinders – no ballast – are generally 42 in. in diameter. A 62-ft. roller can cover about 600 acres/day, he says.

Naeve prefers models with independently suspended sections. On his own farm, Naeve rolls right ahead of the planter, or when the beans are 2-3 in. tall. Rolling right after planting can cause residue to blow if it’s dry and you get a strong wind soon afterward, he says.

The big rollers range in price from $17,000 for a 20-footer to $65,000 for the 85-ft. model, he says. Custom land-rolling rates range from $3/acre to $10/acre, averaging $6.55/ acre, according to Iowa State University’s 2010 Iowa Farm Custom Rate Survey.


January 2011