2017 - Volume #41, Issue #4, Page #39[ Sample Stories From This Issue | List of All Stories In This Issue | Print this story | Read this issue]
“Polyplanter” Lays Plastic, Then Plants Into It
“The first one was a little crude,” says Ferris. “We’ve changed it a lot since then. They are being used to plant everything from peppers to cocoa beans.”
Ferris designed the planter around a circular planting head with up to 15 removable points and a variety of seed plates. With the 80-in. circumference, changing seed plates and removing one point from a 2-point head produces an 80-in. spacing, while a 15-point head places seed every 5 1/4-in. Changing the planting head takes about 15 min., while removing points takes even less.
One key to the Polyplanter’s success is the way it punches holes in the plastic. “It cuts more than tears, with the flap usually tucked under,” says Ferris. “You do need to keep the knives sharp so they go into the ground straight and wear less.”
Seed is then planted in the middle of the hole with the depth adjustment regulated by the packing wheel and down pressure regulated by a tension spring.
One of the secrets to precision planting is the seed unit used. Ferris went with the Monosem vacuum seed unit. It provides accurate singulation of seeds from pepper seed size to large seeded lima beans. It even singulates odd shaped seeds like super sweet corn.
The Polyplanter comes with a variety of rows and heads. One to 3 rows are most common, but even 6-row units can be ordered. Pricing varies accordingly. A single row, 2-point head is priced at $8,874.48. A 3-row with double units and a 15-point head sells for $51,187.91.
Ferris says the planters have proven to be economical for vegetable producers and market gardeners of all sizes. “I have a customer in Florida who has 3 or 4 of them and other guys with as few as 15 to 20 acres who have one,” says Ferris. “I had one guy 93 years old who bought one.”
The planters can be sold with or without a plastic layer. Ferris notes that producers using drip irrigation like to lay their drip lines and cover them with plastic before coming through with a planter. He notes that planting through plastic continues to grow in popularity.
“One of my customers, Otis Bray, is 80 years old and just wrote a book called “Plasticulture, Farming for Everybody”, which is available to be downloaded free,” says Ferris. “Plastic is being used for lots of crops from cucumbers to squash, sweet corn and green beans. Green beans are being double cropped in the same plastic after tomatoes and melons or whatever have been picked.”
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Ferris Farm, 83 Ferris Rd., New Wilmington, Penn. 16142 (ph 724 946-2973 or 724 965-1001; firstname.lastname@example.org; www.ferrisfarm.net).
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