In today's integral planter market there are a multitude of different seeding applications that require unique planter configurations. To address this need, John Deere and Orthman Manufacturing, announce that they will begin co-producing custom-built planter configurations for customers. This agreement benefits cotton and corn producers in the Mississippi Delta and in West Texas where they farm on 36, 38, or 40-inch row spacing.

The two companies have had a supplier agreement for stack-fold toolbars for 17 years. According to Rob Rippchen, division manager, John Deere Seeding Group, the new, expanded agreement will be beneficial and seamless to customers.

"Today, customers and dealers can order planter row units from John Deere and toolbars from other suppliers, and assemble their own planters to fit their specific row counts and row-spacing needs. This can be a time consuming process. By expanding upon our current supplier agreement with Orthman, customers can now order a custom-built planter – straight from the factory," Rippchen explains.

The new agreement allows producers in regional markets to be able to order fully assembled planters with some not-so-typical row spacing and working widths from their local John Deere dealer.

"Customers can order 18Row38 and 16Row40 stack-fold integral planter configurations equipped with John Deere Pro-Series XP Row Units and our Central Commodity System (CCS) technology affixed to rugged Orthman toolbars. In addition, these custom-built planters will include our John Deere SeedStar 2 monitoring system. The exclusive John Deere RowCommand system also is available as a factory-installed option for customers who desire individual row control. Bundle it together and you get an extremely efficient and productive planting system," says Rippchen.

Rippchen adds that cotton producers who already own a 12Row38 integral planter will realize a 50 percent increase in working width and a significant gain in productivity from the addition of CCS technology by upgrading to one of the larger 18Row38 or 16Row40 custom-built planters. Plus, these new planters can easily make the transition from planting cotton to corn as needed.

"Cotton growers continue to face tremendous pressure on their profit margins. One way to improve their margins is to enhance productivity. John Deere CCS technology and wider planter working widths are tools growers can use to better their margins," explains Rippchen.

Justin Troudt, Orthman vice president of sales and marketing, says that combining the sophistication of the John Deere planter row units with the durable Orthman toolbar system will provide customers with years of reliable service.

"Both companies offer innovative equipment solutions and deliver exceptional customer support," says Troudt. "By offering these custom-built planters through John Deere dealerships we can provide more customers with efficient and productive seeding solutions to help them improve their farm operations," he adds.

Troudt says the backbone of the new planter toolbars is the Orthman 925 Series stack-fold frame. The 18Row38 toolbar features eight row units on the center frame, five row units on each wing – three mid-wing and two on the outer wing. The 16Row40 integral toolbar has six row units on the center frame with five row units on each wing – three mid-wing and two on the outer wing.

"The Orthman 925 Series stack-fold frame doesn't accommodate row markers. However, John Deere Ag Management Solutions guidance products can be used to help guide a customer's tractor and planter through the field. The stack-fold toolbar is compatible with John Deere 8030 Series Tractors and requires an ASABE Category 4N 3-point rear hitch for operation," says Troudt.

The new stack-fold frame base configuration consists of rigid wings. A gull-wing option is also available and can be added to allow for plus or minus 7.5 degrees of wing float. Plus, the gull-wing provides hydraulic control to raise the wings for extra wing clearance during end-row turns.

New John Deere/Orthman custom-built planters can be ordered at local John Deere dealers and will be available for the 2010 spring planting season.