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Durum Planter Research Underway

This week we talk to you about durum agronomy and specifically, planter research. Someone told Ken Coles that durum agronomy hasn’t seen updates for 20 years. Coles got on the case to do multi-factor durum research.  

In this research, Farming Smarter set up trials with air drills, planters, growth regulators, fungi, max fertilization, normal fertilization and seeding rates. Coles said that durum is highly susceptible to fusarium head blight and it would be interesting to see if there is a practice that results in a more even crop so that a fungicide and growth regulators might be more effective. Here are some of the results encountered!  

As you would expect growth regulators had the most effect on height of the plants.  Two of the surprises the study encountered were that a planter brought more height than an air drill. Ken said he did not think a planter would play a role in plant height. The second surprise was that seeding rate also affected the height.   

“We are looking at a difference of 92-to-93, so even though there is a strong interaction there, the difference between them is actually insignificant,” said Coles during his presentation at the Farming Smarter 2020 Conference.  When it comes to yield Ken excitedly talked about the results in his presentations. 

 “We heard no one saw an improvement in durum agronomy for the last 20 years and we found an way to improve results,” said Coles.  


The results here show that there is a five-bushel yield difference between crops planted with planters and air drills. We also saw a five bushel increase from increasing seeding rates from 150 seeds/m2 and 300 seeds/m2The trial also saw an increase in yield using growth regulators and fungicide together and maximum fertilizers  


From this preliminary data, planters seem to offer better yields, particularly with high seeding rates. In final analysis, the results will include the economics of these strategies, but at this early stage, it looks as though planters and seeding rates can improve yields.  

Watch for future updates at summer field days, the annual conference and on this website.