Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Biosystems Engineering Technology

Major Professor

Michael J. Buschermohle; William E. Hart

Committee Members

Aaron Smith


Field efficiency is defined as the percentage of time a machine operates at its rated speed and width while in the field. The main goal of this study was to determine the influence of planter width, planting speed, and perimeter-to-area ratio on field efficiency of row crop planters. Planting data was collected for this study from fields in Tennessee and Oklahoma using three different planter widths 12.2-m, 18.3-m, and 24.4-m and two planter types, John Deere ExactEmerge™ and John Deere MaxEmerge™. The 12.2-m wide planter was operated in Tennessee in 50 fields totaling 588 hectares, two 18.3-m wide planters were operated in Oklahoma in 95 fields totaling 2,718 hectares, and a 24.4-m wide planter was operated in Oklahoma in 25 fields totaling 879 hectares. A Vector GL1000 data logger was used to collect various data messages that could be imported into ArcMap 10.4 for final post-processing of the data. Within ArcMap, field boundaries were created by following exterior planter passes and end rows, and then buffering this boundary half of the planter width to acquire the total planted area of the field. All data contained within each field boundary were assigned to that field for final processing. A planter operation classification system was developed to define the different planting operations that were being performed in the field. The final totals from the different planting operations for each field were inputted into an Excel spreadsheet to calculate field efficiency values. Results indicated: i) there were differences between Tennessee and Oklahoma in regards to field characteristics; ii) perimeter to area ratio had a major influence on field efficiency; iii) increasing planter width decreased field efficiency; and iv) increasing planting speed decreased field efficiency. Increasing planting speed by almost 5 km/h, for a high-speed 12.2-m planter, was equivalent to the effective field capacity of an 18.3-m conventional planter. Lastly, increasing planting speed by at least 3.3 km/h, for a high-speed 18.3-m planter, was equivalent to the effective field capacity of a 24.4-m conventional planter.

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