Types of Planters

6 Types of Planters

When it comes to planting row crops, farmers have several seeder options to choose from. The type of seeder used can significantly impact planting accuracy, cost, ease of use, and overall performance.

Selecting the right planter for your fields and operation is an important decision.

Here is an in-depth look at the most common types of row crop seeders on the market today:

Ground Drive Seeders

Ground drive seeders are one of the most basic and affordable seeder options. They operate using a ground wheel that engages the seed metering system through a mechanical drive.

This simplicity makes ground drive seeders extremely durable and reliable.

However, their mechanics lack precision compared to some other seeders.

Ground drive seeders excel at planting large seeded crops like corn, beans, and peanuts. They can effectively meter and place these seeds.

However, they may struggle with small seeds like carrots or lettuce. Ground drive units also lack variable-rate capabilities.

Overall, ground drive seeders provide a simple, no-frills planting solution. They are an excellent choice for large operations on a tight budget.

But farmers needing accuracy for small seeds or variable rates may want to consider other options.

Hydraulically Driven Seeders

Hydraulically driven seeders use hydraulic motors, powered by the tractor, to turn the seed metering system. This gives them some key advantages over ground drive models.

First, hydraulic drive seeders can achieve much higher planting speeds than ground wheel units. Their speed is not limited by wheel slippage.

Faster planting helps maximize suitable field days.

Additionally, hydraulic seeders enable variable-rate seeding for improved accuracy.

By changing the hydraulic flow, seeding rates can be precisely adjusted.

This level of control is not possible with ground drive.

However, hydraulic seeders have downsides, including higher costs and complexity. Maintenance requirements also increase.

Despite the drawbacks, hydraulic seeders provide a major precision boost over ground drive units.

Seed Drills

Seed drills are a traditional type of row crop seeder used for generations to plant small vegetable seeds and grains.

Simple in design, seed drills use a mechanically driven metering system to drop seeds down tubes into the soil.

This places the seeds closely spaced in rows.

The simplicity of seed drills makes them extremely durable and reliable. Proper adjustment and maintenance can result in reasonable planting accuracy.

Costs are also relatively low compared to more high-tech options.

However, seed drills lack precision compared to modern equipment. They can struggle with very small or irregularly shaped seeds.

Seed drills work best for classic vegetable crops like beans, peas, spinach, and beets.

They may not be suitable for operations needing high density and absolute uniformity.

Plate Planters

Plate planters are a vegetable seeder that provides enhanced accuracy over seed drills. Plates with holes or slots drop seeds at a controlled rate into the soil.

Different plates can be used to match the size of the seed variety.

The metering action of the plates gives plate planters better precision and spacing than drills. This leads to reduced seed costs and waste.

Plate planters are also versatile enough to handle larger seeds like corn and soybeans if desired.

Plate planter drawbacks include higher costs and complexity versus a basic seed drill.

However, for market farmers and home gardeners wanting improved vegetable seeding accuracy, plate planters hit a sweet spot.

Precision Planters

For row crop farmers seeking the ultimate level of planting accuracy and efficiency, precision planters are the top of the line.

These high-tech seeders utilize advanced monitoring, control, and positioning systems to precisely meter and place every seed.

Precision planters use vacuum, electric, or hydraulic metering to singulate seeds for uniform spacing.

Real-time sensors provide data to adjust and optimize the system on-the-go. GPS guidance enables exact seed placement, even allowing driverless operation.

The downside is the drastically higher costs of these advanced seeders. Precision planters are major investments best suited to large farms.

However, for farmers who can leverage their potential, precision planters maximize yields and profits.

Specialty Seeders

Beyond the main seeder categories, specialty units like cone plot planters and all-purpose seeders serve unique niche needs.

Cone plot planters allow farmers and researchers to test different seed varieties and rates in a single field.

Their versatility and accuracy provide valuable agronomic insights.

All-purpose seeders are combination tools that can plant seeds, apply fertilizer, and handle cultivation tasks like furrowing and hilling.

Their multi-functionality makes them ideal for large municipal, school, and golf course operations.

6 Types of Seeders Used in Modern Agriculture


Selecting the right planter is an important decision that can impact crop performance and the bottom line. Growers must balance factors like accuracy, cost, complexity, and capacity.

Ground drive seeders provide an affordable basic option, while precision planters offer the ultimate in automation and control.

With a little research, farmers can find the perfect seeder technology for their needs and budget.