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Does My Tractor Have Enough Hydraulics to Run My Planter?

The question often arises as to whether a certain model tractor will operate a certain model planter, often triggered by either a producer looking to upgrade/upsize their planter or add accessories to a current planter.

This question has several aspects that need to be considered.

Firstly, the hydraulic consumption of the primary hydraulic functions of the planter, including lift, vacuum fans, bulk-fill fan, hydraulic seed drives and fertilizer pumps.

The next consideration is any accessories that are installed or are planned in the near future. As an example, hydraulic downforce varies considerably from manufacturer to manufacturer with a range of ¼ gpm/row up to ½ gpm/row. These accessories can add up fast when downforce systems, electric seed drive and high-speed seed delivery systems are added.

Another consideration is whether the tractor has sufficient cooling capacity. Some smaller frame tractors may have similar hydraulic output as the next larger series of tractor from the same manufacturer, yet have reduced hydraulic cooling capacity.

The final consideration (and often overlooked) is the RPM setting you want to run the tractor at when planting. The hydraulic output of most tractors is directly affected by engine rpms, so a 60 gpm rated tractor may be putting out less than 50 gpm when you throttle back to 1600-1700 rpm. This is also a consideration when a planter is equipped with an auxiliary PTO driven hydraulic system. These systems will likewise be reduced in output when rpms are lowered.

Dan Symington

Sales Representative

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