Onion World

May/June 2011

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Frisby Farms has made an investment… This 33-foot wide Monosem planter can plant up to 55 acres of onions per day. Photos in this article courtesy of Pat Brown, Promoting 4u. This May Be the World’ the world, initially his father and mother, Rod and Maureen Frisby of Frisby Farms, Sand Hollow, Idaho, envisioned seeing their family bank account take a big hit -- $150,000 for the 33-foot wide Monosem planter and even more for a costly John Deere 8345 RT tractor required to pull it down the field. From where would the payback come? W Years of experience had shown them both that it is one thing to own expensive equipment but another thing to justify the investment. In the discussions that followed before the green light was given, Russell pains- takingly detailed his reasons for why the planter would pay for itself – and in a much shorter time than even he initially expected. Here are few of the major points that helped with the decision-making process: • Increased planting speed – up to 55 acres of onions per day, versus only 15 4 Onion World hen Russell Frisby began talking about purchasing what could be the largest onion planter in acres per day with their older planter. The planter can be pulled at a speed of 3 mph and averages 5 to 6 acres per hour. • Growers have the option of planting either raw or pelleted seed. • The Monosem can be used on a va- riety of soil types and conditions as well as on both large- and smaller-scale acreages. • Wider beds and fewer passes through the field translate into reduced fuel cost and soil compaction. The planting operation has been averaging 1.6 gallons of fuel per hour. • A well-thought out bed configura- tion with wider row between planting beds takes into consideration the larger track space required for the John Deere 8345 RT. • More even spacing permits an increase of 33 percent more plants per acre with a potential yield increase of up to 30 percent. • The planter is hydraulically driven and uses a GPS signal for greater accuracy. • Onion seed, drip tape and starter fertilizer functions are all accomplished during the same pass. • Operators can change the plant population on the go, including plant spac- ing Since there are three planter sections, changes can be made to any one or two sections individually or the operator can adjust all three to function the same way. Planting Period Was Too Long “Last year, the planting process simply took too long and was far too time consum- ing,” Russell points out. “It seemed like we were getting nothing done and needed something bigger.” To take advantage of the huge blue Monosem’s increased capabilities, Russell and his father switched to a wider bed con- figuration, enabling them to increase their plant population per acre and space their seed more evenly. “My wife owns a helicopter company, and last year we flew over a lot of onion fields. We couldn’t help but notice all of the wasted space,” he recalls. “That’s why we devised our beds the way we did this spring. So many of the intense beds we

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