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“99%+ accuracy at speeds from 2 to 8 mph.” A pretty bold claim in the planting industry, yet it was a claim Kinze made today when the company introduced the 4900 planter. The high accuracy level is possible with innovations from a new patent-pending seed meter. However, the seed meter wasn’t the only new feature. “We designed a new, front folding tool bar, engineered a state of the art vacuum meter with optional electric drive, and created a cast iron row unit with more vertical travel,” says Rhett Schildroth with Kinze. The 4900 has 30-inch row spacing with a choice of 12, 16, or 24 rows.4000 Series Vacuum MeterThe 4000 Series Vacuum Meter has a new seed pool shape, new discs, new singulation, and a new seed drop. The seed pool is reshaped so the flow of seeds is more direct to the bottom of the disc. More seed cells have been added to the disc to reduce rpm. Discs are available for corn, soybeans, sugar beets, milo/grain sorghum, and sunflowers. While there are still multiple types of discs, there is only one seed singulator for all seeds. A knob adjusts the singulator for different seed types and sizes. The meter has a 3 o’clock seed drop to help drop seeds into the center of the tube at any speed. There is an elevated release point on the edge of the disc, and the lower velocity at the release point reduces seed bounce in the tube. These combined features result in the 99% accuracy rating. While Kinze does claim accurate rates up to 8 mph, Schildroth notes that field speed is still limited by field conditions.The meter is available with contact drive, hydraulic drive, and – new with the 4900 – electric drive. High-torque 24-volt motors allow for precise seed rate control by row. Electric drive will help farmers have consistent seed spacing from the inside row of the planter to the outside when planting on curves and allows for instant population rate changes. It also means there are no chains, clutches, gearboxes, or shafts to maintain. Planters come equipped with generators to handle the added power needs.Planter FrameThe new planter frame has 42 degrees of wing flex (21 degrees up and 21 degrees down) to offer better ground contact on rolling terrain and terraces. But the key feature of the new frame is the hydraulic weight transfer, which transfers weight from the center to the wings. This reduces compaction at the center of the planter while ensuring that the row units provide a consistent seed depth, even out to the last row. With the new bulk fill tank design, the 16- and 24-row planters offer 120-bushel capacity while the 12-row offers 90-bushel capacity. The 4900 can also handle up to 500 gallons of liquid fertilizer.Precision ElectronicsThe new Kinze seed sensor counts every seed with a high-definition, two-piece, optical seed sensor. Rather than using an average count, the sensor measures every seed and automatically self-calibrates for dust. The sensor monitors multiples, skips, and spacing at higher population rates.Kinze’s “plug-and-play” feature introduced last year comes standard with the new planter. This means the 4900 can communicate with any ISO-compatible task controller-equipped display.Toolbar DesignThe 4900 has a narrow, 12-foot front folding toolbar. Another patent-pending feature on the planter is the flip-axle option for the 24-row planter, which reduces hitch weight and makes it easier to move in and out of fields. The flip axle hydraulically swings forward for transport, reducing the hitch to axle distance by 5 feet for a tighter turning radius. In addition, the toolbar has been raised to provide higher in-field clearance and to improve residue flow.Row UnitsBrand new row units are designed with cast iron and steel gauge wheels for increased durability. Vertical travel has been increased to 12 inches for steep slopes and terraces. A new 3.0 bushel high-capacity row unit hopper is available as well as the conventional 1.9 bushel hopper and a mini .18 bushel hopper. Also, farmers can change down pressure settings on-the-go through their monitor display with the planter’s pneumatic down pressure option. Down pressure springs are also available.The Kinze 4900 series planters will be available for orders in May 2013 for use during the 2014 planting season. Prices are unavailable, but the planter will be competitively priced according to Schildroth.If you’re heading to Louisville for the National Farm Machinery Show, the 4900 planter will be on display for the first time.