Farmers have come a long way since the old seed plates that used to meter out seed from the bottom of a metal hopper. New technology has allowed growers to greatly increase the amount of acres they can plant in a day.

But farm machinery manufacturers haven't been content to rest on their laurels and are introducing new innovations that promise to make producers even more efficient in an increasingly cost-conscious world.

Case IH specialists discussed the latest additions to its line-up of air seeding products during the “Big Red Round-Up” dealer training and media event held by the company in Phoenix. The line-up includes two new ATX Air Drill models, the ATX 400 and the ATX 700.

“The ATX air drills offer farmers the ability to place seed and fertilizer simultaneously and in precise relationship to one another,” says Dan Bokshowan, product specialist with Case IH. “You can adjust the planting depth in increments of one-sixteenth of an inch.

“You can also apply more nitrogen with the seed, and you can place it an inch and a half below the seed if that's what your fertilizer strategy calls for.”

The drills feature a new “ribbon seeding” system that allows seed to be placed in a wide band instead of a row, allowing higher rates of fertilizer to be placed with the seed, up to 65 to 70 pounds of actual N, according to Bokshowan.

The ATX 400 is a vertical folding air hoe drill that can be configured in 27-, 33, 39, 45 and 51-foot working widths. The ATX 700 is a rearward folding air hoe drill available in 60- and 70-foot working widths.

Case IH has begun applying a powder paint finish that uses a process that allows paint to move into the pores of the metal on its ATX drills. “The drill frame is designed to last to give the grower more for his dollar,” says Bokshowan. “It has the same paint on the inside as on the outside.”

Other features include a flexible frame, single point depth control, spring reset trip and shank and a lubrication system that enables farmers to spend less time lubing the implement during one of the most hectic times of the year.

For no-till farmers, Case is offering improvements to its SDX Single Disc Opener Drills, including its Early Riser Gauge Wheel, easy seed depth adjustment, a more effective seed tube, flexible down pressure and superior packing system to make sure the seed stays covered.

The SDX drills come in a 30-foot model with 7.5-inch and 10-inch row spacings and a 40-foot model with 7.5-inch, 10-inch or 15-inch row spacings. Downward pressure can be adjusted from 250 to 510 pounds on the drills.

“These drills provide accurate depth control — the depth is controlled by moving a handle on each seed hopper — consistent seed placement and low furrow sidewall compaction,” said Carman Dodman, a Case IH product specialist from Saskatoon, Canada, who spoke at the media event.

Dodman said Case IH's ADX Air System features a number of tools that will help growers make better use of their air seeding implements. Those include adjustable mechanical meter drives and variable meter drives that will provide “on-the-go,” one-tenth-pound-per-acre application rate changes.