2 Row Planter - No Till?


Well-Known Member
I’m thinking about getting a 2 row planter to plant corn and soybeans. I found a standard John Deere 3pt 2 row planter for around $500. Assuming it’s in decent condition, is this a good option? Would I be better off looking for a no till planter?

My thought is I’ll regret not getting a no till a few years down the road. Also thinking about the time saved with a no till.
What model is it? You can tweak the standard planters to make them no-till.
I’m waiting on the guy to call me back. He just put up one picture and didn’t list the model. It has the seeds boxes and the fertilizer boxes. It’s also a 3pt model. That’s all I can tell from the picture.
So maybe a 7001. If it’s a 7001, I can help you a bunch. First of all, you most likely are looking at seed boxes and insecticide boxes. Second of all, a standard model can definitely plant no till.

Post pics of it if you can.
That's an old model, a 494 maybe? That pic makes it a bit tough to tell. If it has 2 disks for openers it can no till well, but if has a steel "knife" that looks like a ice skate blade then it probably wont no till well at all, those were built for worked ground.

If you have super mellow ground it "may" work good enough for food plot work, but I'm going to doubt it

Sent from my SM-G930V using Tapatalk
I think that’s an old school 71 but not positive. Most of these old school planters can plant no-till with their current hardware as long as you add weight to them.
How much are you willing to spend on this implement? And how many acres will you plant?
That isn't a no till planter and will no work for one either. You can often pick up a ready to go 2 row notill on places like craigslist for 3000 to 3500 ready to go. Anything less than that is a steal or is going to need a bit of work.
I would listen to the above advice. I don’t have experience with the planter you posted above.

This is where I bought mine a couple of years ago:


I have discovered that the no-till attachments are not necessary for no-till if conditions are right. You need weight and down pressure.
I wasn’t planning to convert this to no till. Just wondering if this would be worth $500 to give it a try.

Also wondering if I’m better off not getting this and just saving up for a no till.

I’ll likely never plant more than 10 acres and will be closer to 5 acres to start.
A simpler, newer model is the John Deere Model 71 planter, with fibreglass boxes. The metal fertilizer ones had a tendency to rust out, if not properly cared for. Yetter now makes an identical unit that you can buy new today. The beauty is that they are ground driven with simple bicycle chains .... very few moving parts and simple gears easily swapped out, plus you can add row cleaners, etc., to come closer to being no till, but still not no till. Plates are still readily available for them.


If you want this style, look for a used one with 2 disc coulters, and make sure they aren't too badly worn and not completely corroded.

With 5 acres to plant and using a no-till planter, you'll help improve your soil, but I don't know really how much time you'll save, if that was part of your consideration. No till planters are nice and wished I had one.

What size of tractor and lift capability, does your tractor have?
And, with a Model 71 and a longer tool bar, you can make yourself a 3 row .... 4 row .....??? At a later date.
One of these years, I'm going to build a strip till cultivator and use my Model 71 to plant in my clover. In this picture, and the right equipment, it's done all in one pass, but I'll never get that automated. Maybe help with weed control .... dead clover provides nitrogen for next crop .... still provides food for deer, while the corn is growing ..... clover grows back.

Strip till.JPG
Tell me about your soils, are they sandy or lots of clay? I farm some soils that are one step above beach sand and something like that would do a somewhat decent job for no till, again good enough for food plot work. But other fields I couldnt even put that planter in the ground because of the high clay content.

If your set on no-till, which is great, then long term this probably isn't the planter for you. I tend to live by the rule of "buy once, cry once". I would find a newer planter, one with double disk openers.

If your budget limited, then I would probably look for a drill, either a no till or a regular old style will work just about as well. That opens up a whole lot of other opens for crops to plant, like your cereal grains and clovers etc. And can still do a "good enough" job with things like corn. The manual on my 1940s JD "B" drill even tells you how to set it for corn.

Overall, if you can only afford one tool, I'd probably pick a drill.

Sent from my SM-G930V using Tapatalk
One of these years, I'm going to build a strip till cultivator and use my Model 71 to plant in my clover. In this picture, and the right equipment, it's done all in one pass, but I'll never get that automated. Maybe help with weed control .... dead clover provides nitrogen for next crop .... still provides food for deer, while the corn is growing ..... clover grows back.

View attachment 14392
You could set up a hooded sprayer and chemically kill your rows. Theres some guys doing it commercially, the claim is that the clover will provide 100% of the N for the corn without any yield penalty, but there are some drawbacks, keeping the clover alive after harvest is one.

I've been following the research because I have alfalfa in my crop rotation, so if I can get 7 years or so out of the alfalfa for hay, then get another 3-5 years or more of free N, great corn yields, and weed control then it's a no brainer system for me with a ton of $ potential. Especially with RR alfalfa, which I currently dont use, but it may help extend the life of the alfalfa stand in the corn.

Sent from my SM-G930V using Tapatalk
its tough to tell from the picture, but you are getting some real good advice. I have an old ford 309 planter. Most older planters are not no-till. The main way to tell is if there a discs up front to open up the soil. Most old school planters have a shoe and something shaped more like an ice-skate blade that opens the soil. Most of these planters lack the weight to effectively slice thru the soil. I have a sandy loam type soil with very little clay and my planter still requires tilled soil first. also if your planting 5 to 10 acres....you want more than 2 rows! Also find out if that is a plate type planter. I assume it is. Te reason I bring this up is because you will need plates and various ones at that to plant your different crops and at different populations. Sometimes the plates are easy to find, sometimes not so much. Something I see in my area if folks with the skill will by an old no-till planter from a farmer and then ct them down to 2,3 row type units, but they know what they are worth....and you tend to be talking thousands, not hundreds of dollars. Also keep in mind that many planters will only handle lager seeds. They are not drills...and won't do things like clover, and small brassica seed and the like. So with a planter you can have a lot of money wrapped up into a tool for a limited crop offering.