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Which Planter Technology Is Right for You? Clutches vs. Electric Drives vs. High Speed

by Aug 25, 2020Featured, SeedCommand®

Getting the seed in the ground perfectly is your best chance for having a bumper crop year, making planter technology one of the smartest investments you can make right now. But with several options, which one is right for you and your farm? Here’s a candid look at the pros and cons of each.

For each option, we’ll get into more detail on a few of the biggest advantages and disadvantages.

High Speed Meter and Delivery System



The obvious … if you want to plant faster … this is the option for you. SureSpeed is designed to precisely plant at any speed up to 12 mph, this option increases capacity of your operation over any other.


Increased speed usually equals errors but not with this option – SureSpeed is designed to plant fast AND accurately. That’s because the seed is delivered to the seedbed at the lowest point in the industry, eliminating the potential for it to move or bounce and giving it the best possible spacing quality.


Initial Investment Higher than Others

This is the highest-priced option of all three but it can pay off quickly if it means not having to buy a bigger planter to get as much done, or going from two planters to one.

Power Requirements

A system like this requires more power to travel at higher speeds including a higher horsepower tractor and added generator.


Electric Drives


Upgrade Your Planter, Your Meter

Upgrade your planter and meter you already know and love to maximize your planter’s spacing and singulation quality up to 7 mph. SureDrive shuts off your meter for point rows or already planted areas, saving you seed. It can bump up or down your population rate with the press of a button, or plant via prescription. Additionally, the turn compensation feature adjusts the proper seed rate across the planter in sweeping turns by speeding up outside rows and slowing down inside rows. 

Low Maintenance AND Affordable

Forget the error that chains, bearings, and transmissions can introduce – and all the maintenance, too – with direct meter drives. Upgrade the planter and meter you already know and love! SureDrive is low to no maintenance – meaning you won’t have the annual maintenance requirements of clutches. 



While an electric drive delivers precise control of the seed in the meter, the seed relies on gravity to fall from the meter to the trench compared to a delivery system that delivers the seed all the way to the ground. The level of accuracy and speed you need may largely depend on your crops, terrain, and farming practices. 

Electrical vs. Mechanical Drive

Electrical systems can be more complex, making it potentially more difficult to troubleshoot on your own. Thankfully, Ag Leader has built-in intuitive troubleshooting and diagnostics into the InCommand display. 

SureDrive electric drive

Clutch Control System


Great Return

With today’s expensive seed corn, saving seed in point rows, overlap and headlands can amount to some serious savings – in a very short time!

Low Cost

The SureStop clutch control system is one of Ag Leader’s most affordable planting products and can yield years and years of returns and reliable service.


More Difficult to Upgrade

The flip side of the system simplicity is there are not many shared parts with the newer SeedCommand system, so upgrading to electric drives or high speed will be more involving parts-wise.

Some Maintenance Required

Since the SureStop clutch required input and output chains to the hex shaft and seed meter, there are still chains, bearings, shafts, etc. to maintain. The SureStop and SureVac clutches are maintenance-free sealed units but the associated parts will require annual and in-season attention – more so than their higher cost direct-drive alternatives.

sure vac and surestop

So there you have it, a candid discussion of planter technology pros and cons to help you best decide what’s best for your farm and investment. Want to continue the conversation? Give your local Ag Leader dealer a ring and find out about what’s working best in your area and what might be right for your farm.  

Contact a Dealer to Learn More 

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