• Mar 31, 2017

Tips for Prepping Your Planter

It’s hard to believe that spring planting is just around the corner. Is your planter ready to roll? Checking it now can save you precious time when you wish there were more hours in the day. Here are some tips I’ve learned over the years.
  1. Check disk opener blades. Replace disks that show more than a half-inch of wear. Worn disk opener blades could create a “W” shape in the bottom of the seed trench, which can cause variances in seed planting depths of up to three-quarters of an inch and make for uneven stands.
  2. Examine bushings and chains. Check the backs of row units to identify play or wear that could lead to seed depth inconsistency and row unit bounce. Also inspect rusty or loose chains that could break or jump over sprockets.
  3. Calibrate seed meters. Seed meters should be checked by a trusted professional to assess accuracy. Run different seed sizes through meters to ensure they dispense at the correct rate. An inaccurate seed meter can hurt yield and profitability due to skips, doubles or triples in seed drop and distribution.
  4. Examine seed tube for wear. Seed tube wear largely depends on use but can be affected by other factors. For example, hitting a rock or another hard object in the field could damage a seed tube’s shape, causing seed to get hung up or bounce while exiting the tube. Replace split or worn tubes.
  5. Inspect row cleaners. Make sure bearings are in good working order, turning freely. Set the depth properly to clean out residue in front of the row unit. Remember that row cleaners are not meant to be tillage tools.
  6. Prepare your seed tank for smooth dispensing. Put graphite, talc or a pre-mixture of both in the bottom of seed boxes or tanks prior to filling with seed. This added lubrication allows for smooth, consistent flow of seed through the seed box into the row meters. Always follow manufacturer recommendations regarding use of a flowability agent.
  7. Level your planter. Hook up the planter to the tractor that will be pulling it, then set the planter down in the field and make sure it is not leaning too far forward or too far back. The parallel arms on row units should be level. Planter unit position affects coulter depth, closing wheel pressure and seed tube angle.
  8. Don’t forget about electronics. System and software updates are as important as the mechanical aspects of planters. Making sure that electronics are working well will reduce downtime when the planter should be running.
Start preparing your planter now to save time and money “down the row.”

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