Published on Friday, March 1, 2019
The planter pass is the most important pass of the season. It sets the stage for everything else. Equally important is the time spent doing planter maintenance, prep, and set up. Each planter or row-unit manufacturer has specific guidelines as to how to set and adjust specific equipment, so always reference the owner’s manual, but the following holds true for most planting implements.
FRAME: A level planter bar puts all row units on a level plane to be adjusted independently.
PARALLEL LINKAGE: When the parallel arm components become worn, the row-unit can move, potentially causing meter chatter (causing skips/doubles), erratic seed placement, open seed trenches, and air pockets within the furrow.
DISC OPENERS, NO-TILL COULTERS, AND ROW CLEANERS: Opening systems that do not have adequate contact between the discs will not form a proper v-shaped seed furrow. Worn and misadjusted disc blades will form a seed furrow that resembles a “w”, where seeds can fall on either side of the ridge in the furrow.
GAUGE WHEEL: Gauge wheels should be set so they lightly contact the seed disc openers. If wheels are set for too much contact, it can wear the rubber on the gauge wheel. If set too tight, mud from wet conditions can build up inside and get stuck. If set too loose in dry planting conditions, dry soil can be dropped from the inside of the gauge wheels into the seed trench.
Make sure the gauge wheel arms and studs are not worn. Follow this link for a kit to tighten gauge wheel arms: bit.ly/gaugewheelkit
INDEXING THE ROW UNIT: This vital step will find any row-to-row variance with depth settings.
METERS AND SEED TUBES: Meter calibration is essential to get that picket fence stand. Worn/broken seed tubes will cause seeds not to drop in the furrow properly, resulting in erratic placement and poor singulation.
CLOSING WHEELS: Properly closing the seed trench provides good seed-to-soil contact without causing sidewall
compaction. Closing wheels set too close together or too wide will not adequately close the trench and will leave air
pockets above the seed.
BULK DELIVERY SYSTEMS: Bulk seed systems are great for quick fill and easy seed handling, but if not properly
serviced, can cause numerous planting issues.
TECHNOLOGY/MONITORS: Monitor and technology issues have quickly become the number one cause of delays on the first day of planting.
Check over planting prescriptions for proper fields, crop type, seeding rate, and starter fertilizer blends, and
upload to the monitor.
Author: Jon Skinner
Categories: Agronomy, Agronomy Talk
Tags: planting, planter prep, #plant19, equipment preparation, planter preparation