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CropTalk: Planter Performance & Preparation Q&A: PFR Team

March 2019

Published on Tuesday, March 05, 2019

Planter performance is one of the most critical components to the establishment and success of your crop. We’ve asked our PFR teams to give their insight on planter performance and share valuable ideas as you begin to prepare your planters for 2019.

Q1: What part of your planter has the biggest impact on yield/success?
OH Components that affect seed to soil contact and emergence, such as downforce and closing the furrow.
IL Properly adjusted disc openers. Making that true “V” seed trench is important for optimum emergence. Making sure the openers are at the right manufacturer specifications and adjusted properly will ensure an ideal seed trench. IA Having a calibrated metering system that will provide singulation, uniform spacing, and the targeted plant population.

Q2: What is the most overlooked part of your planter/preparation?
OH Keeping the planter level. If the planter is running nose down it will cause the planter’s no-till coulters to run deep and the closing wheels to run shallow.
KY The gauge wheels. They need to be properly adjusted to the disc openers to keep dry dirt from falling into the furrow and negatively affecting seed placement.
IL Ensuring a smooth row unit drive which affects proper seed placement. It is important to check the entire drive system, including drive bushings, bearings, tensioners, chains, and sprockets.

Q3: What do people often overlook when it comes to planter preparation?
OH Calibration (population, fertilizer rate, seed depth). Unfortunately, we won’t see any calibration mistakes until emergence, and by then it is too late to make any adjustments. Also, spiked closing wheels not adjusted correctly and not centered over the row.
IL Not indexing the planter for planting depth. I ran a season where certain rows from the planter were emerging later than others; we indexed the planter and couldn’t believe the rowto- row variance. Several years ago we used frame-mounted fertilizer coulters. They ran deep and would throw slabs of wet soil under the gauge wheels and led to shallow seed depth and uneven emergence.

Q4: What is one piece of technology you wouldn’t give up?
KY 20/20 monitor (below). It informs us exactly what is going on with every aspect of the planter, allowing the issue to be fixed before it affects planter performance.



IL Electric meters — simplifying the entire drive system and reducing daily maintenance. Also, air adjust row cleaners — having the advantage to adjust on the go as field conditions change with the simple touch of a button.

Q5: Row Cleaner vs. No-till Coulter?
KY Row cleaners are a must have. Moving residue and large dirt clods out of the way can improve the ride of the unit and consistency of seeding depth. It can also help prevent foreign material from ending up in the seed trench.
IL Row cleaner! In certain planting scenarios a no-till coulter will hairpin residue and require more downforce on the row unit to keep it in the ground and maintain desired seeding depth.

Q6: What are your top planter tips for a no-till environment?
KY Having sharp disc openers that are adjusted correctly.
IA Proper amount of down pressure on row units, row cleaners set to clear residue but not dig a trench, spiked closing wheels. Plant with the contour, if applicable.

Q7: Do you have any unique advice or strategies?
OH For our White planter, we use slow motion video to check singulation within the seed disc cells. It helps us tune in our air pressure for different seed sizes.
IL Indexing your planter row units to make sure they are all planting the same depth. On a level surface, place 2x4” boards under the gauge wheels; then, make sure all seed openers are the same distance from the ground. If they are not, there may be something worn with the row unit depth system.
IA Have your meters tested at an authorized dealer with the seed you are going to plant for optimum calibration.

Q8: Favorite closing wheel?
OH Shaffert Zippers™ or Yetter Poly Twisters.
KY Yetter Poly Twister. They are a universal wheel that perform well in varying soil conditions and tillage practices.
IL Used to be Dawn Curvetine™ but now shifting towards the Yetter Poly Twisters.
IA Yetter Poly Twisters (below).

Check out our PFR Report video on closing wheels on Beck's Youtube channel: https://youtu.be/oZ7Wi-eIvsY

Q9: Must haves for corn-after-corn scenarios?
OH 2x2 or 2x2x2 system. Early season nitrogen is a must.
IA Properly adjusted row cleaners to move residue out of the way, 2x2x2 system for loading up on nitrogen at planting (30- 60 units), and an in-furrow system to apply a liquid insecticide/fungicide product.

Hopefully, we have provided something to consider and possibly implement as you prepare your planter for the 2019 growing season. If you have any questions or would like more in-depth knowledge, please reach out to your local Beck’s representative.

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Author: Deatra Gremaux

Categories: CropTalk, 2019

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