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Agronomy Update

Seed to Soil: It’s Getting Close!

Published on Monday, February 13, 2017

This time of year, I anxiously await two things – planting season and baseball. “Watch the ball hit the bat” rings out from dads as they cheer their sons on in batting cages all over the country. In farming, it is just as important to see the seed hit the soil. Nothing is more important or more exciting than getting that perfect stand at planting. After all, you can’t score if you don’t get on base.


One way to increase your odds of achieving that perfect stand is to ensure your planter and planter technology is ready for that first run out onto the field. Planter and technology dealers often conduct pre-season planter clinics and provide important advice and service opportunities to get your planter ready for the season. I encourage you to seek out your equipment dealer for the pre-planting advice and service specific to your planter. Most manufacturers also put out checklists to help you run as you check over your planter and determine if parts are worn or require placement. The mechanical checklist is long and includes inspection tips such as:

  • Row Unit Mounting Plates/U-Bolts
  • Parallel Arms/ Bushings/Hardware
  • Drive Shafts, Chains, Bearings, Transmissions, Idlers, Shear Pins, Point-Row or Air Clutches, Wheel Modules
  • Pneumatic Down Pressure 
  • Down Pressure Springs and Unit Shanks
  • Disc Blades/Contact/Bearings/Scraper
  • Gauge Wheel Tires and Arms/Bearings/Depth Adjustments/Wheel to Blade Contact
  • No-Till Attachments (Coulter Depths, Disc Blades, Bearings, Trash Wheels and Bearings)
  • Closing Wheels (Tires/Wheels, Bearings, Springs, Bushings)
  • Metering Systems (Belts, Brushes, Finger Assembly, Torque, Discs)
  • Vacuum Systems (Hoses, Vacuum Cover and Disc, Brushes, Gauge, Housing, Hydraulics)


While this is not a complete list, it illustrates all of the different mechanical components that work together to deliver uniform and accurate depth, singulation, and spacing. Additional inspection and pre-plant testing of electrical and hydraulic components in your monitoring and drive systems is also critical to their in-season performance. Be sure to calibrate your planter drives in the shop and determine the seed number drop per shaft revolution on both sprocket- and hydraulic-drive planters so you know how to set your planter to reach target seeding rates.


This is also great time to get with your Beck’s team to review your sales order and seed delivery for three things:

Hybrids and Placement 
You and your Beck’s team put a tremendous effort into selecting the seed you purchased. Now is the time to make sure you are accurately placing the hybrids you selected. Take the time to review your individual fields and landscape positions to accurately place hybrids according to their genetic and agronomic performance characteristics across your operation.

Seed Size, Planter Disks, and Calibration
Review your seed order to ensure that your planter’s seed disks will accurately handle your seed sizes. If you’re having your metering units calibrated, take representative samples of the seed sizes you purchased to use in the calibration process.


Seeding Rate Plans
Review your recommended seeding rates by hybrid. It is important to understand where your hybrids fall on the fixed- to flex-ear spectrum. When it comes to variable-rate seeding, do not overlook site-specific emergence patterns when prescribing rates. Emergence patterns can impact final stand and whether or not you hit your target seeding rate.


As always, feel free to reach out to your Beck’s dealer, seed advisor, or field agronomist if you have any questions. After all, we are here to help YOU succeed.  


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Author: David Hughes

Categories: Agronomy, Missouri


David Hughes

David Hughes

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