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Agronomy Update

Time to Prep Your Planter

Published on Monday, March 13, 2017

We are at the start of another challenging year with low commodity prices and shrinking margins. To succeed in a down market, we have to set ourselves up for success from the start. The best way to do that is to utilize all of your tools to their fullest potential. That means making sure your planter is ready for the field before it’s time to plant. Accuracy of plant spacing, seed depth, and seed-to-soil contact are the keys to achieving a picket fence stand and maximizing a crop’s yield potential. Below is a list of things to check before you pull out of the shop.
Drive Tires 

  • Check your tire pressure.
  • Are they dry rotted or cracked?

Parallel Linkage 

  • Be sure to check your bushings.

Vacuum Hoses 

  • Are the seals busted? Be sure to replace cracked hoses that are leaking.

Seed Meters 

  • Make sure they’re calibrated.

Row Cleaners 

  • Confirm they are at the correct height. They should only spin about 50 percent of the time.
  • Also make sure you’re not “hair-pinning” residue.

No-Till Coulters 

  • Check your bearings!
  • The coulters should run about 1/4 in. to 3/8 in. higher than double-disc openers.

Double-Disc Openers 

  • If the bevel is worn off the blade, then it’s time to replace it. This would be less than 14.5 in. in diameter for most planters.
  • Your openers should make a “V” shaped trench, not a “W” shape.

Gauge Wheels 

  • Double check to ensure the rubber on your wheels is not dry rotted and cracked.
  • To check down pressure, you should be able to slightly spin the tires when the planter is in the ground.

Seed Tubes 

  • Check the bottom…does it have rough edges or is it cracked?

Closing Wheels 

  • Are they tracking true or are they off center?
  • Three-year data from Beck’s Practical Farm Research (PFR)® shows a clear advantage to a spike and rubber wheel combination.

Another thing to consider at planting time is the addition of fluency agents, like talc and graphite. This is especially true when using planters outfitted with bulk fill tanks. Beck’s senior agronomist, Denny Cobb, recently published an excellent article outlining the proper ratio and rate of talc and graphite, that can found here.

As always, don’t hesitate to reach out to myself or your local Beck’s representative with any questions.


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Austin Scott

Austin Scott

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