Planter Maintenance Tips For Successful Planting Season

May. 14, 2021

Planter Maintenance Tips For Successful Planting Season

The maintenance of planters is important for all farmers, especially in reduction and no-till systems. A well-maintained planter can give its best chance, with field operations happening in a shortened timeframe this spring, the maintenance of the planer is as important as ever. Most of the physical responsibility for manipulating the soil, the planter, and getting the seeds off to a good start falls on the planter.

Considerations for less tillage and no tillage

Many producers have discovered through trial and error that since the planter replaces some of the farming equipment used in the past, a great deal of emphasis must be placed on the planter components related to the soil. Unlike planting seeds on a prepared seedbed, a planter can be used to create a trench of appropriate depth, place the seeds evenly in the trench, and establish sufficient seed-soil contact.

Some "first time" Non-Tillage Seeder operators are disappointed to see seed placement at 1/2 or 3/4 inch depths, rather than 1/2 to 2 inches (depending on the planter settings). The problem is that if there is not enough weight on the seed opener, or the seed opener does not maintain a sharp-edged narrow profile, the row unit may "stay" on the seed opener without the depth wheel touching the soil surface.

Seed depth

Set the planting depth according to the soil moisture. In dry soil, when you want to plant the seeds a little deeper, the penetration of the seed opener is a particular problem. When the soil surface is dry (or when planting in rough-textured soil with limited soil surface moisture), deeper planting may be required to ensure that there is enough moisture to successfully germinate.

Maintenance recommendations for planters:

Check your manual and talk to your equipment dealer about the best strategy for no-till or heavy residue planting.

With an experienced producer in your area, prepare the soil type for your planter.

Flexible adjustment of planters to cope with changes in soil moisture and residue levels.

Understand the soil moisture status; the water used to "hairpin" the residue under the seed opener or the soil that adheres to the soil contact part of the planter.

Other problems

Due to the importance of seeding and soil contact parts, equipment operators should regularly check the performance of the seeder in the field. The planter monitor will let you know if the correct amount of seeds has fallen into the furrow. Leave the tractor regularly, especially when the conditions change, check the depth, spacing, number of seeds and the contact between the seeds and the soil.

Calibration checklist for planters:

Check for proper seed depth and soil penetration. Since the soil conditions vary with different locations, soil types or weather, it is important for operators to check the planting depth, spacing, and seed-soil contact after the planter.

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