Planter Maintenance: Top Tips

Grain Corn
Western Canada

The following are some tips for improving uniformity of seed placement.

  1. Check to be sure that the planter frame is level and the correct hitch height is achieved
    (This is probably one of the most important checks, as it will have a direct impact on the down-pressure of the units and the proper closure of the seed trench. Without achieving this, we will see inconsistent seed placement)
  2. Avoid excessive tillage passes and tilling into wet soils
  3. Planters with finger pick-ups should be checked for wear on the back plate and brush
  4. With air planters, match the air pressure to the weight of seed being planted
  5. Check for air leaks and ensure air pressures are sustained
  6. Check for wear on double-disk openers and seed tubes
  7. Make sure sprocket settings are correct on the planter transmission
  8. Check for worn chains, stiff chain links and improper tire pressure
  9. Lubricate all chains, and grease fittings
  10. Make sure seed drop tubes are clean and clear of obstructions
  11. Clean seed tube sensors if the planter is equipped with a monitor
  12. Make sure coulters and disk openers are properly aligned
  13. Make sure press wheels are adjusted to close the seed slot
  14. Check seed depth and seed soil contact during planting
  15. Plant at speeds of between 4.5 and 5.5 mph and monitor for optimal speed vs. drop percentage
  16. Use trash whippers in no-till or min-till situations
    (Inconsistent seed emergence may be associated with minimum and no-till systems when crop residues are bunched throughout a field, keeping some areas of fields cooler and wetter than other areas)
  17. Adjust the depth and tension of no-till coulters from field to field, day to day
    Do not cut deeper with the coulter (in line with the disc opener) than the depth of seeding
  18. A properly set-up planter will help ensure a uniform spaced seed placement to obtain a 'picket fence' stand - which has been proven to deliver optimum yield results