FieldTalk

Planter Maintenance

Filed Under: Planting

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

  • FIRSTLY, 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.)
  • Avoid excessive tillage passes and tilling into wet soils
  • Planters with finger pick-ups should be checked for wear on the back plate and brush.
  • With air planters, match the air pressure to the weight of seed being planted.
  • Check for air leaks and ensure air pressures are sustained
  • Check for wear on double-disk openers and seed tubes.
  • Make sure sprocket settings are correct on the planter transmission.
  • Check for worn chains, stiff chain links and improper tire pressure.
  • Lubricate all chains, and grease fittings.
  • Make sure seed drop tubes are clean and clear of obstructions.
  • Clean seed tube sensors if the planter is equipped with a monitor.
  • Make sure coulters and disk openers are properly aligned.
  • Make sure press wheels are adjusted to close the seed slot.
  • Check seed depth and seed soil contact during planting.
  • Plant at speeds of between 4.5 and 5.5 mph and monitor for optimal speed vs. drop percentage
  • 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.)
  • 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.
  • 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.