Preseason Planter Checklist
By Steve Zobrist, Area Agronomist and Jeff Daniels, Seed Technology Manager
From planter singulation to seed furrow creation, use this preseason planter maintenance checklist to help prevent common seeding problems that result from improper setup, maintenance and operation.
Correct Toolbar Height
Level Bar Across Entire Planter
Stop and think how much weight is added to the center frame of this planter. Two 50-bushel seed tanks plus a 500-gallon fertilizer tank all riding on the center. Four tires pushing the center of the planter farther down into the tilled soil than the wings.
Seed Transmission Systems
How much vibration do you have in your drive system?Check the following:
Note: Transmissions need to run smoothly. Any vibration in the drive system will end up at the meters and can cause spacing issues. Sprockets, chains, bearings, meter drives and insecticide drives all need to be checked.
Check Shaft Alignment
Shafts must be aligned. If they are misaligned some row units may plant heavier or lighter populations than the main section of the planter.
|If using no-till coulters they need to be 1/4" above the openers.
Set deep enough to remove trash and not throw soil. In some cases floating cleaners may help.
Floating vs. Fixed
Floating row cleaners follow contours and are less likely to "trench" or "hover."
JD Opening Disks
Disk Contact Adjustment
The firming point, shown in red circle below, should be replaced when opener disks are replaced.
The firmer is designed to run in the bottom of the seed trench.
Seed Tubes and Firmers
Bullseye Tube with additional wear allowances (left). Standard Tube (right).
Vibration or bounce of the row unit can cause tumbling and poor seed spacing.
Keeton Seed Firmers
Seed firmers are designed to push the seed to the bottom of the trench. In wet conditions, soil can build up on the firmers and actually move the seed along the trench.
Seed firmers help eliminate a gap between the seed and the bottom of the seed trench, helping create good seed-to-soil contact and uniform depth within the seed trench.
Gauge wheels should slightly rub on the disk openers to help create a good seed trench sidewall and keep the openers clean.
Too much down force creates sidewall compaction.
Gauge wheels should take effort to spin by hand.
Closing wheels should be centered on the row.
In tougher wet soils, spike closing wheels may help prevent sidewall compaction.
Finger Pickup Checklist
- Check finger pickups for wear
- Replace worn knock-off brushes
- Replace worn finger pickups and check finger tension
- Replace worn or grooved faceplates
- Replace seed conveyers with missing ladders
- Use graphite for lubrication
Vacuum Systems - Theories of Operation
Check all types of vacuum systems for air leaks and worn seals around the metering units.
|Cell Disk - John Deere Cell Disk|
|Flat Disk - Precision Planting eSet|
|Flat disks are more forgiving of different seed sizes than cell disks. Note the different sizes of seed in the cell disk.|
|Doubles eliminators are used with flat disks. Shown are the Precision, Case and Deere singulators.|
Central Fill Systems
CCS Pressure Gauge
- No seed in mini hopper
- Lots of air in mini hopper
- Make sure tank pressure is set to the recommended setting
- Make sure tank agitator is turning when fan is running
- Make sure agitator pins are centered over seed nozzle openings
- Start adjusting tank pressure by 1 pound until seed begins to flow
Small Seed Nozzle Insert
- Seed is stuck in seed delivery hose between tank and mini hopper
- Seed stuck in elbow of mini hopper
- Make sure tank pressure is set correctly for crop being planted
- Unplug agitator motor to allow less seed to be picked up
- For small seed use tank nozzle inserts
Seed Lubricants Reduce Problems
Proper use of talc and graphite may eliminate a lot of potential problems. Use rate may need to increase for large treated seed and when temperature and humidity are high.
Talc and Graphite
- Talc removes static
- Graphite lubricates
Increase use rates for heavily treated seed or when temperature and humidity are high.
Find use rates at Seed Corn Plantability Guide.
Refer to the individual planter manufacturer's manual for complete recommendations.
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