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.
This planter hitch is too low
7 x 7 toolbar is sloping downhill
Hitch height should be raised to level toolbar for best planter performance
No-Till Coulters too deep
Keeton Seed Firmer down pressure lightened
Closing wheel down-pressure lightened
Level your units in the field
Must be done in motion. Have someone help you watch your row unit
Front of seed box should be 1/2” higher than back of insecticide box
Correct Toolbar Height
Bar height should be 20" - 22" from ground level
Provides correct down- pressure from springs
Allows row unit to run level in seedbed
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.
On center weighted planters the center section may need to be adjusted to compensate for payload
Tillage practices affect bar height across large planters
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.
Seed Furrow Creation
If using no-till coulters they need to be 1/4" above the openers.
Often running too deep
Should run 1/4" above Tru-Vee openers
If coulters are too deep:
seed will be planted too deep
openers won't turn
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."
Check for wear and alignment.
Should form “V” trench, not “W."
JD Opening Disk
Must replace if less than 14 1/2"
New blades are 15"
Disk Contact Adjustment
Should have between 1 1/2" to 2 1/2" of contact on blades
Kinze 3000 blades only need 1" of contact
Proper adjustment creates Tru-Vee trenches
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.
Check seed tubes and seed tube guards for wear, bending or deformation.
Seed tube protector worn by contact with opener allows contact between disks and seed tube. Need to keep protectors in good repair to preserve seed tubes.
Bullseye Tube with additional wear allowances (left). Standard Tube (right). Vibration or bounce of the row unit can cause tumbling and poor seed spacing.
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.
Mechanical (left) / Pneumatic (right)
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.
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
Check all types of vacuum systems for air leaks and worn seals around the metering units.
Cell Disk - John Deere Cell Disk
Seed size sensitive
Flat Disk - Precision Planting eSet
Seed size independent
Should have doubles eliminator
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.
CCS Pressure Gauge
Small Seed Nozzle Insert
Seed Bridging in Seed Tank
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
Seed Plugging in Seed Hose
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
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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