Planting test acres can help determine if the equipment is placing seeds at a uniform depth
By Diego Flammini
As the days get longer and farmers prepare for the upcoming growing season, they should keep spring planter maintenance at top of mind.
Indeed, now is the time to take the planter out of the shed to see if it needs a tune-up, said Tony McClelland, planter marketing manager with Case IH.
“It’s good for farmers to hook up the planter to the tractor, unfold it, turn on all the systems and make sure everything is operational,” he told Farms.com. “It’s also a good time to get reacquainted with the display and make sure the tractor and planter are talking to one another.”
Cash crop producers should also pay attention to hoses and other parts that may need to be replaced or lubricated, he said.
Growers may want to consider running field tests.
Planting some acres before the growing season moves into full force will help producers determine if their planters are operating at a uniform depth.
“If they can plant 20 acres, they’ll have a better idea of what the planter is going to do,” he said. “But it’s very critical to get out there and dig up some seeds after they’ve been planted to make sure. The display can have indicators about ground contact and seed delivery but there’s no replacement for digging (the seeds) up.
“If the seeds aren’t planted at a consistent depth, they won’t emerge at the same time. Once a plant is late, it won’t produce the same grain as neighboring seeds that emerged earlier.”
Even a half of an inch of variance in seed depth can cause a plant to come up late, which can affect yield, McClelland said.
Farmers who are unsure where to start on planter maintenance should follow the manufacturer’s guidelines, he added.