Technology Provides ROI

We all want to have a great looking, profitable crop stand. Planter technology has greatly improved the ability for a planter to create a picket fence stand through consistent singulation, spacing, and emergence. Whether it is advanced monitoring, down-force control, an automated closing system, or managing row cleaners, each of these technologies helps you get planting right. Each of these sets the stage for consistent germination and maximum yield.

Technology Can Be Overcome

After 27 years of working on planters, we’ve seen first hand the issues that poor planting can cause. Our engineers have taken these issues and designed over 30 products to enhance planter performance. What has been discovered along the way is that if technology is placed on a poor foundation, it will fail. The culprit for this failure is small wear parts not being examined and replaced or maintained, causing big issues. Before expecting technology to improve performance, maintenance pitfalls that can cause technology to fail must be fixed.

The Top 3 Issues

While there are numerous points of maintenance to check and fix before taking the planter to the field, Precision Planting has seen 3 issues that cost the most when it comes to consistent germination.

row to row depth variation

Row to Row Depth Variation

Setting each row unit to the same depth setting means they all are planting the same depth, right? WRONG! Differences in manufacturing and wear will cause depth variation by row. The way to check this is by placing some lumber under the gauge wheels, lowering the planter, and measuring the actual planting depth. Replace worn parts and adjust the depth correctly on each row. Depth variation will cause uneven emergence between rows, resulting in poor stands and lost yield.

worn disk openers

Worn Disc Openers

Disc openers create the furrow that seeds are placed in. Once disc openers wear ½-inch from their original diameter, they should be replaced. Continuing to utilize worn disc openers will wear out the seed tube guard. For most row units, the disc openers should have 1-2 inches of contact so they clear out all of the soil they encounter, leaving a V-shaped furrow. Too little contact will cause depth inconsistencies, and late emergence of some plants.

Slop in Gauge Wheel Arms

Slop in Gauge Wheel Arms

Gauge wheels not only set planting depth, but they also keep soil from flowing around the disc openers and into the furrow. If there is a gap between the gauge wheels and the opening discs, it is likely that seed germination will be erratic due to dry soil showering into the furrow. If your gauge wheel arms don’t have wear in them, adjust them so they slightly scrub the disc openers to keep dry soil out of the furrow.

A Premier Precision Planting Dealer is your partner to help you achieve a picket fence stand this spring and steer clear of the regret that comes from avoidable yield loss caused by lack of maintenance. Find your local Precision Planting Premier Dealer at planterexpert.com. To watch videos of all recommended annual maintenance checks, visit precisionplanting.com/agronomy/research.

The Planter Maintenance series is brought to you by Precision Planting.

More from this series

Precision Planting, LLC is the leading provider of practical and effective precision ag technologies to help make farmers smarter every season. New technologies from Precision Planting are opening doors for farmers to take advantage of the data they collect on every field pass, from planting to harvest, and to use that data to increase production and profit potential by better managing input costs and ensuring the seeds they plant maintain their top-end yield potential at emergence and beyond.