Start Your Engines, Get Ready to Plant

No-tillers must run through a checklist of maintenance and tune-up items before heading out to the fields with their planter.

When planting season rolls around before long, the scene might remind you of what happens during the Indianapolis 500.
 
You’ll be making the laps around your fields and wanting a high level of performance from your no-till planter.
 
To do that, you need everything fine-tuned to have a winning planting season. In my case, I’m both the driver and the pit crew, so I have to prepare everything to be efficient in my journey to the finish line.
 
I go through several items on my planter to ensure a successful planting season. On my farm, I generally do most of these checks while washing my planter after the crop is planted.
 
Why? Because it’s easiest to look at the fields I’ve planted and use those observations to determine if my planter is working properly.
 
For example, I can determine if some row units must be repaired or monitored before the next planting season.
 

? New Planter? Test It.

This year, I’ll be running a newer planter, so I’ll do some early pre-runs to make sure the seed is being placed and covered properly. This lets me confirm that the new row-cleaning and coulter attachments are set properly and providing an optimum seedbed.

 
And before we take the planter for test laps around the field, we’ll do some mechanical checks as well.
 

? Row-Unit Linkages, Lift Systems, Frames.

Parallel arms take a lot of abuse in no-till systems, so they should be examined to make sure they’re running truly and not…
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Leverich jim

Jim Leverich

No-Till Farmer's Conservation Ag Operator Fellow for 2022, Jim Leverich is a no-till farmer near Sparta, Wis. His 1,000 acre-farm has been in his family since 1864 and no-tilled since 1984. An innovator and educator, Leverich has 35-plus years of no-till and on-farm research experience, and possesses a deep, practical understanding of what makes no-till work. For his contributions while at the University of Wisconsin Cooperative Extension Service, Leverich was named the No-Till Innovator of the Year (Research & Education category) in 2006. A talented presenter and writer, Leverich was a regular guest columnist for No-Till Farmer in 2011 when it earned the Gold Medal as the nation’s top newsletter from the American Society of Business Press Editors.

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