Eliminating Dirt From The Inside Of Gauge Wheels

No-tillers offered their solutions to this dirty problem and swayed another farmer away from using a rotary hoe.

The web site www.no-tillfarmer.com has been busy the past few weeks. If you haven’t taken a look at the site, now is the perfect time. Some of your fellow no-tillers have been chiming in on subjects ranging from the best planters to what rotations work best to the No-Till Farmer’s featured topic of problems with dirt building up on gauge wheels.

Problems With Dirt On Gauge Wheels. We are having problems with dirt building up on the inside of the gauge wheel. We have a John Deere 7200 no-till planter equipped with Case IH gauge wheels. The gauge wheel is spaced so that there is hardly any room between the rubber and the opener. At certain times, a ring of packed dirt about 1/4 inch wide will form on the inside of the disc opener around the outer circumference.

—Stephen Broad,


No-tilling in extremely wet soils calls for a tip-toe mentality. If you are going to successfully manipulate wet soil, you can never compress or compact it. The No. 1 cause of the symptoms that you describe is row unit weight or down pressure. I have had phone calls from guys with similar symptoms and, in almost every case, down pressure has been the culprit.

Here are some basics to follow for successfully no-tilling in wet soils.

  • Starter or fertilizer attachments can’t bring up wet soil (we’ve found the John Deere single-disc opener works best for us).
  • Row cleaners need to be raised to allow a little more residue…
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