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Set Your No-Till Planter RIGHT!

Nothing has a bigger impact on yields than properly adjusting your no-till planter.

Ask Ed Winkle how to raise profitable no-till corn yields and he’ll tell you it starts with your planter.

During the recent National No-Tillage Conference, the no-tiller, crop scout and vocational agriculture instructor from Blanchester, Ohio, outlined how planter efficiency can boost your yields.

1. Gauge Wheels:

Winkle prefers a curved CaseIH gauge wheel which spreads your no-till planter weight better than any other gauge wheels. “This is my number one upgrade for your no-till planter,” he says.

With an older White 5100 no-till planter, Winkle places the rims in the freezer to get them cold while setting the rubber out in the sun so it heats up and swells. This makes it much easier to pop the rubber onto the rim. Other no-tillers warm the rubber gauge wheels in boiling water, use liquid soap or slide them on with belts and clamps.

2. Forget Coulters:

Avoid running a coulter in the row area with early no-tilling. It may cause residue hairpinning and sidewall compaction.

3. Disk Openers:

A John Deere single disk opener works best for Winkle. “I use it to cut residue 2 inches away from the center of the seed trench where we apply 28 percent nitrogen and ammonium thiosulfate,” he says.

4. Worn Discs:

No-till planters with worn double disc openers don’t provide needed penetration. Replace blades and bearings at least once a year if you see any wear.

5. Down Pressure:

Avoid applying down pressure. Develop soil tilth so your planter opens up only the…

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Frank Lessiter

Frank Lessiter has served as editor of No-Till Farmer since the publication was launched in November of 1972. Raised on a six-generation Michigan Centennial Farm, he has spent his entire career in agricultural journalism. Lessiter is a dairy science graduate from Michigan State University.

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