Advice From Planter Pros Worth Heeding

Planter experts have numerous boxes they encourage producers to check off before they leave the shop for another planting season.

Phil Needham, crop consultant; Keith Wendte, CNH America; and Kip Balkcom, USDA-ARS research agronomist, all provided planter-adjustment and evaluation tips.

These tips apply to both off-season adjustments and adjustments to be made just prior to putting the first seed in the ground.

Maintenance And Repair

Replace disc openers if they're worn by more than 0.5 inches from the original diameter. Diameters should be no less than 13.5 inches. — Wendte

If replacing disc openers, also replace the firming point. — Wendte

PARALLEL TOOLBAR. When the drawbar is leveled, you need to make sure the toolbar is parallel to the ground. In this example, both wings are higher than the center. Ideally, the parallel arms should be horizontal most of the time.
PARALLEL TOOLBAR. When the drawbar is leveled, you need to make sure the toolbar is parallel to the ground. In this example, both wings are higher than the center. Ideally, the parallel arms should be horizontal most of the time.

Check for play in the parallel-arm pivot points. Most older planters have excessive play in these points, resulting in the planter unit nose-diving — even when the toolbar is level.

Many times, when wear has reached this extent, replacing bushings won't help because the holes within the parallel arms have become egg-shaped. If you find egg-shaped holes, you may be able to drill out the parallel arms and insert an oversized bushing kit.

If the wear is really bad, you will need to replace the parallel arm assembly. Heavy-duty after-market parallel-arm assemblies are available for most planters. — Needham

Replace the shoe if excessive wear is noted…

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