9 No-Till Planter Tips for Accurate, Consistent Seeding

Planter specialist Bill Lehmkuhl shares the key measurements and inspections no-tillers should perform on their no-till planters to ensure better seeding results and greater yields.

If Bill Lehmkuhl were buying a new planter today, he’d be really nervous.

“They all have issues when they come out of the factory,” he says. “Just because it’s brand-new doesn’t mean it’s ready to go to the field, unfortunately.”

The no-tiller, planter specialist and owner of Precision Agri-Services in Minster, Ohio, adds that all planters available in North America today are designed for conventional tillage. Without proper attachments and tune-ups, they don’t work properly in no-till situations.

So no-tillers must take time to inspect their planters and make sure they’re performing properly. Lehmkuhl recommends spending at least 1 hour per row of inspection and fine-tuning, but he’d prefer to see growers spend up to 3 hours.

At the 23rd annual National No-Tillage Conference in Cincinnati, he described what no-tillers should check for both in the shop and out in the field to ensure a successful planting season.

1. Get the Right Height

Lehmkuhl sees many things during planter service calls that could’ve been fixed by simply correcting the planter hitch height.

The seed tube has to run very straight, he says. If the planter is running too low with the hitch down, the seed will float about ½ inch up in the bottom of the seed trench.

“I don’t care if you’ve got a seed firmer on that planter or not, it’s still going to struggle as far as depth control and seed placement. We’ve got to get these planters level to function properly,” he explains.

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Laura allen

Laura Barrera

Laura Barrera is the former managing editor of No-Till Farmer and Conservation Tillage Guide magazines. Prior to joining No-Till Farmer, she served as an assistant editor for a greenhouse publication. Barrera holds a B.A. in magazine journalism from Ball State University.

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