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25 Tips To Get Drills, Planters In Tip-Top Working Order

No-tillers, equipment experts share their annual drill and planter maintenance checklists that are must-dos for successful stands.

There may be nothing worse for no-tillers than heading to the fields in the spring and being sidelined by a maintenance issue with their planter — especially if the window of opportunity to plant is tight and the breakdown could have been avoided.

Proper maintenance and checkups during the offseason can help ensure planting season gets started without a hitch. To help with this task, No-Till Farmer asked no-tillers to share advice on how they keep their planters and drills in good working order. No-tillers from all over the world responded.

The following tips help define how these no-tillers evaluate wear points, tweak various row unit settings and determine if new parts will pay off with less downtime come planting.

Some Planter Pointers

1. Check disc openers for correct sharpness and blade diameter.

— Blake Vince, Merlin, Ontario, strip-tiller

2. Evaluate the depth-gauge arm and wheel. The wheel should not rub against the disc. If it does, adjust with shim washers or threaded bushings. Replace the arm if excessive wear is noted.

— Jim Hershey, Elizabethtown, 
Pa., no-tiller and custom planter

3. Keep good opener blades and bearings on the planter.

— Grant Corley, Westphalia, Kan.

4. Make sure bolts are tight on parallel arms. Replace bushings and bolts if there is any wear. — Hershey

5. Replace chains any time they’re stiff or worn in any appreciable amount. Stiff chains jerk the planting unit and cause uneven seed drop. — Corley

6. Remove meter covers every year and examine…

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Martha-mintz-new

Martha Mintz

Since 2011, Martha has authored the highly popular “What I’ve Learned About No-Till” series that has appeared in every issue of No-Till Farmer since August of 2002.


Growing up on a cattle ranch in southeastern Montana, Martha is a talented ag writer and photographer who lives with her family in Billings, Montana.

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