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7 No-Till Planter Tune-Up Tips

Experts explain how getting planters into tip-top shape now can save time and money later, while improving yields

With the planting season less than 2 months away, it’s time to make sure planters are in tip-top shape.

Two planter experts with decades of experience — David Moeller, Moeller Ag Service in Keota, Iowa, and Phil Needham, Needham Ag Technologies in Calhoun, Ky., — share their troubleshooting advice for no-tillers.

In addition to these troubleshooting tips, Moeller also suggests growers consider new technologies for their planter to save money and increase yields.

1. Level The Planter

Make sure the planter is level, Moeller says. Changing tires on the tractor or pulling the planter with a different tractor from the prior year can change the levelness of the planter.

Changing the air pressure in tires can affect the level of the planter, too, he says.

2. Scrutinize Disc Openers

Sound disc openers are the key to effectively opening the seed slot, Needham says.

Most new planter disc openers are 15 inches in diameter with a 0.5-inch bevel. When they wear to less than 14 inches in diameter, they should be replaced.

Disc openers should be adjusted together by removing spacers behind the hubs to obtain 1 to 3 inches of disc contact.

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“Disc-opener contact distance and pressure vary by disc blade thickness and by manufacturer, so be sure to check with the operator’s manual or dealer for optimal settings for your planter,” he says.

Make sure gauge-wheel pivots are not worn to the point they flex away from disc openers, Moeller says.

As gauge-wheel pivots wear, they pull away from…

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Dan Zinkland

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