It’s been said that 90% of a crop’s potential is determined as soon as the planter is pulled out of the field. While that number may be high, the reality is planter setup can make or break a season.
“Many no-tillers are tripped up from the start by not setting up their drill or planter right,” Phil Needham told attendees at last January’s National No-Tillage Conference.
With all that’s on the line, it’s well worth the time and effort for producers to spend time in the shop this winter evaluating and adjusting their planters for the coming year.
No-Till Farmer asked no-tillers to share their best tips for improving drill and planter performance and here’s what they had to say.
In addition to the 1,500 acres Jim Hershey no-tills in Pennsylvania and Ohio, he also runs a custom-planting operation, so he’s seen all types of field conditions. The Elizabethtown, Penn., no-tiller raises corn, soybeans, wheat and barley.
“We plant 30-inch corn with a Case IH 1200 no-till planter and have a 30-foot John Deere air drill for planting beans, wheat and barley,” he says.
In addition to his main crops, Hershey plants cover crops in the fall, including cereal rye, oats and radishes. Add cover crops to no-till and the amount of residue increases, too.
“Most of my attachments address heavy crop residue,” he says. “We have a lot of rye residue and with Bt corn hybrids, it’s always a challenge because they don’t want to break down…