Winter meetings have led to discussions on planting with greater speed, increased depth accuracy, superior seed placement, and better seed singulation.  I consider these the “sexy” topics, but what about the non-sexy topics (the basics)?  Spending money on all sorts of add-ons will never improve your planter performance if the components that touch the soil are not well maintained or assembled properly.

  • Gauge wheel spacing to disc must be snug.  Having the wheel snug ensures the seed trench stays intact.
  • Seed disc replacement
    • 15” blade that is now down to 14 ½” must be thrown away.
    • 1 ½” contact – not the 2 ¼” like it used to be – these discs don’t flex like they used to.
  • Parallel arms & bushings
    • In the up position, lift up and to the left on the unit. Watch for any movement – 1 to 1 ½” movement is too much.
    • Bottom linkages will be the first to go – so look here first.
    • Parallel arms & bushings can be left sided or right sided.  Make sure you have the right one for the job.
  • Drive Line
    • Chains – any chatter while the chain drives will cause a vibration or jerky movement within the seed metering system.  All that “sexy” accuracy talk goes out the window with a stiff joint or two on a chain.
    • Slight changes make the biggest differences!  New tires, more or less air and bigger tires can all lead to many things affecting seeding drop.
    • Cutting coulters – beveled edges must still be visible in order to cut through residue, otherwise throw them away.
    • Keaton seed firmers are a must-have (all rows!!).  It is the last piece of the planter to touch the seed.  Ensuring good seed to soil contact is a must.  Floating seeds will lead to uneven emergence.

Kirk Van Will, CCA-ON, Maizex Seeds Yield Specialist, West Middlesex & Lambton Counties
Twitter: @KirkVanWill