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Feature Article

Preseason Planter Maintenance Tips

Posted on March 24, 2014

Topics: Industry Insight

Planting season is just around the corner and now is the time to ensure your planter is ready for the field. With some basic maintenance, you can achieve a more uniform stand and get your crop on the right track to optimal yield. Here are some guidelines for improving planter performance.

Level the planter
Check the hitch height and make sure the frame is level and parallel to the ground when the planter is in the planting position. The distance between the bottom of the frame and the planting surface should be approximately 20 to 22 inches.1

Check parallel linkage
Check the measurements between the arms to ensure they are level. Also evaluate the bolts and bushings through a rocking test, by wiggling the row unit up and down, as well as back and forth to make sure bushings are tight.2

Inspect Chains and Drive System
Inspect drive shafts for wear. Replace any worn out bearings, sprockets and chains. Ensure all chains are lubricated and running smoothly.3

Calibrate seed meters
Clean the meter unit and replace any worn or broken parts. Also, calibrate your meter unit for the specific size and shape of seed you will be planting.4

Check gauge wheels
Make sure gauge wheels have good contact against the blade when in the operating position. Remember to check and adjust depth to field conditions.1

Measure disc opener blades
Proper disk opener setup creates the optimal V-shaped opening for planting. For most planter models, new disc openers are 15 inches in diameter and should be replaced once the diameter has reduced to 14.5 inches. Also, the point of contact for most double-disk openers is 2 to 2.5 inches. Refer to your planter operator manual for the recommended disc diameter and point of contact.3

Examine seed tubes and guards
As seed tubes wear out, they can curl and catch seeds. If this is present, replace the seed tube. In addition, seed tube guards need to be within their minimum width in order to prevent damage to the seed tube. It is recommended to change the guards each time the seed tube is changed.3

Align closing wheels
Double check the closing wheels are centered over the seed trench. One way to check this is to set the planter on concrete and pull ahead about five feet. Evaluate the mark made by the disc openers; it should be centered between the closing wheels. If the mark isn’t centered, then adjust closing wheels until centered.2



1Kinze Recommends Planter Maintenance – Kinze Manufacturing

2Planter Tune-up Tips – Precision Planting

3 Ready, Set, Plant – Darrell Smith, Farm Journal

4The Time for Planter Maintenance is Here – Sjoerd Duiker, Penn State Extension

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