April 30, 2015
Last spring, my husband, Chris, came to me and said, "I'll need you to plant beans today."
Now I have done my fair share of field work, but I prefer to leave the planting to someone else. I mean, if I miss a spot Turbo-tilling or cultivating, we will still have a crop. But you leave a pie shape planting and there is no crop – we would have to look at it all summer!
Chris convinced me I was up to the challenge when he said, "It's only beans, there's really nothing to it. Put the planter down, drive, pick the planter up, turn, put the planter back down."
He said he would have someone help me fill, but "just keep that planter moving!"
Graphite is not my color: If a row isn't working right this year, the first thing I am going to do is check the seed meter brushes! I definitely won't be adding more graphite.
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So off to the field I went in the John Deere 4640 dragging the 8/15 split row Kinze behind me – ready to plant some beans. While planting beans doesn't require as many monitors and buzzers screaming at me as corn, Chris' theory of "just put the planter down and drive" was a little on the simplified side.
We don't have auto-steer in the JD 4640, so there was the whole steering straight thing, along with making sure the right marker was down for the next round to be straight. The row unit monitor chirped at me!
Yes, the row unit monitor chirped at me – oh, row three. How you and I went round and round! Really, it was me going round and round – in and out of the tractor – to see what your problem was. Two days we fought together.
Every time I would call Chris he would say, "just add more graphite." I added graphite and then more graphite and still more graphite.
Turns out, lack of graphite wasn't the problem. I plugged the meter with it! Eventually, we took the unit apart. Of course it was full of seed, seeing as it wasn't working properly, and we had hardly planted anything when we looked at it. We eventually took it to the dealer and they suggested we change the brushes in the seed meter.
It seemed too simple but it worked. The brush in row three was the same age as the other rows but something was different. The seed we were planting was really large, 2400 seeds per pound, apparently the seed and brush just weren't working together.
The moral of the story: a $6 part can save a gallon of graphite, a bottle of aspirin, a bar of soap and two days of hardly any planting.
Jennifer - 0; Graphite - 1.
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