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Before you park the planter, remember these tips

After planting is finished, do a little postseason maintenance now to prepare for next spring.

Curt Arens, Editor, Nebraska Farmer

May 6, 2024

3 Min Read
Brandon Christiansen (left) and his father, Rick, of Plainview, Neb. in front of farm equipment in shop
POSTSEASON CLEANUP: Brandon Christiansen (left) and his father, Rick, of Plainview, Neb., work on planter maintenance in their shop. Maintenance in the post-planting season, before parking the planter for the year, can help prepare the planter for next spring. Curt Arens

It’s “go time” across farm country. Spring means planting, long days and short nights. For farming neighbors to the south, planting has been finished for a while. But for most of the Plains and Midwest states — the Corn Belt — this is crunch time.

USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service reported corn planting ahead of the average over the past five years, but thunderstorms and severe weather in late April in many parts of the country have slowed planters down.

According to a Farm Futures survey in March, U.S. producers are expected to plant more than 92.4 million acres to corn, down 2.3 million acres from last year, and almost 86 million acres to soybeans, up 2.4 million acres from 2023.

Planting HHD fields

The corn harvest demonstration fields at the Husker Harvest Days show site west of Grand Island, Neb., were planted on time — from April 11-15. HHD farm manager Jason Luebbe reported that the fields were planted to 98- to 101-day maturity hybrids from Pioneer, Channel and Beck’s, so the fields would be dry enough to harvest easily during the show, which is set for Sept. 10-12.

Luebbe plants at a population of 34,500, and at a depth of 2.25 to 2.5 inches. Because of the early plant date, he puts down fungicide in furrow. “Moisture in the soil is very good right now,” Luebbe says. But he is ready to irrigate if timely rains are not forthcoming.

Related:FP Next: Planter prep tips from experts

With planting season rolling along, it won’t be long until farmers are ready to park the planter in the shed for the season. Anthony Styczinski, go-to market lead for planters and air seeding, and Paul Richardel, marketing lead for planting and spraying — both with John Deere — recently talked about a couple of important steps before parking the planter for the season to save on maintenance next spring.

Preventing mouse damage

If you don’t want to start your season in 2025 with a breakdown, post-planting season maintenance this year is the place to start, Styczinski says. Mouse damage is among the typical issues that can cause problems in the shed.

“Just clean your machine really well at the end of the season,” Richardel says. “It’s easier to clean it right when the planting season ends than to try to come back and find all the nests at catch points that happen and the catch material from the previous spring. That is where the mice are going to want to live. If you disrupt what they are there for, the little seeds and residue sitting on the frame, get that cleaned up, you’ll be starting off in a much better place than if you didn’t.”

“Essentially, you are making sure there is no food around for them to hang out and make it through winter,” Styczinski adds.

“Clean those tanks out and clean those meters off; empty them out,” Richardel says. “Pull those brush belts out at the end of the season. Pull your seed meters out, take the plates out and bowls off, and put them in a safe, dry place. That’s the best way to set yourself up for success in the next year.”

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About the Author(s)

Curt Arens

Editor, Nebraska Farmer

Curt Arens began writing about Nebraska’s farm families when he was in high school. Before joining Farm Progress as a field editor in April 2010, he had worked as a freelance farm writer for 27 years, first for newspapers and then for farm magazines, including Nebraska Farmer.

His real full-time career, however, during that same period was farming his family’s fourth generation land in northeast Nebraska. He also operated his Christmas tree farm and grew black oil sunflowers for wild birdseed. Curt continues to raise corn, soybeans and alfalfa and runs a cow-calf herd.

Curt and his wife Donna have four children, Lauren, Taylor, Zachary and Benjamin. They are active in their church and St. Rose School in Crofton, where Donna teaches and their children attend classes.

Previously, the 1986 University of Nebraska animal science graduate wrote a weekly rural life column, developed a farm radio program and wrote books about farm direct marketing and farmers markets. He received media honors from the Nebraska Forest Service, Center for Rural Affairs and Northeast Nebraska Experimental Farm Association.

He wrote about the spiritual side of farming in his 2008 book, “Down to Earth: Celebrating a Blessed Life on the Land,” garnering a Catholic Press Association award.

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