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February 3, 2023
Starting a new crop is the beginning of a new year for most farms, but it’s also a time when taking care of a key piece of equipment can make a big difference in spring success. The planter is a complex tool that must be precise when the weather is right to hit the field. A new free guide from Farm Progress offers information to get that planter in tip-top shape.
The free guide can be downloaded and works on your smartphone, tablet and desktop device. It’s a versatile format that helps create a living document with links, multimedia and more. Here’s a rundown of the sections for this planter guide.
From air hoses to vacuum seal (ok, we didn’t get to Z) you’ll find quick tips for setting up that planter to be as precise as possible. That’s important because crop emergence can have a significant impact on yield. This alphabetical look at key planter components includes tips for what to check, and what might need replacing before spring arrives.
For example, the opening entry is “air hoses.” For planters using a vacuum, or pressure, system, checking the pneumatic system on that planter is critical to making sure seed moves from hopper to the ground in a precise fashion. Machines that sit for a season could experience cracks in those hoses, but it’s an easy issue to check.
Or how about GPS calibration? It’s an area farmers tend to overlook when going through the rigorous mechanical checks that machine requires. The guide offers a simple tip for calibrating that receiver right in the shop driveway, it’s time well spent to keep that machine on track during the season.
This full list of items to check may be repetitive to some reading through the items, but chances are you’ll see something you missed or didn’t consider as you read this part of the guide.
Farmers have questions about setting up planters, and Farm Progress turned to some experts to help find the answers. In this Q&A section, farmer questions were posed to planter experts to determine the right approaches to solve the problems presented.
From determining the value of downforce systems to dealing with green crop wrapping on row cleaners, there are some interesting questions posed in this section of the guide. Farmers also asked about the seed trench, best closing wheel options and compaction behind center-fill planters.
All are challenging questions, but this guide offers some answers for those who have pondered the issues in the past.
Even veteran no-tillers are constantly refining their techniques and equipment for better results. In this section of the free guide, we look at the key factors to review when prepping that planter to run in no-till.
This section digs in on what makes a no-till planter different than a planter set up for conventional tillage. It’s possible to turn your existing planter into a no-till wonder, but it takes work. This section shares key parts of the planter that need attention, including the double-disk openers.
Planting into heavy residue can challenge the toughest planter, but sharp disk openers can make a big difference, slicing the residue to open that soil for seed.
One idea floated in this guide section is to call in a mentor to check over your planter. A veteran no-till farmer has seen it all, and can help those just getting started with information they can use to profit. This section of the guide has a few tips on who might be the best mentor and how best to work with them.
And there’s a discussion regarding whether you need to upgrade to a new planter for best results.
In this special video presentation, part of the Farm Progress 365 seasonal session series, Pete Illingworth, farm technician, Throckmorton Purdue Agricultural Center. He’s responsible for keeping all machines running in top shape. In this video, which was recorded in the farm shop, he walks through the planter and discusses key factors to consider when prepping for planting.
He shares a front-to-back look at the planter discussing openers, parallel arms, downforce systems and more as he goes through a planter in the shop. The video is filled with insights for getting your planter in top shape for the new season.
Got a planter that’s been a good performer, but you think it could do better? In this section, the free guide offers tips on what you can do to boost planter performance, including what add-ons you might consider first. And top of that list is replacing worn parts, which sometimes gets put off in the busy season, but needs attention before the new season begins.
This section not only covers the wear parts that need attention but also new items you may need to update the machine, such as a new planter monitor. Precision at planting time is critical to your bottom line when combines roll.
Taking an honest look at your planter and engaging in upgrades, or fixing worn parts, will be important to getting the machine ready for better crop emergence, which boosts yields.
Building on this free guide is a resource section which includes links to a wide range of stories dealing with planters. The guide was built from these resources, and if you want to dig further, check out the links you’ll find in this section.
Willie Vogt has been covering agricultural technology for more than 40 years, with most of that time as editorial director for Farm Progress. He is passionate about helping farmers better understand how technology can help them succeed, when appropriately applied.
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