The design is different. The mechanisms that singulate seed and prevent doubles are different. But there's one thing that's the same with new planter technology: Maintenance and replacement of worn parts is required.
Experts agree that maintaining the parts that contact the seed is still crucial to achieving uniform, picket-fence corn stands that emerge evenly in the field.
Pete Illingworth, mechanic and planter operator at the Purdue University Throckmorton Ag Center near Romney, converted the Max Emerge II John Deere planter to Precision Planting eSet seed meters a couple seasons ago. He likes the performance he gets with the new metering technology.
Illingworth says it's still necessary to go through the meters before each season. He opens them up and checks for wear on the parts that contact the seed. This year he is replacing some of the integral parts because of wear.
"The edges wear sharp on some of these intricate devices," Illingworth notes. "When you buy a new one and hold the old one up to it, you can really see the difference. The parts aren't that expensive. To keep units operating like they are supposed to and deliver the performance that we want, I am willing to check and change them out as needed."
After a few seasons you learn where the worst wear points are located on the planter. On finger-pickup units, once the most modern technology, they are brushes and other key points. Illingworth is figuring out where these key parts are on the new meters and is making it part of his annual maintenance routine to check in those spots for wear.
If the wear is not that great, he doesn't replace the parts, and just puts the units back together. However, he errs on the side of replacing the part rather than risk having a worn part affect planter performance in the field.