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How You Know Pre-Season Maintenance Pays

How You Know Pre-Season Maintenance Pays
Consistent monitor readings sign of good performance.

The 8-row soybean planter with row splitters has some age on it. Coulters are starting to show wear, along with seed disc-openers. According to measurements, however, compared to new ones, they should have one season left in them. So you decided to delay that part of refurbishing this older planter until next season.

So is it field ready? Have you checked the brushes inside the metering units? And this applies to soybeans in planters with individual soybean seed metering cups too, not just to corn. If the brushes are worn, it could affect performance.

OK, you've heard the talk before. It reads like an operator's manual for the planrer. When brushes are worn, replace them. But does it really make a difference, or is it just hype to sell repairs?

One Indiana farmer elected to replace the brushes in the seed meters in all row units of the planer specified here. In the model on his Kinze planter, that involves replacing two types of brushes in each unit.

Was his time well spent? As soon as he planted for a day, he decided that it was a good investment. Last season, his monitor showing total seed count drop per acre varied about 5 to 6,000 seeds per acre from time to time. This year, the typical amount it varied was about 1,500 seeds per acre, or about 1%. While he doesn't have proof, he attributes it to the repairs he made on each unit. What he could demonstrate is that the monitor definitely is showing more consistent numbers of seeds dropped per acre this year compared to previous seasons.

So for this farmer, changing brushes, while involving some time, was relatively inexpensive, especially compared to trading for an entirely new planter. Now he can budget ahead for the other week he needs to do on it for next year. He should wind up with a planter that could handles soybeans for the next several seasons.

If you suspect your brushes are worn and rain provides down time, there's still time to change brushes and make other important observations and repairs to your planter before you finish the season. The result could be more actuate planting. That either sets the stage for higher yields, or comes in a year when not wasting seed is essential, given the high cost of seed.

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