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Planter prep: Parts may be worn more than you think

Planter prep: Parts may be worn more than you think
Compare your worn planter part to a new part and see the difference.

Unless it's something like a disk opener that has a known original diameter, often 15 inches, you may not notice wear on other planter parts that easily. There obviously will be some wear, but you may think it's not that big of a deal.

Related: Planter preparation checklist: These 15 recommendations can pay dividends

Pete Illingworth, who is a mechanic and who runs the planter at the Throckmorton Purdue Ag center near Romney, likes to get a new part and compare to his current part on the planter just to be sure. He does it every spring when he goes through the planter. If you haven't done it yet there is still time.

More wear than it looks: The scraper on the planter, left, may not look that worn until you compare it to a new one, shown on the right.

Often he finds out that when he puts a new part up against the worn part on the planter, the difference is striking. Typically the part is worn more than one would have imagined just looking at it. That doesn't mean every part has to be replaced every year, depending on how many acres you plant with the planter in a given season. But it does mean that knowing how much wear is taking place and how the unit will function with a well-worn part instead of a replacement part is important.

Don't overlook spring planter preparation – if you skip it, you could be subject to the bottom-line implications of not minding the details. For helpful tips, download our free report: Planter Preparation Tips: Best Practices for Minimizing Breakdowns this Spring

Planter parts that wear and wear enough to affect performance include everything from simple disk opener scrapers that keep the openers free of moist dirt to the pins in gauge wheel assemblies.

Some things are easy and relatively inexpensive to replace – others cost more per row. But Illingworth contends that if you allow wear to get ahead of you, it can affect key planter functions. Those include singulation of seed, placement of seed and the number of doubles and skips that you encounter while planting.

Related: Why you might need a new planter hitch

He uses a 20/20 Seed Sense monitor from Precision Planting, and it has helped him see the value of keeping the planter in top shape if you want properly spaced seed and even emergence.

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