Barry Fisher stepped over to the Kinze soybean planter on Mike Brocksmith's farm near Vincennes. He pointed out the black tee-type handle on the rear of the planting unit. There are several slots. It controls the pressure exerted on the closing wheels on the planter. Brockmsith had the units set in the top hole, meaning the least pressure. That's where Fisher likes to see them set.
"You learn physics in high school and think it will never be applicable in life, especially if you farm," says Fisher, an agronomist and precision technology specialist with the Natural Resources Conservation Service. He's a sought-after speaker and trainer when it comes to the nitty-gritty details of making no-till and reduced tillage successful.
"This is one case where you would do yourself a factor by recalling your physics lessons," he says.
"Some people are tempted to drop that lever down a notch or maybe several notches to put more pressure on the closing wheels. Especially if conditions aren't perfect they may think the pressure will help them get better closure and better insurance of seed placement."
Just the opposite can happen if they put too much pressure on the units, he says. Due to physics, how you set that pressure on the closing wheels affects how the parts of the planter ahead of it operate. You can wind up with seed not at the depth you want, or with so much pressure that it actually affects seed placement.
Setting a planter is an operation that requires you to think before you act or think, make changes, then evaluate whether the changes are helping, he relates.
"I normally just don't like to see that much pressure on the closing wheels," he says. "Think before you go moving that handle to a notch that puts on more pressure."