Taking advantage of the downtime now to get your planter ready for spring will be worth your time, says Matt Hubsch, Legend Seeds senior agronomist, DeSmet, S.D.
A recent survey showed that farmers who calibrate planter units annually produce an extra 6 bushels per acre of corn, he says.
While the professionals work on your planter units, there are some do-it-yourself things you can do to the rest of the planter to get it ready for spring.
1) Measure the disc openers. Worn disc openers are the biggest culprit of yield loss each year. If there is more than a half inch of wear, consider changing them out. Worn disc openers won't properly cut crop residue, nor will they create a proper "V" in the seed trench; resulting in un-uniform emergence.
2) Align closing wheels. The easiest way to test closing wheel alignment is to lay the planter on concrete and pull ahead 6 to 8 feet. Look at the disc opener mark on the concrete and make sure the closing wheels line up on the right and left of the mark. If they don't, then they need to be realigned.
3) Upgrade to a spoke closing wheel. If you've been running a traditional, rubber closing wheel I suggest upgrading to a spoke closing wheel. Spoke closing wheels alleviate sidewall compaction, allow the soil to warm more quickly and permit more oxygen to reach the seed. All these factors lead to better root and plant development.Source: Legend Seeds