February 25, 2014
Who would knowingly give up 20 bushels of corn per acre? No one would in their right mind. Yet Bill Lehmkuhl says that if you run a central fill planter and fill it to the brim without accounting for the extra weight in the center of the planter for the first several rounds, you can give up at least that much on the center rows.
"We've seen it in tests we've done," he says. "The culprit is soil compaction, especially sidewall compaction. If the number three crown root to emerge becomes trapped in the seed trench, the plant will struggle to have normal development."
One thing you should do on any planter is to make sure the tongue is level and at a 90 degree angle with the ground.
Tire pressure matters: Precision Inflation, Inc. offers a way to lower air pressure in the field, and raise it for road travel.
"It may sound simple, but if it is nose-diving on the tongue, you may have planter units running such that they float seed up and it's not as deep as it should be."
Lehmkuhl is a farmer and owner or Precision Agri Services, Inc., Minster, Ohio. He recently addressed customers of Greene Ag Consulting, Inc., in Franklin.
The central fill planter problem can also be solved, Lehmkuhl says. "Just because tanks for seed are of a certain capacity doesn't mean you have to fill them full," he notes. The extra weight from full seed tanks puts more weight on the center of the planter during the first several rounds whole the tanks are still relatively full.
Another solution is to put weights on the two wings to help offset the weight in the center, he says. Taking the weight issue into account on a central fill planter is a key if you want to avoid compacting soil on the rows in the center of the planter pass.
Sally Brodbeck of Precision Inflation, LLC, offers another solution, or at least another aid to minimize compaction on all planters, and especially center-fill planters. She markets a system that consists of an air compressor and lines leading to planter tires.
"When you're going down the road you may need 90 pounds per square inch in those tires," she says. "But in the field you would be much better off with 30 pounds per square inch. Our product allows you to make those adjustments from the cab."
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