Inspecting and adjusting your planter’s components can help ensure picket-fence, photocopy plants that reach their full yield potential.

Before planting season ramped up last spring, David Brennan, Case IH Crop Production Product Specialist had been busy conducting clinics for Early Riser® planters across his territory, which includes portions of Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska and South Dakota. He offers great advice that bears repeating and will help you get your planter in top condition again this season.

When you pull your planter into that first field each spring, what’s your mindset? Excitement? Anticipation? Cautious optimism? By first putting yourself in the mindset of the seed you’re planting, you can head to the field with confidence.

In my clinics, I recommend that as you prepare your planter, you think like the seed you’re planting. This can help you understand how every component on your planter is designed to perform a specific task that supports an agronomic driver. These agronomic drivers align into a couple of categories:

Agronomic drivers for photocopy plants

  1. Proper seed depth. Know what to check.
    • Disc openers. Confirm the size (diameter) and the shimming or blade contact, which should not exceed ⅛-inch.
    • Down pressure. Make sure the air compressor works; check lines for leaks. For spring down pressure units, inspect spring integrity and ensure they can be adjusted to field conditions.
  2. Uniform seed depth. Ensure consistency across the planter.
    • Tire pressure. This impacts two factors: seed depth and wheel speed. When operating at speeds slower than 2 mph, the planter wheels are the primary speed source. Improper inflation can cause small population changes.
    • Zero out row units. Review your operators manual for specifics, but this is an important step anytime you make changes to ground-engaging components.
  3. Seed-to-soil contact. Helps ensure fast, uniform germination.
    • Furrow forming point. Use the wear gauge that came with your new planter (also available through the Case IH Partstore) to verify it is intact and not worn out.
  4. Uniform and proper soil pressure. Ensure consistency around the seed.
    • Closing disks. Check for wear. I often see these worn well beyond the 7.5-inch diameter replacement recommendation. Keep in mind that the down pressure on the closing disks also is adjustable to varying tillage practices and soil types.
    • Press wheels. Ensure the zero-pressure press wheel is in good condition and not split or packed full of dirt.

Agronomic drivers for picket-fence stands

  1. Accurate seed population. Make sure you’re planting the desired number of seeds.
    • Advanced Seed Meter. All mating components (the cover and seed disk) should be flat, and the singulators should rotate freely and without any flat spots. Lubricate only with powdered graphite.
  2. Accurate in-row seed spacing. Matching seed to metering components will help ensure consistent spacing.
    • Check your seeds. When you receive your seed from your dealer, review sizes and verify that seed disk selection — especially for soybeans — is correct.

Thinking like a kernel of seed corn or a soybean may seem odd. But when you visualize how seeds move through your planter, you can better understand how each component brings together the elements necessary for fast, uniform emergence.