Establishing a good stand in the spring is the best way to set your crop up for success in the fall, and Pioneer Agronomist Jonathon Rotz says that starts with a well-maintained planter.
“Yield is established at planting and being even an inch off can lead up to almost three bushels of yield loss,” he said. “This is a direct product of planting, which means the planter has to be in top shape for the spring.”
Inspecting the planter while there is still time to replace worn parts and make adjustments helps ensure there is no lost time getting seeds in the ground.
“One of the first checks you should perform on your planter are the bushings and parallel arms,” Rotz said. “Worn bushings increase row bounce, which increases seed bounce. The arms should be stiff and rigid, with no slop.”
Rotz lists several other important plant checklist items, including:
The drive system. Kinks in the chain can cause shock and vibration in the meter.
Seed tubes and belt drives. Inspect seed tubes or belt drives for wear and replace if necessary.
Calibration. All the maintenance in the world is for naught if you head to the field without calibrating the planter.
Planters that are properly prepared, maintained, and adjusted for residue cover, soil type, and soil moisture conditions provide the best return on investment.