9 Tips To Getting Your Planter Ready For Optimal Results In Spring

ProTrakker Guidance Systems has put together nine tips to help you get your planter ready for spring planting.

Are you and your planter ready to take on the planting season this year? To ensure an efficient and successful spring, you should make sure your planter is in peak condition to deliver optimal results. By neglecting this vital implement, parts are more prone to wear, affecting performance and your bottom line. The ProTrakker team has put together a checklist of tips to help you prep your planter.

1. Look At Disc Opener Blades

One of the first areas of the planter that needs inspection is the disc opener blades. To form an optimal seed trench and have correct seed placement, the disc blade contact should be 1 to 1.5 inches. Shims can be used to maintain contact on slightly worn disc blades, but overall, you should replace worn blades.

2. Inspect the Inner Scraper or Inner Seed Tube Guard

Another important component that should be checked is the inner scraper or inner seed tube guard. This mechanism protects the shank and seed tube, leading to uniform seed placement by preventing material from building up on the inside of the discs. New scrapers usually measure around 7/8 of an inch. When they wear down to just 5/8 of an inch, you should replace the scraper. At that worn-down measurement, the scraper will no longer protect the shank and seed tube.

3. Check Out Gauge Wheels

Ensure that the gauge wheels have light contact with the blade (where the disc opener blades come together) when the mechanism is in the operating position. Having light contact between the wheels and the blade helps prevent loose dirt and debris from getting lodged in-between the two components.

4. Check Closing Wheels

Along with the gauge wheels, examine the closing wheels' condition by making sure the pivot points are in a good, sturdy condition and not too loose. Check to see if there are any severely worn or broken springs that would offset the closing wheel position. You should also assess the closing wheel pivot points to ensure that the wheels aren't unsecured. The wheels should be centered with the seed trench. If you are planting in heavy residue, you can either adjust the wheels so they're slightly off-center or equip shields for the wheels to help prevent material buildup.

5. Set Down Pressure

Make sure that you have your planter's down pressure set to create uniform seed-to-soil contact for the type of soil conditions you have. All soils will vary; make sure you get proper seed depth by paying close attention to down pressure.

6. Calibrate Seed Meters

You should test the seed meters before heading out to the field. You can test them yourself using seeds that you might have on hand, but having the meters inspected by a professional technician can ensure you are getting the most accurate results. The components of seed meters should also be evaluated for wear and replaced if worn.   

7. Inspect Parallel Arms

The parallel arms on the front of the row-unit should be looked at, making sure all of the bolts and bushings are tight and that the down pressure springs are in good condition. Replace any missing or worn springs; they are vital to getting the job done right.

8. Test Your Setup

Once you feel comfortable with your planter adjustments and inspections, it is a good practice to do a test run before fully planting a field. You can inspect the configuration by planting a small patch in the field and digging up a few rows to ensure that the desired seed depth and spacing are achieved. Check for any seed skips, improperly closed rows, or undesirable seed depth.

9. Consider Getting A ProTrakker Hydraulic Hitch

Once your planter is set up for success, ensure all of your time and effort doesn't get wasted due to implement drift or imperfect guess rows by utilizing precision hitch guidance technology, such as ProTrakker Hydraulic Hitches. Compatible with nearly all tractors, ProTrakker's GPS-ready implement guidance will bring more accuracy to your precision agriculture operation.

For more information about ProTrakker Guidance Systems, visit ProTrakker.com.