My opportunity to get a real feel for fieldwork in the past few days included a few hours of no-till planting soybeans with a Kinze split-row planter. It was an 8-row with splitters, making ti 15-inch rows. Each row was connected to a standard Kinze monitor.
The monitor displayed population, but also shows what percent of seed each of the 16 rows is dropping. If something goes wrong and a row stops working, it's supposed to beep.
Naturally, it beeped while I was at the wheel. It looked like row 4 had a problem. But I raised the planter, lowered it, tried it again and it worked. I stopped, got off, dug for beans. Sure enough, I even checked every row and every row had beans planted in it.
About five minutes later it did it again. The Kinze engineers certainly equipped it with a loud, annoying beep that you aren't going to miss. This time I got off, checked the chains on every row, looked it over carefully, but still couldn't find a problem.
Since the beeping continued, I called the farmer who was planting corn. He said it was probably nothing, but he would come check it out. Having driven plenty of older vehicles where one sensor light or another comes on and doesn't affect anything that keeps you from driving, I figured he was probably right.
He told me to finish planting to the end, so I did. By the time I got to the end, the monitor was so mad at me that it suddenly displayed 'failed' in big letters. I don't know if that meant the planter was a failure, or me. I was kind of thinking me!
It didn't take the farmer long to figure it out. The one thing I didn't check, dummy me, was the seed tubes. Sure enough, on row 4, the seed tube was filled with beans. Even before monitors, that happened. In those days it was usually from a dirt clod at the bottom of the planer shoe.
This time it was something completely different. Fortunately, it wasn't my fault. The two bolts holding the soybean sed meter cup in place at the bottom of the box had worked loose and fell out. So the metering cup was no longer supported by anything.
The farmer figured he likely forgot to tighten that pair when he put on new brushes this spring. That was a relief- not my fault….this time!
There is a moral to this story. Sometimes the monitors and buzzers and beepers technology has produced actually do work. If they say there is a problem, there just might be a problem. You've just got to be smart enough to figure out what it is!