Four Operations Your Planter Must Do Next Spring

Corn Illustrated: Add-on attachments aren't the answer, good seed placement is!

Published on: Dec 24, 2013

How many attachments you have for your planter doesn't matter if you don't get good seed placement, and that won't happen unless you can do four things, says Paul Jasa, long time Extension engineer at the University of Nebraska and a recognized expert when it comes to long-term, continuous no-till systems.

"The first thing you must do is cut the residue," Jasa says. "That doesn't mean you need three no-till coulters hung on front. It doesn't mean you need even one no-till coulter on front. It means you can penetrate and cut residue with seed openers."

Jasa is not a fan of coulters in long-term, continuous no-till. He doesn't find that coulters are necessary when well-maintained openers can do the job.

Nothing fancy: Paul Jasa says it doesnt take a fancy planter or a home-made rig like this one with all types of gadgets to get the job done.
Nothing fancy: Paul Jasa says it doesn't take a fancy planter or a home-made rig like this one with all types of gadgets to get the job done.

Second, you must be able to regulate the seed depth, and maintain it at a constant depth below the surface across the field, Jasa says. In continuous no-till it doesn't take residue wheels to do this, he says. He doesn't use residue wheels in his plots. It also doesn't mean tilling fields and knocking down corn stalks left by the combine. He prefers to plant into standing stalks so that the root ball is still attached, and not free to move and cause problems at planting.

The third thing you must accomplish at planting is obtain seed-to-soil contact, Jasa says. There are a myriad of ways that companies go about trying to get good seed-to-soil contact. However, they do it, the point is that each seed is at a uniform depth, in contact with the soil and that sidewall soil compaction is not an issue.

Finally, the fourth requirement is to close the seed trench. Jasa has found that standard rubber press wheels typically do a good job of closing the seed trench in most situations. If you begin trying other attachments, you may create sidewall compaction or actually flip out the seed if you're not careful.