Preseason Planter Setup Checklist

Here are a few steps to get that planter up and running smoothly.

Published on: Mar 4, 2014

It doesn’t matter what kind of planter you have, or the type of seed metering device you’re using. As a grower, you should make sure all tools and technology are in good working order. Every manufacturer suggests checking and maintaining equipment on a regular basis, so why not follow their advice?

This is especially the case prior to any planting season, as it’s a good time to identify problems and get them corrected before fieldwork starts. And any costs incurred for planter-related maintenance are relatively low when compared to the impact poor performance and potential yield losses can have to your bottom line if your equipment isn’t operating properly.

GET READY: Following a few steps can make sure your planter is ready to roll.
GET READY: Following a few steps can make sure your planter is ready to roll.

So if you want to reduce occurrences of costly downtime and increase your chances of accurate seed drops, better plant-to-plant spacing in each row, and improved overall yields, consider the following tips when getting your planter
ready for the upcoming season:

* Do a visual inspection of everything; check for worn or damaged parts, and replace them.

* Clean everything, both inside and out.

* Check the seals on drums or vacuum disks, and replace them if necessary.

* Repair any rusty chain links, and lubricate the planter chains you don’t replace.

* Make sure disk openers and coulters are properly aligned, and replace openers that are worn out.

* Check monitors to make sure they’re clean and operating properly; clear any debris from the seed tubes, and check the ends of the tubes for deformities and excessive wear.

* Inspect finger pickup back plates, and look for rust, residue and worn-down dimples.

* Use the manufacturer’s recommended values to adjust the finger tension.

* Check the seed conveyor belt and the belt drive sprocket teeth for wear and brittleness, and replace them if necessary.

* Check the wiring harness for bad connections and wear.

* Make sure the frame of the planter is leveled and operating properly.

* Properly inflate tires, and check for significant wear.

* Check for software upgrades for your planter monitors, and back up the data collected from the previous season(s).

* Remove meters and take them to a technician or dealership for calibration.

* Always refer to your owner’s manual when it comes to proper setup and maintenance of your particular planter model.

- Yontz writes from Urbandale, Iowa.

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