Maintenance is a vital part of keeping your planter in top condition at all times. Our team has seen first-hand the issues a lack of maintenance can cause with planters.
There have been so many fantastic products developed to help enhance the planter's performance, but even when technology is at its finest, it's going to fail if it's placed on a weary planter.
The number one culprit for these failures is the small parts that aren't being examined, replaced, or maintained. Even if these planter parts are small, they're causing a lot of big issues when they're not taken care of properly.
Before new technology can improve the performance of planters, we must first learn how to keep our planters' maintained at all times.
Today, we will show you ten vital parts you should be maintaining on your planter and how to maintain them.
1. How To Maintain Your Row Cleaners
Row cleaners are an absolute necessity for your maintenance list. You want to ensure that you're removing any residue, so the seed is only in contact with the soil.
To make sure your row clears are maintained, spin them first to ensure they don't have any loose bearings. Next, you should check the frame and make sure all the pivot bushings are tight and secure.
If anything needs maintenance, then you should take care of it right away before planting season starts.
2. Maintaining Your Parallel Arm BushingsYour parallel arm bushings are an essential part of your planter, so you want to make sure the row-unit moves smoothly.
The most important part to focus on here is the upper and lower parallel arms and all the legs attaching them to the row-unit.
Inspect it for any wear and tear by moving the row-unit vertically from the back to check for vertical movement and horizontally for the horizontal movement.
If you're unsure whether these components are worn or not, replace the parts on one row and compare them to the older ones.
3. How To Maintain Your Seed FirmerChecking the condition and the tension of your firmer is incredibly important when it comes to planter maintenance.
Check out the shape of your firmer. If it's been worn into a V shape, then it's going to need replacing. Make sure it's riding the bottom of the trench too.
You can check the tension of the firmer by using a fish scale. Take a string, loop it around the firmer, and pull up. If you don't reach 20 ounces of tension, then you're going to have to replace the firmer.
4. Maintaining The Seed TubeGet your hands on a tape measure and measure your guards. They should be at least ¾ of an inch wide at the start of any new season. If it's less than ¾ of an inch, then it's time to replace the seed tube guard with a brand new one.
To ensure good spacing in the field, inspect your seed tubes to make sure there's no wear or tear at the bottom. If there is, you're going to have to get them replaced to ensure everything is planted correctly.
5. How To Maintain Your Disk Openers
Disk openers create the furrow that the seeds are deposited into. If you want this process to go smoothly, then you should make sure your disk openers are maintained at all times.
If your disk opener isn't maintained correctly, then you could end up causing erratic emergence and losing yield.
As soon as your disk openers wear 1/2 inches from their original diameter, they should be replaced if they're not, they could also end up wearing down your seed tube guard.
6. Maintaining the Gauge Wheel ShimmingHaving uniform emergence means that every one of your seeds will be planted in the same moisture environment. If you don't want to affect your uniform emergence, you have to ensure your gauge wheel shipping is maintained.
To check if your gauge wheel shimming needs replacing, lift the gauge wheel to the planting position and pull away. Here you can check the slop in the gauge wheel arm to see if they're worn out. If they are, then replace them right away with new components.
7. How To Maintain The Depth Adjustment LinkageTo keep your depth adjustment linkage in top condition, always check the following components for wear:
- - Depth adjustment handle
- - Depth stop
- - Gauge wheel arm
If you notice that your gauge wheel arm has a divot in it or is missing material, or there's a lot of wear on the depth stop, then you have a problem, and you should get it seen right away.
8. Closing Wheel Spacing & AlignmentChecking For Proper Alignment
Begin by feeling any excessive side-to-side motion. This will tell you it's time to check the bushings and mounting holes of the closing tail and replace them.
As soon as the closing tail is tightly aligned, set the planter down on concrete and roll forward about 3 feet or so, and make a mark.
Check behind each row unit to make sure the wheels are centered over that mark. If they're not centered, then adjust them until they are.
Checking The Distance
The distance between the closing wheels shows you that you're going to achieve the best trench closure possible.
If it's too narrow, then it'll be pinched at the top of the trench, and it'll leave an air gap around the seed. If it's too wide, then you could end up with an open furrow.
2 ½ inches from the bottom center to the bottom center tends to be the perfect distance.
Checking The Pressure
You'll be able to determine whether or not you can maintain the right amount of pressure to close a trench by taking a bathroom scale and sliding it under each row-unit.
All you have to do is place each closing tail on the same notch and lower the planter.
Make sure each spring is in good working condition and apply the same amount of tension. You'll be able to see if you're getting significant differences from row to row and if you are, then it's time to change out those springs.
9. Take Care Of Your Meter Drive System
Vibrations caused by mechanical components like chains and sprockets can cause a meter to create skips, doubles, and even spacing errors over time.
So, be sure to check the following parts for wear to ensure your meter drive system stays intact:
- - Chains and sprockets
- - Tensioner and idler pulleys
- - Hex shaft bearings
- - Hex shaft alignment
10. Meter CalibrationMaking sure your meter is running accurately at all times is vital for your success in the fields. If you need to get your meter calibrated, we'd recommend bringing it to a professional to get checked over.
They'll be able to tell you if you have any worn components that need to be replaced. They'll also be able to set your meter, so it gives you the highest level of accuracy possible.
We recommend bringing your meter in to be calibrated often so you can rest assured knowing that your meter will give you the best results possible when you're in the field.
We hope you’ve enjoyed our top ten planter maintenance tips. If you’d like to get more fantastic planter maintenance advice then head over and check out this video series by Precision Planting where you can learn everything you need to know about maintaining your planter.
Want to make sure you’ve hit everything in our guide to planter maintenance? Download the checklist today so you can continue to keep your planter in top condition.
Do you have some planter maintenance queries that need answering right away? Get in contact with our team of experts today, we’d be happy to answer your questions.