Preparing for planting

“When it comes to planting, preparation is the key as any breakdowns in the field due to planter malfunction or planting mistakes can cost growers both valuable time and money,” according to a March 17 University of Georgia Extension blog.

Before heading to the field, the agency recommends a 12-point checklist to ensure a planter is well maintained and dialed in for peak performance during planting.

Writers Simerjeet Virk and Wesley Porter suggest that farmers stand behind the row unit and wiggle it up and down and left to right to check for any play in the parallel arms. Adjusting or replacing linkages and bushings helps ensure that row units are secured on the planter.

Farm equipment operators should also check all chains, idlers, sprockets and bushings, looking for worn parts. Drive chains should be snug. Lubricating chains and sprockets should be routine before and during planting season.

The writers also note that improper tire pressure negatively affects seed placement due to improper levelling of the planter toolbar. Double Disc Openers should be sharp and within the diameter outlined by the manufacturer. They recommend a quick check using a business card to ensure adequate contact (1.75 to 2 inches) between the disc openers at the 4 o’clock position. Also, they suggest adjusting the gauge wheels so that they run tight against the disc openers but just enough so they can easily be turned by hand with slight pressure.

Row cleaners, vacuum systems and seed meters should be checked for any wear and worn or damaged parts should be replaced. Seed tubes should be cleaned properly to clear away any obstructions. An inspection and static diagnostic test on air or hydraulic connections verifies the downforce system is functioning properly.

The farming industry is technologically dependent these days. A check is recommended to confirm that the GPS receiver and planter display have the most recent firmware upgrades.

More information on the 12-point checklist is available at www.site.extension.uga.edu.

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