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Adjust your planter and cut yield losses

Agriculture.com Staff 07/06/2010 @ 5:21pm

Taking time during the winter to be certain that your planter is in proper operating condition for the upcoming planting season is one of the keys to starting right and finishing right with this year's crop. Improper seed placement caused by a poorly maintained planter can result in yield losses of 10 to 20%.

Proper operating condition means that your planter will be able to accurately deliver the seed you've selected into a seedbed of your choice at the desired plant population. It also means that the seed will be placed at the selected depth for proper seed-to-soil contact in a band of moisture to allow for rapid and uniform germination and emergence.

Make sure the air pressure is properly adjusted for the weight of seed being planted if using an air- or vacuum-type planter.

Make sure that seed drop tubes are clear and free of any obstructions.

Make certain that the drive chains are properly adjusted and at the correct tension on all drive sprockets.

Understand the interaction between ground speed and planter seed "drop."

Know the correct ground speed for the desired planting rate.

Clean and lubricate all drive chains and grease all bearings and fittings.

Check for adjustment and wear on double-disc openers and replace if needed.

Check planter monitor for proper operation.

When you begin planting, remember that speed can kill your yields.

Check your planting equipment often and maintain it within the specifications outlined in the operator's manual. Work with your dealer or the equipment manufacturer if calibration problems develop that you cannot solve. ~ Release from Mycogen Seeds

Do you have an agronomy question? Email cheryl.rainford@meredith.com. We'll send some of the most common questions to professionals in the industry and see what they say. Look for answers in upcoming Agro-Connect Ask the Experts columns.

Taking time during the winter to be certain that your planter is in proper operating condition for the upcoming planting season is one of the keys to starting right and finishing right with this year's crop. Improper seed placement caused by a poorly maintained planter can result in yield losses of 10 to 20%.

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