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Machinery Insider Tip: Remove Buildup for Meter Accuracy
The treatments on seed corn are essential to crop performance, but do pose a challenge to planter meter accuracy if you don't take a few precautions, warns Successful Farming’s planter doctor Kevin Kimberley.
Kimberley explains that you must be diligent removing seed treatment building from inside seed meters. “And I highly recommend mixing an 80-20 talc-graphite mixture in the seed during planting,” he adds.
Kimberley says changes in treatments in the past decade have resulted in texture inconsistency among treatments. “I'm not talking about differences among hybrids from different companies,” he says. “The texture (smooth vs. gritty) and thickness of the coating can vary on the same hybrid treated at different plants. Higher or lower humidity the day the seed was treated could account for these differences, for example.”
The talc-graphite additive smooths out texture differences “making different hybrids equally slick, thus improving their ability to freely flow through a meter,” Kimberley says.
Also, the additive helps minimize treatment buildup on key meter components such as fingers and belts (in finger pickup meters) or seals and brushes (on pneumatic meters). “Treatment can adhere like contact cement to some parts such as rubber seals,” he says. “Simple soap and water often isn't adequate to remove it. We use a spray surface solvent for removal. And if you don't remove it every year, treatment can build up to the point that it affects accuracy.”
Removing buildup is essential to maintaining meter accuracy. “If you don't remove buildup, it gets progressively worse, plugging holes in meters or impacting the ability of seals to maintain contact,” Kimberley warns.