Leveling the tillage tools

Before you use your tillage implement this spring, make sure it’s level from front to back, and side to side. There are two reasons why. One, you don’t want to create any ridges of soil at different depths in the field. And the second is, when the planter goes through, it might struggle to put seeds at the right depth in some areas.

Ryan Bergman is a program specialist at Iowa State University. He says to check the tires first to be sure they’re in good condition and at the right pressures. Over or under-inflation can cause the cultivator to run deeper or shallower. Then, put the implement on a level surface and unfold the wings.

"Put the machine in whatever hydraulic mode you would typically operate it in, for most machines that’s in a float-type position. And then, typically what we’ve seen most manufacturers recommend for a variety of reasons is lower the tool down to within a couple inches of the ground. And then get out and just start measuring across it," says Bergman. "You want to measure both laterally across it, so from right to left of the tool but also from front to back of the tool as well, we want to check the levelness there."

There will be some natural variance in that due to wear-and-tear of the shanks and other parts of the machine. He says not to be too concerned unless you see differences that are greater than an inch.

"If you see differences left to right, or on the wings versus on the center section, typically we’re going to adjust those by some of the linkages that connect those to the main frame. If we see differences forward to backwards, or front to rear on the machine, that can often be a coupling issue, you know, the hitch is higher than what it used to be and we need to level the machine back out front to back," he says. "It depends on the machine, but usually there’s some connection or some type of coupling that you can level the machine front to back with."