Above-normal winter temperatures have farmers anticipating an early spring. Many have even gotten a jump start on spring planting preparations.
Only so much preparation can be done in the shop. Take the time to get out of the cab — or have someone else help — to check row spacing and planting depth. Observations and planter adjustments are key to successful emergence scores.
It doesn’t pay to have your equipment in top working condition if you don’t wait for fit planting conditions. Missing the optimum planting window may have a 2-5% impact on final yield but an uneven emergence could cause 5-9% yield loss! Plant according to soil and weather conditions rather than by the calendar.
I’m as eager as any farmer to get seed in the ground. Plans are underway for five Latham® Technology Plots throughout our region, as well as hundreds of research plots that aid in product selection.
Our Product Team spends countless hours in research plots and in our customers’ fields, taking field notes. Our mutual goal is to help you maximize yield potential by placing the right Latham® product in the right field. FieldXField™ yields!
Keep these three key areas in mind as you prepare your planter for spring:
- Level the Planter Frame: As planters get wider, it’s important that frames are leveled from side to side and from front to back. This assures all row units have the same operating positions for disc openers and the parallel linkage works correctly. Also be sure all tires are properly inflated.
- Proper Meter Calibration is Critical in Seed Singulation for Precision Planting: If possible, take your row units someplace where they can run on a calibration stand. While the planter boxes are removed, check all drive chains or cables for rust or kinks. The drives must work smoothly, so the meters run consistently.
- Seed Drop and Placement: Inspect seed tubes for wear and replace as necessary. Installing a good seed firmer helps transition seed from the drop tube; it also firmly presses seed into the bottom of the trench, which aids planting depth consistency.
Be sure the opening wheels have a serviceable diameter and proper spacing, so the blades have a contact area of 1˝ to 2˝. If they are too wide, you will get more of a “W” in the seed trench, which affects planting depth. If there is too much pressure, discs will wear prematurely.
Gauge wheels and arms should be adjusted to just touch the side of the seed disc. Keep mud and debris from building up on the seed disc as it affects planting depth. Also ensure the closing wheels run true, so the trench closes over the seed.