Is your planter ready to tackle the challenges of 2015? They may not be very different than those of 2014, but after last year's run through the field, there may be wear and tear on your planter – or a tweak or two to the planter tractor – that need a bit of attention.
First thoughts may drift to planter parts that typically see heavy wear, like disk openers and disk opener scrapers. Others may be parts that you don't think about replacing, or see often, like a hitch or meter. Still other areas of attention could be things that are easy to forget, like hydraulic loads and tire pressure.
With a special focus on planter maintenance and preparation, we've put together our most popular planter prep stories to help you address the maintenance of your own equipment – and provide a little TLC where needed.
1. Planter tire pressure/levelness of the planter. A few years ago, checking tire pressure on the planter drive wheels was on the top of the to-do list. But with electric planter units, is it necessary? Ultimately, the answer is not really, though tire pressure should still be corrected for transporting the planter.
2. Can your tractor handle your high-tech planter? If your planter is getting a makeover this year – complete with hydraulic down-pressure control and electric drive row units, don't get caught with a wimpy tractor.
3. Why you might need a new planter hitch. If you purchased a new planter hitch – just the part that bolts onto the tongue and then fits over the drawbar on the tractor – you might see that the old one was past its prime. That may not seem like a big deal, but it may impact uniform planting depth, and even emergence.
4. Take a tape measure to planter opener disks. Get out your tape measure, and take a look at those opener disks. You goal is to maintain the proper shape of the planting trench. If openers wear too much, they no longer make the correct shape of trench.
5. Check settings and planting equipment to handle small seed. Check your seed box tags to know what size seed you have, and know which disks you might need to insert to accommodate different sizes and shapes of seed.
BONUS! For an illustrated look at planter preparation, check out Tom Bechman's 15-point planter preparation checklist and our NEW free report, Planter Preparation Tips: Best Practices for Minimizing Breakdowns this Spring.