AGCO Spring 2010 : Page 6
getting started the checklist Planter tune-Up Makes Dollars and Sense It’s often saId that the planter—not the combine or tractor—is the most important piece of machinery in a farmer’s inventory. And statistics seem to bear that out. While a poorly adjusted combine can be blamed for a certain amount of grain loss, harvest losses are nothing compared to the shortfall caused by a poorly adjusted planter. Research shows that 1,000 ears, or around 1,000 plants, represents about 6 to 8 bushels per acre. At $3.00 per bushel, that’s at least $18 per acre for every thousand plants lost. While some losses are attributed to poor spacing, missed plants, doubles, etc., worn or poorly adjusted ground- engaging components can also play a detrimental role. Bob Nielson, production practices and precision ag specialist at Purdue University, insists farmers will see a decrease of approximately 3.4 bushels per acre for every inch increase in standard deviation of plant spacing. However, evenly-spaced plants can still be at a disadvantage if they suffer delayed emergence because of 6 ADVANTAGE / SPRING 2010 improperly maintained equipment. “At best, delayed emergers will contribute very little to yield, which means that farmers will often see an eight to 20 percent loss if 25 percent or more of the stand is two or more leaf stages behind the surrounding plants,” Nielson says. “Consequently, it’s important that producers take the time to inspect and service the planter before the start of the season, or have it serviced and adjusted by their planter dealer,” says Keith Dvorak, AGCO product performance manager for planters and pull-type mower conditioners. “One of the best things about the White Planter positive-air metering system is simplicity,” says Russ Kriha, Field Parts Manager for AGCO Parts Division. “There are no wearing parts. The only thing that makes contact is a translucent disc that runs against a set of nylon brushes. There are no cams, fingers or springs that have to be checked. If it’s clean and the brushes are in good shape and touching the seed disc, the meter is pretty much ready to go.” —Tharran E. Gaines ▶▶ Look▶for▶wear▶on▶double▶ disk▶openers▶and▶seed▶tubes. ▶▶ Make▶sure▶sprocket▶ settings▶on▶the▶planter▶ transmission▶are▶correct. ▶▶ Assure▶the▶controller▶and▶ monitor▶are▶calibrated▶on▶ hydraulic▶prime▶models. ▶▶ Make▶sure▶the▶meters▶ have▶all▶been▶cleaned▶from▶the▶ previous▶season. ▶▶ Check▶for▶worn▶chains,▶stiff▶ chain▶links▶and▶tire▶pressure▶on▶ ground-drive▶units. ▶▶ Lubricate▶all▶chains▶and▶ grease▶fittings. ▶▶ Check▶the▶bearings/ bushings▶on▶the▶parallel▶ linkage▶to▶ensure▶that▶all▶row▶ units▶are▶tracking▶correctly. ▶▶ Make▶sure▶seed▶drop▶tubes▶ are▶clean▶and▶clear▶of▶any▶ obstructions. ▶▶ Clean▶seed▶tube▶sensors▶ and▶make▶sure▶the▶wiring▶ hasn’t▶been▶damaged▶if▶you▶ are▶using▶a▶planter▶monitor. ▶▶ Ensure▶coulters▶and▶disk▶ openers▶are▶aligned▶properly. ▶▶ Check▶the▶planter’s▶depth- control▶settings▶to▶make▶sure▶ they▶are▶accurate. ▶▶ Make▶sure▶the▶closing▶ wheels▶are▶correctly▶aligned. ▶▶ Make▶sure▶the▶hitch▶is▶ correctly▶adjusted▶so▶the▶row▶ units▶are▶level.▶ ▶▶ Check▶metering▶units▶ on▶fertilizer▶and▶insecticide▶ applicators. ▶▶ Make▶sure▶transport▶ lighting▶is▶working▶properly▶and▶ reflectors▶are▶in▶place. ▶▶ Inspect▶air▶tubes▶for▶cracks▶ and▶check▶the▶condition▶of▶ hopper▶lid▶seals. ▶▶ Make▶sure▶the▶drive▶and▶ transport▶tires▶are▶inflated▶to▶ specifications.