Aerial view of tractor with mounted seeder performing direct seeding

How to Properly Maintain Your Keeton Seed Firmers and Planting Equipment

As a grower, you know first-hand that your overall yield depends on the quality of your equipment. From Keeton seed firmers to planting tools, properly maintained machinery can make or break your harvest. Unfortunately, all too often, farmers fail to keep their planing equipment in good shape, which leads to a variety of complications down the road.

That’s why keeping your Keeton seed firmers and planting equipment well-maintained is essential, as worn parts cause fluctuations in seeding depth and row spacing, resulting in low crop yields. Even worse, poorly lubricated bearings lead to faster wear-and-tear, which can further reduce efficiency and increase operational costs over time.

When it comes to your farm’s bottom line, maintaining your equipment will save you money in the long run. Luckily, the experts at RangeLine compiled a list of five steps to ensure your equipment is tuned for maximum performance.

Five Steps to Ensure Your Equipment Is Tuned for Maximum Performance

Simply put, it pays to keep your planters and seed firmers in tip-top shape. Don’t wait until it’s too late—start taking care of your machinery with these five steps.

1. Inspect Your Keeton Seed Firmer

Let’s face it, when you’re planting seed, you want it to reach the bottom of the furrow and not get stuck in an air pocket. Keeton seed firmers are highly regarded because they help by pressing the seed down to the bottom of the trench, so it can reach the moisture it needs to germinate.

These firmers come in standard and low-stick options for different soil types and can be used with a liquid tube for in-furrow starter application. That’s why it’s essential to check the condition and tension of your firmer regularly, and replace it if it’s worn out or not providing enough tensile strength.

2. Check Your Seed Tubes for Wear

To ensure proper spacing and planting in the field, you must regularly inspect the seed tube guards on your planter. In some cases, the disk opener may come into contact with the bottom of the seed tube as the planter moves through the field, causing damage over time.

To check for wear, use a tape measure and measure the width of your guards. Generally speaking, a width of at least 3/4 inch is ideal for the start of a new season. If the width is less than this, replace the seed tube guard with a new one that measures 15/16 inch wide.

3. Set Correct Contact Points for Your Disc Openers

Disc openers create the furrow where your seeds are planted. To make sure they’re working properly, keep an eye on the diameter and contact of the disk openers, once they’ve worn down 1/2 inch from their original size, it’s time to replace them.

As a helpful tip, disk openers should have 1 to 2 inches of contact with the soil to create a clean V-shaped furrow. If the contact is too little or too much—don’t worry—you can easily adjust it using shims. It’s important to note, for precision planters, the offset disk openers should have no more than an 1/8 inch gap between them. Put simply, if the furrow forming point is worn, it’s time to replace it.

4. Adjust Closing Wheel Spacing and Alignment

After planting the seed in the furrow, it’s crucial to confirm the furrow is closed properly, so the seed has good contact with the soil. To check for proper alignment, you need to make sure there isn’t any excessive side-to-side movement. If there is, it’s time to check your bushings, mounting holes, and closing tail to replace them.

Once the closing tail is tightly aligned, set the planter on a pad of concrete and move it forward about three feet, then make a mark. Look behind each row unit, and confirm the wheels are centered over the mark. If they’re not, adjust them so that they are. The distance between the closing wheels is vital for getting the best possible closure of the seed trench. If it’s too narrow, it’ll “pinch” the top of your seed trench and leave an air gap around the seed, which delays emergence. On the other hand, if it’s too wide, you risk leaving an open furrow.

5. Level Your Planter and Evaluate Downforce Settings

Lastly, before you take off into the field, you need to make sure the toolbar is level. This is the toolbar that the row-unit is attached to, not the tongue of the planter. If the front side of your toolbar is lower than the back, your row cleaners won’t achieve the required seeding depth. It’s important to level it out before you head to the field, and then double-check it once you get there. That way, you’ll can adjust the height if necessary.

Another important factor you need to consider is the downforce setting on your planter, which can affect the structural integrity for your furrow. You want to create a clean and open environment with equal moisture, temperature, and consistent soil density, as this leads to optimal yield potential. However, carrying too much weight can cause issues on the side walls of your furrow, which impacts the seed environment, and ultimately, root development later on in the plant’s life.

On the other hand, without enough weight, the furrow environment becomes too loose, resulting in inconsistent germination and emergence. You should be seeing movement of the soil as you dig, and if you lift, the soil should crumble and fall apart.

It’s essential to note the planting conditions you’re in also determines your optimum downforce setting. If it gets drier, it’s going to be harder to hold the sidewall, so you will need a higher downforce setting. As you get into wetter conditions, you’ll need to choose a lower downforce setting to avoid compaction risks.

Don’t Let Planter Problems Hold You Back

With RangeLine Group, planter problems are a thing of the past. Whether you’re looking to check if keeton seed firmers are for sale, you need to replace keeton seed firmers, or you’re just looking for extra parts, it’s never been easier to find reliable, durable, and dependable ag-parts that won’t break your budget. Start a conversation to learn more, or check out our shop to see for yourself.