Tractor drilling seeding crops at farm. Agricultural activity.?

The Importance of Consistent Planter Maintenance

The quality of many crops, such as soybeans and corn, is highly dependent upon the condition of your planter. Without a well-maintained piece of equipment, parts of your planter may fail to function correctly, which can negatively impact the planting process. If this happens, your crops are less likely to reach their full potential or yield viable produce. The wasted time and resources can cost your operations a significant amount of money, all of which could have been prevented. However, consistent planter maintenance can prevent these catastrophes from occurring by keeping your machinery in an efficient and functioning state.

Continue reading to learn more about planter maintenance and why it is crucial to producing abundant, healthy crops.

What Is Planter Maintenance?

Each season, farmers must begin planting crops like corn, soybeans, and peas, but before they start, they must perform detailed inspections on their planter equipment. This includes proper planter calibration, examining planter parts for wear and tear, and undergoing tests to ensure everything is in working order before attempting to sow seeds throughout your entire field. Experienced planter operators may already have a thorough understanding of the maintenance requirements within their region, but weather conditions, soil types, and cropping systems can vary by geographical location. There are many resources available for those that require them, such as regional guides, operation manuals, and online tutorials provided by equipment manufacturers.

Why Is Planter Maintenance Necessary?

Yearly planter maintenance isn’t simply a recommendation: it’s essential to the state of your crops. The financial cost of disregarding your planter maintenance can be significant, potentially impacting the quality of your crops and soil, requiring avoidable part replacements, and causing breakdowns or immediate repairs that delay the planting process. This can be devastating for farmers attempting to grow certain crops during the prime time of the season, as planting during the wrong conditions—along with less than adequate equipment—can worsen crop yield, which directly cuts into your bottom line. However, seasonal planter maintenance ensures that your equipment operates as intended without costly delays or malfunctions, giving your crops the best chance of success for the season.

Aerial view of tractor with mounted seeder performing direct seeding?

The Advantages of Planter Maintenance

Efficient Machinery

A well-maintained planter is going to operate much more efficiently than one which has been neglected, granting accurate plant-to-plant position spacing and better seed drop depths. By optimizing your machinery, you can increase the speed and productivity of the planting process, in turn saving money throughout the season.

Higher Yield of Crops

Accurate seed placement and planting methods give your crops the best chance of growth. The better condition your planter is in, the higher yield of crops you’re likely to produce, which results in a higher profit margin and less financial loss.

Cost Savings

When you calculate the time lost to equipment breakdowns, the cost of significant repairs, planter quotes for total equipment replacements and the cost of lost crops that either didn’t sprout or weren’t viable—along with the time and energy spent planting it—the total is astronomical. Seasonal planter maintenance can drastically reduce these setbacks and result in savings.

Less Downtime

Regular planter maintenance keeps your equipment in pristine condition and reduces the chance of a potential mid-season breakdown, which can be costly. Less downtime allows you to work more efficiently, getting more done within a day and increasing profits.

Peace of Mind

An underrated perk of recurring planter maintenance is the peace of mind that comes with knowing your equipment is going to function as intended throughout the season. You don’t have to worry about sudden breakdowns or seeds not being planted as they should, knowing that you set yourself up for the best possible results at the end of the season.

Planter maintenance is a vital part of producing a high yield of quality produce. Learn more about proper seed planter preservation requirements.

Seasonal Planter Maintenance Checklist

  • Seed Tubes: Worn seed tubes can result in poor seed depth spacing and placement. Check the bottom of the seed tube for wear as well as the guards, making any replacements as needed.
  • Row Cleaners: Check cleaner bearings by giving them a spin, ensuring they aren’t loose, and making sure that pivot bushings are tight. Also, inspect the conditions of both spike and razor-wheel cleaners for tilled and non-tilled soil. Improper vertical movement could lead to a floating row cleaner that doesn’t reach the soil.
  • Seed Firmers: Seed firmers with a balanced tension and shape help push seeds deep into moist soil. Ensure they are angled appropriately, not overly curved or angled, to reach deep within the trenches.
  • Parallel Arm Linkage: A well-kept parallel arm linkage keeps your row unit riding smoothly through the field. When this gets worn down, your seeds could be planted at irregular depths and spacing, negatively impacting their emergence. Checking these arms’ vertical and horizontal movements can help determine if they are still in adequate condition.
  • Disk Openers: Disk openers create the seed furrows as the planter moves forward, allowing for proper seed-to-soil contact. This can become compromised when the disk opener experiences wear, and its diameter is reduced, or the blade wobbles. If you notice any of these deficiencies, it’s time to install a new disk opener.
  • Gauge Wheel Adjustments: Check planter gauge wheels by lifting them to planting depth and then pulling away. There should be a medium to low amount of friction between the gauge wheel’s inner rubber and the disk openers. If there is no contact or too much, adjustments are required.
  • Closing Wheel: Closing wheels shouldn’t be too tight or too wobbly to get a proper sow. Check for any side-to-side motion or deterioration, and if needed, replace the bushings and mounting to ensure the desired alignment.
  • Meter Drive Systems: Vibrations from moving chains and sprockets can impact the accuracy of your drive systems over time. It’s essential to keep your chains lubricated, and because they are inexpensive, making annual repairs may prove helpful. Ensure that your chains aren’t stretched, and their teeth aren’t worn to guarantee minimal degradation.
  • Coulters: As with closing wheels or disk openers, coulters should rotate adequately and be free of wear. Test and calibrate your planter coulters, making any required replacements.

Need Replacement Parts for Your Planter? Turn to RangeLine Group

If your planter requires replacement parts, RangeLine Group can provide the perfect tune-up advice. As a team with decades of farming background experience, we understand how important it is to maintain proper, functioning machinery in the field. That’s why we offer our customers a wide range of high-quality, cost-efficient replacement parts so that they may focus on the job that matters most without worrying about faulty equipment and breakdowns. We aim to deliver impressive results with products that increase efficiency, optimize performance, and push the limits of how much progress is possible within a single day.

For those that require quick and effective ag equipment solutions for their farming operation, look to RangeLine—we’d be happy to help.