Maizex Today – January 26, 2016
Jan 26Maizex Today – January 26, 2016
It’s Snowing. Time to Think about Planting
It’s that time of year again when the weather outside is too dreadful to do anything dynamic around the yard. This is generally a good time of year to get your shop warmed up and start what I call the “Annual Planter Inspection and Health Checkup”. It’s far better to find and repair problems now with your unit than it is to wait until a week before planting and find something major that could delay your readiness.
Every year, more attention is being emphasized on planter operation, performance, and innovation. There is no questioning that this essential piece of machinery has a huge impact on the health of your bottom line. It’s sometimes hard to fathom how many planters are left in the shed with no inspections or maintenance until planting time. This often results in unnecessary down time and costly inaccuracies during the short planting window.
I’ve put together a short list of critical inspection items that need to be top of mind this winter while we prepare for spring. This list is by no means complete; however, it does highlight the main problems I observe far too frequently each spring.
1. Check Drive System
The planter drive system and planter transmission is critical. It needs to run smoothly. Any vibration in the drive system can cause seed spacing issues. All clutches, sprockets, chains, bearings, and drives need to be inspected, cleaned, greased, and oiled.
2. Check Opening Disc for Wear
Measure the discs; replace if less than 14.5 inches. New blades are 15 inches. Adjust and shim the disc openers if necessary. You should have between 1.5 inches to 2.5 inches of contact on blades. Proper adjustment is necessary to create a true V trench. Install seed firmers to optimize seed to soil contact. Seed firmers are designed to push the seed to the bottom of the trench
3. Seed Tube Wear
Remove and check seed tubes and seed tube guards for wear, bending or distortion.
4. Wheel Inspection
Check all bearings on gauge wheels, drive wheels, and closing wheels for a smooth, noiseless spin. Each gauge wheel should slightly rub on the disk openers to help create a good seed trench sidewall and keep the disc openers clean. Closing wheels should be centered on the row. Check tire pressure on all tires and fill to manufacturer recommendations.
5. Meter Inspection
Remove and inspect all meters. For greater peace of mind, have the meters inspected and performance tested by a professional every 200 acres per row. For vacuum meters, check for air leaks and worn seals around the metering units.
6. General Frame Inspection
Check the planter frame for levelness, bends, and cracks. Inspect all wiring for potential rodent damage, pinch points or wear from rubbing. Clean connections that have been exposed to external ailments such as fertilizer, hydraulic oil, etc. Check all bushings for chatter and replace if worn. Check all springs - adjust if necessary and replace if broken. The most common springs that break are the down pressure springs for closing wheels and dry fertilizer disc openers.
For additional planter recommendations, refer to your planter manual, or contact your planter manufacturer for more information. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact your local Maizex Representative.
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