According to Chip Turner, Burrus research coordinator and planting specialist, a great piece of advice he once got from his father was, “If you don’t plant it right, you’re behind the whole season.”

“Inconsistent planting leads to uneven emergence, which is a drag on yields,” he writes in the Burrus Buzz newsletter. “This is true in conventional tillage and takes on a new level of importance in no-till situations where the margin for error is narrower.”

Turner says asking the following 11 questions prior to planting will get leave farmers optimally prepared for planting.

1. When in planting position, is the planter level?

2. If the planter markers were removed, has weight been added to the wings?

3. Are the row units running true (i.e. parallel to the direction of travel)?

4. Are the seed meters delivering uniform seed drop?

5. Are your inner scrapers or seed tubes worn out?

6. Are the disc openers excessively worn? Are they making the right amount of contact?

7. Are your gauge wheels adjusted correctly?

8. Are the closing wheels sealing the seed trench without excessive compaction?

9. Are the no-till coulters running at the proper depth?

10. Are the residue managers adjusted to the correct height?

11. Are you using the correct down-force for field conditions?

“Proper planter adjustment isn’t difficult, but it can be time consuming,” Turner admits. “Take some time before planting to make sure your planter is ready to operate at peak performance.”