The weather is warming up and fields are drying out. That can only mean one thing -- planters will be rolling soon in the Midwest. Before it’s crunch time, make sure your planter is fit to perform.
Farm Journal columnist and veteran farm equipment mechanic Dan Anderson shares practical advice to start the season right.
“The most common comment we get about planter maintenance is that customers ‘can't afford’ to do all the maintenance planters sometimes require,” Anderson says. “All the nit-picky adjustment and replacement costs, multiplied across multiple rows, are intimidating. I agree. Planters will definitely plant with worn disk openers, rusty chains, and damaged gauge wheel tires. Just not as well as planters with new, well-adjusted parts.”
Every year and every rotation of the tires wears on closing wheels and other critical planter parts. While you likely won’t need to replace parts ever year, unless you’re running the planter on an exceptionally large number of acres, you do need to mind wear and replace parts as needed.
Here are a few resources from Anderson to help tune up your planter, answer frequently asked questions and avoid overlooking important wear areas:
- Overlooked Stuff on the Planter. Most farmers are up-to-speed on the major wear points on their planters -- disk openers, closing wheel bearings, etc. Here are a few spots farmers commonly overlook that can cause breakdowns or problems during planting season.
- Don’t Ignore These Wear Points. Hidden wear to frame hinges and other pivot points on planters can lead to catastrophic breakdowns in the field or during transport.
- What you Need to Know About Planters. Anderson shares answers to frequently asked questions about planter maintenance and repair each spring.
- To Oil Chains or Not to Oil Chains. Customers ask how often to oil chains on planters. Anderson recommends running planter drive chains "dry" during the actual planting season.
Planting is one of the most important times of the year. Make sure you’re getting your crop off to the right start with a planter in good condition.