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Down Pressure Quiz: How Much is Enough?

April 6, 2010
By: Margy Eckelkamp, Director of Content Development, Machinery Pete
 
 

Setting down pressure is challenging because it is dependent on many factors that are unique to your fields and that vary on the days you're planting. Take this quiz to test your down pressure know-how.

These pictures were taken by doing a cross-section of how the seed was planted. After the planter passed, the soil was cut away to show the profile of the soil around the seed. Look at the pictures and answer what the field conditions and down pressure settings are.

 

SEED #1:

 
a) This field is too wet to plant
b) There is not enough down pressure
c) The down pressure is perfect
d) There is too much down pressure
 
SEED #2:

 

a) This field is too wet to plant
b) There is not enough down pressure
c) The down pressure is perfect
d) There is too much down pressure
 
SEED #3:

a) This field is too wet to plant
b) There is not enough down pressure
c) The down pressure is perfect
d) There is too much down pressure
 

 

SEED #4

 

a) This field is too wet to plant
b) There is not enough down pressure
c) The down pressure is perfect
d) There is too much down pressure
 
 
Answers:
The seeds were simultaneously planted in the same soil type and field conditions using the same planter. The only variation is the down pressure, which was adjusted to one of four settings on a row unit. With each increase in down pressure setting, the force increases by 100 lb. to 110 lb. on this planter.
 
SEED #1
Answer: D
This picture is of a seed planted with the highest setting for down pressure. Not understanding down pressure can lead to misreading a field's readiness to plant. The slot is pinched closed on top but left open below. Closing the side furrow should be done from bottom up, not top down. The first response is to add pressure to the closing wheels to squeeze the slot shut. But if you have the time and you are at the down pressure you need to hold ground contact and there is still some smearing, go back to the shed and give the field time to dry.
 

SEED #2

Answer: D
This is the third highest setting, and the seed slot is not completely closed. Notice the pronounced sidewall smearing, and dry soil is starting to fill in the slot. Dry soil on the top of the seed will not allow for timely germination. This is a challenge in moist soils and dry conditions. 

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RELATED TOPICS: Corn, Crops, Corn College, Planters

 
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