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How I pick the correct closing wheels?

Apr 22, 2011

Question:

Would you help us understand how to pick the correct planter closing wheel assembly? None of our corn acres are minimum till or trash planted. All fields are plowed followed by a roller harrow, then planted. We use a John Deere 7200 vacuum planter with the eSet metering system and Keeton seed firmers. Currently our press wheels are what came with the planter, the rubber wheels at an angle with little down pressure. We just wonder if something else might be better. Our soil varies from sandy to sandy loam to heavy soil. We are cautious not to plant when the soil is too wet. When the sun comes out the ground gets baked forming a thick crust making a situation for seedlings difficult to emerge.
Answer:
The closing assembly’s job is to make sure every seed has uniform contact with the soil and to firm the soil enough to keep the seed environment from drying out and the plants emerge uniformly.
The best way to check closing wheel performance is to dig behind your planter. The process of properly closing the seed trench includes closing the furrow from the bottom up. Dig a cross-section of the row and work until you find the seed and observe how it was placed in the soil. In ideal conditions, you want to see the seed at the bottom with enough firm soil over the top of it to keep the seed area from drying out.
The decision of which style of closing wheel to outfit your planter needs to include your tillage system, soil texture, field conditions and weather. When planting in marginal conditions, firming from the bottom up can be hard to achieve, which is why so many spiked/spoked closing wheels are available.
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