It’s early December, and your focus may well be on Christmas, buying presents and enjoying the holidays with family and friends. Some down time is good for the body and soul and helps refresh everyone for the next job on the farm. While you’re mulling over plans for the holiday season, we hope you’ll take just a few minutes to look ahead to January. Specifically, we would like to encourage you to pencil in the topic of planter preparation on your to-do list. Why, you ask? A couple of reasons: Winter is a great time to get ready for the spring planting season, and prepping your planter adds money to your bottom line. A split-planter study by Pioneer Hi-Bred shows an average yield improvement of 4.2 bushels per acre when your planter is properly prepped for the field. The key to your success with the process is checking each facet of the planter and making adjustments before and during the planting season, from the hitchpin to the closing wheels. We encourage farmers to check everything: chains, sprockets, bearings, idlers and clutch assembly, including all of the components involved in seed metering, as well as the meter itself. Other factors to check out: parallel arms, row cleaners, no-till coulters, gauge wheels, disk openers, seed tubes, closing wheels and seed placement. If you need help with the process, contact your local equipment dealer or your state university Extension agricultural engineer. You also can attend one of the upcoming Farm Journal planting clinics, hosted by Missy Bauer, Associate Field Agronomist. Bauer is hosting five hands-on planter clinics for farmers throughout the Midwest and mid-South this winter. We’ve listed the dates and locations below, and you can learn more information about the clinics by checking out the agenda on the Website noted. Whatever your decision, take the time to invest in getting your planter ready for spring. The process is sure to pay huge dividends in the coming year.
2012 Planter Clinics
¦Jan. 11: Southaven, Miss., DeSoto Civic Center
¦March 5: Mankato, Minn., Verizon Wireless Center
¦March 6: Ames, Iowa, Gateway Hotel and Conference Center
¦March 8: Champaign, Ill., Hilton Garden Inn
¦March 13: Coldwater, Mich., B&M Crop Consulting facilities