In the Shop
As a farm machinery mechanic and writer, Dan brings a hands-on approach that only a pro can muster. Along with his In the Shop blog, Dan writes a column by the same name as well as the Shop Series for Farm Journal magazine. Always providing practical information, he is a master at tackling technical topics and making them easy for all of our readers to understand. He and his wife, Becky, live near Bouton, Iowa.
Top Five Planting Errors--Thus Far
Apr 29, 2014
My field of vision is somewhat narrow and confined to our dealership, but from what I've seen, here are the five most common planting errors thus far this spring:
1. Programming errors of seed monitors, guidance systems, mapping systems---if it's computerized and related to planting, I've seen it mis-programmed this spring. Everything from forgetting to tell the seed monitor it was planting corn (it thought it was still planting beans from last spring) to a planter that thought it was a sprayer due to incorrect programming.
2.Programming errors of seed monitors, guidance systems, mapping systems--did I mention the planter that looked like it was planting backwards on the mapping/guidance display in the cab? Or the tractor that would abruptly make a precise right turn in the middle of a pass...? Yup--programming errors.
3. Programming errors of seed monitors, guidance system, mapping systems...I used to tell customers that, "You can't hurt it," when it comes to pushing buttons on seed monitors and other on-board systems because I was confident that there were enough safety-interlocks, warnings and other built-in features designed to keep users from inadvertently losing programming or damaging the system. I no longer tell that to customers. I am now confident some of my customers could render an anvil inoperable.
4. Overconfidence in seed monitors. Seed monitors merely reflect the information that is fed into them. If ground speed, width of planter, and other variables are inaccurate, then the data displayed by the seed monitor is inaccurate. What matters is what's in the ground, not what the display SAYS is in the ground. Dig, dig, and then dig some more to confirm whether the monitor is telling the truth.
5. Junkyard avoidance. There's no other way to put it, so I apologize if I'm being rude, inconsiderate or insensitive, but...there are some planters out there that are just plain worn out. If you have seed units, marker arms, or entire wings literally falling off the planter as it's moving through the field---or if replacement parts are no longer available through the manufacturer--that's probably a sign it's time to upgrade to a more reliable machine.