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Set Row Cleaners for Success

October 5, 2011
By: Margy Eckelkamp, Director of Content Development, Machinery Pete

Two steps forward can be one step backward if farmers are properly setting their row cleaners. Farm Journal Associate Field Agronomist Missy Bauer explains more in Episode 2 of "Corn College TV," Season 2.

"When running row cleaners, we like to see a floating row cleaner," Bauer explains. "This equipment rolls with the contour of the ground, and is not in a fixed position. In fixed positions, they’ll plow too much at times and other times not move enough residue."
Floating row cleaners provide a more consistent seedbed. And on a floating row cleaner, depth bands help performance.
Bauer says it’s important that farmers outfit their planter with the residue management equipment that is the best fit for them, and that they then check performance in the field.
"If the set too aggressive, the row cleaners will be moving a lot of soil out of the way and creating mounds and valleys. If it rains, the water will sit in that seed zone," she explains. "And if you take too much dry soil out of the way, you’ll be planting in wet conditions.
"When row cleaners are set too shallow, they aren't turning enough and residue will stay in the row. Then that residue can be pinched in the seed zone and cause depth problems and wick water away from the seed."
Bauer adds that in the ideal setting, the row cleaners will clear the path for a successful stand.  
See in-the-field examples of row cleaner settings and how they perform in the field, in Episode 2.

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