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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.
This could be a false alarm, but there are emails and text messages zipping all across corn and soybean country expressing concern that seed grown during last year's drought may create issues for planter seed meters this spring.
Apparently some of the drought seed is larger than usual, or misshapen, and there are concerns that some seed meters or seeding systems may need to be tweaked to do an optimum job planting them.
I've heard concerns that some corn and soybean seeds are going to be extra big, and in some cases require different or altered seed disks. Finger units may have to be run on test stands to ensure they're adjusted to easily handle the bigger seeds. I've also heard that there may be situations where the larger seeds will require higher vacuum settings on air planters. One email I received suggested larger seeds could require settings in excess of 20 inches of vacuum. That could be a big issue for older planters with vacuum systems that aren't designed to produce much beyond 18 inches of vacuum. Or older tractors that don't have the hydraulic volume to create that much hydraulic flow to multiple vacuum motors on larger planters.
This is all sort of developing as the seed for this year's planting starts to arrive at local dealers. It may not be a big issue; it could be a BIG issue. Your local seed dealer should have by now an idea of what seeds he's going to have available, and should be able to help you decide if your planter needs special attention before you head to the field.
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