Anderson: Before You Put The Planter Away

June 3, 2016 01:20 PM
Anderson: Before You Put The Planter Away

Spend some time in the dirt to optimize planter settings

Optimum setting and adjustment of your planter next spring is dependent on time spent walking and digging in freshly emerged corn fields this spring. That's especially critical if your planter has row shut-offs tied to the GPS system, and if your seed monitor is capable of tracking singulation, seed spacing and other seed meter subtleties.

With luck, you recorded or can pull-up data that shows how your seed monitor thinks your planter performed. If the seed monitor said singulation was 99.5 percent with "x" percent skips and "y" percent multiples, it's important to go out and physically count to see if singulation, doubles and multiples in the real world match what the monitor was reporting.

There have been situations where seed monitors cheerfully reported near-perfect performance at planting, but the operator discovered after emergence that the monitor was internally "smoothing" its data, but in the real world there were measurable  differences from what was reported.

What I'm suggesting is to spend some time in the dirt in the next few weeks, measuring, counting and comparing what you see to what your seed monitor was showing. If you have GPS-based row-shut-offs, make notes if your turn-on/turn-off times need to be changed next year. Try to figure out the cause for every multi-row "blank" in the field, for every irregularity, for everything less than a picket fence stand. Then write all that info down, tap it into your smart phone or record it in your laptop. That way, next spring you'll have the info  you need during planting to prevent those planter glitches that can only be diagnosed after planting is done.

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