How to Lose More than $600 per Hour

03:48PM Apr 22, 2020
Farmers loading planter
( Darrell Smith )

Every hour that the planter doesn’t run on good planting days can cost you money and yield. According to research by Firestone Ag, it costs up to $627 per hour lost—and in the busy repair season downtime waiting for technicians could take days.

“The $627 per hour is based on a national average for farm equipment, the national average corn planter is a 16-row on 30 inches running five miles per hour, so how many acres can we plant at 80% efficiency?” says Brad Harris, Firestone Ag Manager of Global Agricultural Field Engineering. “Then we looked at the 2019 USDA corn average of 168 bu. per acre and paired that with Pioneer’s yield study for time delay, which says you lose so much percent of yield per day not planting—we used a 5% reduction.”

Check the planter and planting tractor thoroughly before jumping in. Make sure routine maintenance has been accomplished and continue checking the machine throughout the season for any problems from regular wear and tear.

When it comes to tires, Harris recommends following these seven steps to avoid surprises:

  1. Check tire pressure and compare it to what the inflation calculator says you need.
  2. Look for sidewall cracks, cuts and other damage.
  3. Examine treads and consider replacing if there is less than 20% left—especially in a wet year.
  4. Check tread areas for stubble damage and exposed cords. Replace tires with severe cord damage.
  5. Review ground contact area to make sure there is not gap between lugs and the ground.
  6. Watch valve stems for cracks, corrosion and debris. Make sure caps are clean and intact.
  7. Look at nuts and bolts to make sure they’re properly tightened.

“Use the inflation calculator and check pressure at the beginning of the day when air is the coolest,” Harris adds. “Use the minimum pressure as it gives you the biggest footprint. The pressure inside the tire is what the ground experiences and under-inflated tires wear down faster.”

While you’re filling up with seed or fuel throughout the day, use that time to check tires and other planter and tractor components. Catching a problem early could be the difference between a quick fix versus days of downtime.

Read more planting news here:

As Planters Hit Midwest Fields, Window to Plant Could Be Short-Lived

Ken Ferrie: Some Concerns from Sampled Corn Seed Quality