Use this 5 part series to prep your planter and plan your planting strategy
At this point in the winter, spring can’t come fast enough. Longer days, warmer temperatures and hints of green will be here before you know it. Don’t waste time that could be spent prioritizing and planning for what’s to come and prepping your planter. In tight margins, using your time, resources and inputs wisely is even more important. —Staff report
Remember last year, when you had to drive all the way to town to get a special cotter key for the planter—that cotter key that couples the planter’s transmission to the drill shaft that drives the seed units? (OK, so maybe you didn’t drive to town. You used an 8-penny nail you found in the bottom of the tractor’s toolbox, but you get the drift.)
Different planters have different “wear items,” but there are a few universal parts and tools that are useful to take to the field when planting. For example:
- A cotter key assortment. If you plan in advance, add to that assortment multiples of the most common cotter keys used to connect assorted driveshafts and transmission shafts on the planter.
- An assortment of hardened roll pins. Same strategy as cotter keys.
- A roll of mechanic’s wire. Also known as baling wire, it comes in handy to run through/around roll pins or cotter keys when they don’t fit tight in their egged-out holes and keep falling out.
- A hammer and a couple of punches. Long thin punches are nice to drive out the remnants of pins/cotter keys when they shear off inside driveshafts.
- A couple of Crescent-style adjustable wrenches to turn hex driveshafts for alignment or other needs.
- A seed tube brush or some device to clean seed tubes and seed tube sensors.
- Contact cleaner or other spray cleaner to flush dirt, grease and generic gunk from electrical connectors to improve electrical flow.
- WD-40, JB-80 or other spray lubricant to aid repairs requiring sliding a driveshaft in or out of a bearing, seed drive transmission or coupler.
- A small tube or tub of waterless hand cleaner, preferably without pumice or grit. If you have an air planter and have to replace/install a new hose over a barbed fitting, waterless soap is a great lubricant. WD-40, JB-80 and other petroleum-based lubricants might attack the plastic or rubber of hoses, so avoid them when lubing hoses and hose barbs. Hand soap is nice to have handy after changing a wheel bearing.
- The planter’s owner’s manual. If nothing else, copy the pages pertinent to transmission gear settings, speeds and air pressure/vacuum settings. It’s a good idea to laminate the pages so they’re water and greasy-finger resistant.