Birds and Planters
Jun 06, 2019
This spring's delayed or start-and-stop planting process has seen many planters parked in fields or farmyards for days, even weeks, at a time. In the past two days I've heard or been involved with several incidents where planters or seed transfer equipment had problems due to bird nests that developed during planting delays.
One seed tender had a starling nest in the unloading auger that, when the farmer went to fill his planter after a rainy spell. ended up in the bottom of his big planter hopper under a dozen or more bushels of seed. "I saw that bird nest puke out the auger, but I couldn't get the tender shut down before it was pretty well buried in the bottom, " he said.
Another customer battled for several days a maddening problem with one or two rows planting inconsistently. After multiple service calls and hours spent testing electrical and mechanical systems on the planter, those rows finally completely stopped planting, allowing the problem to be traced to a baseball-size wad of compacted bird nest that was "bubbling" around in one of the planter's vacuum hoses.
So if you're heading to the field after your planter has been sitting around the farmyard for a few days, or if you're having odd planting problems related to seed delivery, think "bird nests." As one farmer commented, "It's pretty amazing how much #&@#! a couple wrens can cram into a hole or auger in just one sunny day."