Thinking About Planters
Feb 07, 2018
In no particular order, here are some things to remember, consider or learn about prepping planters for this year's planting;
-Don't forget that on many planters, the nut holding the left-side disk opener has right-handed threads. Disk opener nuts loosen opposite the direction that the individual disk opener rotates as it goes through the field. Same for the nuts/bolts that hold many closing wheels
-If you traded planters since last year BE SURE YOUR CURRENT TRACTOR HAS ENOUGH HYDRAULIC FLOW FOR YOUR NEW PLANTER. If you've added more hydraulic vacuum fans, or more hydraulic motors for variable rate drives, talk with your local dealership to confirm if your tractor's hydraulics can handle the new planter.
-If you've switched to a more "precise" type of seed plate, either from your planter's manufacturer or an aftermarket supplier, realize that you'll have to run more vacuum, probably in the 20-inch range, to make the new seed plates work correctly. Some older tractors can't produce enough hydraulic flow to create that much vacuum. If nothing else, make sure the vacuum gauge on your planter reads beyond 25 inches of vacuum. The gauges on many older planters top out at 15 inches.
-The first time you hook up the planter's electrical systems to the tractor, turn on the planter's flashing amber lights. That's a quick--though not complete--test for whether the tractor and planter's 7-pin connector is working properly. Problems with folding planters not unfolding/folding often originate with that notoriously fickle connector. Check for greenish corrosion on the electrical pins under the rubber boots, especially on the TRACTOR side of the connection.
-And---back in the neighborhood of disk openers--if you replace the disk openers, don't forget (or cheap-out) and ignore the inner disk scrapers. Those are the cast, pointed pieces that dangle between the front edges of the disk openers. They may not look like they're a precision part that demands replacement with the disk openers, but if you compare the width of an old inner scraper with a new one, you'll see that they ARE a wear item that needs attention.