Cumulative Wear to Planters
May 10, 2017
In the past few years, and especially this year, we've seen a number of older planters with problems that eventually trace to worn parts. Nothing is actually broken, but seed meter drive chains, sprockets, and seed transmission chains/sprockets all have enough wear so that the sum-total of that wear leads to planting problems.
I remember a service call to an older 12-row planter that was skipping across all 12 rows every so often. I checked all the usual suspects, but found no broken parts. I eventually rode on the planter while the customer planted, and determined that the ground drive tire was actually stopping and skidding every so often. I systematically removed chains and turned shafts to determine where there was enough resistance to actually slide the drive tire, and eventually found two frozen drillshaft bearings, and three chains worn enough so they were wrapping and catching on their sprockets. I replaced the bearings, shortened the chains so they couldn't wrap and catch on their sprockets, and the planter would plant without skipping.
I suggested to the customer that he really needed to do some serious maintenance to the planter before the next planting season. He said, "Not unless corn prices get a lot better." I understand, but---I recall that he didn't spend money on that planter even when corn was at $6/bushel. I guess you get what you don't pay for.