- Check for mechanical wear before every planting season
A planter is a complicated piece of equipment – any number of things could have worn out enough to become slightly off between seasons. “Set it and forget it” doesn’t apply here. Do routine maintenance checks on your planter before every planting season. Get these things sorted well ahead of time or they could come back to bite you during a tight planting window.
- On the first day of planting
While you might think to yourself, “The planter worked last year,” it’s always better to take the extra few minutes to confirm your settings are correct. Even if the planter is still in great shape and everything is working right, that field is not the same field it was last year. Small changes in soil moisture, temperature, and residue need to be accounted for each year with changes to your planter settings.
- When switching crop or soil types
Not only can conditions for your planter shift between seasons, but during the season it is even easier to overlook improper settings as you move from field to field. Every field is a little bit different; soil type, moisture, residue, and crop variations all need to be factored in when preparing your planter settings. Don’t move too fast from field to field because any time you make up in planting speed will be overshadowed by money lost from seed planted at the wrong depth or spacing for its exact needs in the soil.
- Whenever you get a failure or system warning
When you get a warning alert in your planter, it’s easy to assume the technology is just acting up. However, these are very precise machines, and often the system will know if something is wrong before you will. If you are questioning whether the alert is correct, take the time to check it. Make it a priority to understand the ins and outs of all the technology that is on your planter and believe it when it is warning you of failure or misadjustment. Planting too deep or shallow, with the wrong spacing, wrong population, with skips and doubles, or with the wrong fertilizer distribution, could cause your crop yield to vary dramatically.