1. Going the wrong speed

Make sure you are going the proper speed for your planter. Most think that this only means not to go too fast, but you should also avoid going too slow. Most planters require the seed meter to be turning at least at a minimum , 3-4 mph, to keep the seed flowing and the meter filled to the proper level to help create consistent . Too fast is not good either, as your seed could miss its mark, roll off-target, or alter the field population.

  1. Overcomplicating your attachments

There are a plethora of attachments that can be put on a planter. Fertilizer, both in-furrow and side dress, row cleaners, no-till coulters, insecticide, seed firmers, and so on, all can be necessary attachments in many cases. But don’t get so caught up in your planter’s attachments that when it comes to getting your seed at the correct depth and spacing, you struggle to work around all the attachments. Every attachment you add is another point of failure that can shut you down and prevent planting until repaired.

  1. Overlooking improper settings

Planters are complicated pieces of equipment, weighing several tons and spanning up to 120-feet wide, they lay tiny seeds into the ground with sub inch accuracy over hundreds of acres. It’s easy to overlook how large of an impact planter settings can have, even when off by the smallest margins. Constant monitoring of these settings is vital throughout the season for consistent yields and ROI. For more on planter settings, see our article, “Four times you should check your planter settings.”

  1. Not manually checking seed placement frequently enough

Verify the seed is at the correct depth and spacing at different places and times. Commonly, checks are not done often enough to get consistently accurate and precise placement. Others rely too heavily on their monitor as a guarantee that the seed is planting right, but the only real way to know is to dig your seed up and verify with your own eyes.

  1. Using improper levels of talc and graphite

With today’s seed treatments, treatment buildup can easily cause issues in any planter. These treatments are often sticky enough to clog hoses, cause seed clumps, or prevent seed singulation. Adding the proper amount of talc, graphite, or a combination of both, will dry your seed treatment and help keep the meter clean, along with help lubricate the moving parts. Be sure to check with your agronomist or planter manufacturer’s recommendations for your specific planter, seed treatment, and talc/graphite combination and be careful to add the proper amounts.

  1. Failing to clean the planter often enough

Fertilizer, mud, and trash can buildup in every nook and cranny of your equipment. This isn’t just messy; it can hide issues with the planter or even cause you harm. These dirty spots may not be “just dirt,” but insecticide, fertilizer, and other chemicals, which can affect the way your equipment places seed. Don’t neglect normal equipment cleanings, and always wash fertilizer off as it can cause corrosion and electrical issues.