Corn Planter Adjustments
Several planter considerations can help improve seed placement and seed-to-soil contact. Adjust the coulter down pressure and depth to slice cleanly through residue in no-till situations. This improves seed-to-soil contact and prevents pinning of the residue in the seed furrow. Worn double disk openers can contribute to a W-shaped seed furrow and poor seed-to-soil contact. Inspect the openers and replace them when they are less than the manufacturer’s recommended size. The tension and placement of the closing wheels also should be adjusted to ensure that the furrow is being closed and firmed adequately. Row cleaners can remove residue from the row and reduce the potential of hairpinning residue in the row. Also, seed firmers can help to firm the seed in the furrow and improve seed to soil contact.
It pays to monitor the effectiveness of planter seed distribution equipment. Stands should be evaluated for doubles and skips.
Smaller seed sizes may require some planter adjustments. Plate planters require using different plates. Air planters may require using seed disks designed for smaller seed sizes. Some air planters require reduced air pressure and an accurate seed brush setting to handle small seeds. Finger pickup mechanisms need to be checked for wear and an accurate tension setting. Be sure the seed brushes are not worn. Vacuum planters, like air planters, depend on the proper disk for relative seed size. Small disks are needed for small seeds.
Regardless of the planter you have, check the seed distribution before going to the field. Some equipment dealerships can evaluate seed-metering mechanisms in the shop; this often is a worthwhile investment that can result in improved seed distribution in the row.