Part 1: Planter Leveling, Row Cleaners, Coulters
Probably the single most important part of no-till production is having a planter that is properly equipped. This includes the right design features and attachments, having it correctly set up and adjusted to meet varying field conditions and properly maintained to keep it in tip top shape. Planting under no till conditions is more challenging but the goal is the same as in tilled fields. Seed that is evenly spaced, planted at a uniform depth and covered firmly. With the planting equipment that is available today, these goals can be met under a wide range of conditions. During this video program we will address all the critical parts on a corn planter beginning at the hitch point and continuing through to the closing wheels. Think about how these things relate to the planter that you have and the types of field conditions you might encounter. Perhaps you will discover something that leads to better stands and higher yields.
First and foremost you want to make sure the planter is level from front to back. The easiest way to start that operation is to measure the hitch plate at the front of the planter on the front of the tongue and that's this plate right here between my fingers not the added on part that was put on to this planter. This is an add-on after market and it will throw your measurements off if you measure from any part of it. You want to go with this line straight in here from my finger and you want the bottom of this plate to be right at about 14 inches. This particular planter over time we found out the best operation is about 14 and a half to 15 somewhere in that range, but it gives you a good starting point that you're going to have a level planter front to back. And you can see right here, we're about fourteen and a half on this ruler. You have adjustments then in the front the tractor draw bar, they vary from tractor to tractor and you can turn them up or down, flip them over. Some tractors you can't change the height of the draw bar, in which case you would use the holes here in the front of the hitch plate to adjust the hitch clevice on the planter and you can put it up or down till you get this height from the ground and you can also flip the hitch clevice over to give you an additional set of adjustments.
So that's the basic thing is to do that combination of operations between the draw bar and the tractor, the hitch clevice on the planter adjust that so that this plate when you're hooked up to your tractor is between 14 to 15 inches from the ground. I think the operators manual most of the planters is 14.
There are many row cleaning wheel variations.
The shark tooth or tiger paw design is very aggressive and due to the width of the cutting teeth can move a considerable volume of soil. As long as the teeth are sharp they will cut residue. The curved spike tooth with treader wheels will release residue somewhat easier than the straight spike tooth. Where cover crops are large in size they will not wrap around the row cleaner wheels as easily when this curved spike tooth design is used. Floating spike row cleaners with treader wheels have wide application to move residue out of the row without moving much soil. Some operators that used the spike wheels for seed furrow closing will move those spike wheels to the rotating units after some wear, say, a quarter to a half inch of wear off of those spikes. This allows the soil not to be easily moved by the row cleaners.
Ok here you have the shark tooth or tiger claw row cleaner with an adjustable height mounting system. Once you set it that's where you're going to be set, so if the grounds not very even your row cleaning is not going to be very even.
Solid concave disc row cleaners are aggressive cutters and will clear most any residue material from the row area. Due to their aggressiveness they can potentially move to much soil if not equipped with a depth gauge wheel.
In no-till coulter selection a thirteen wave coulter is one of the most preferred designs.
The thirteen wave is aggressive, has some row cleaning action, and loosens soil to aid in good seed to soil contact while greatly limiting the potential for seed furrow side wall smearing and or compaction. The turbo no -till coulter is used where soil penetration is challenging as they generally will more easily penetrate the soil in dry planting conditions.
Care must be taken in moist planting conditions to monitor seed furrow sidewall smearing with the turbo no till coulter.