IS YOUR PLANTING EQUIPMENT FIELD READY?
By Louis Kuisle | February 24, 2022
Hydraulics and Cylinders
Hoses break down and wear over time. Having equipment stored in the big blue shed (outside) leads to accelerated wear of all parts, but especially any rubber. Be it hoses or tires, UV rays from the sun lead to cracking and breaking down of plastics and rubber. This wear happens in less visible places as well. Hydraulic cylinders have rubber gaskets that will leak and fail when worn. Check functionality and inspect with hydraulic oil at operating temperature. Failure of hoses and cylinders can cause major issues and safety concerns especially during high-speed transportation.
Opening disks and wear parts
There are parts on virtually all equipment that simply wears out over time. On planters, manufacturers like Kinze recommend replacing disc opener blades if diameter is worn to anything more than .5 inch. Furthermore, optimal disc blade contact is considered 1-1.5 inches to form an optimal seed trench. Discs that are worn and do not have this contact point will leave a ridge down the middle of the seed furrow. Gauge wheel maintenance and planter down pressure can also alter the seeding depth. Properly maintained gauges wheels will give more consistent planting depth. Too much down pressure will cause compaction near the seed. Planter down pressure can improve the seed to soil contact when used correctly. Planting is arguably the most important aspect of raising a good crop. Spending the time and resources on your planting equipment helps stack the odds in your favor.
Although it may seem too fundamental to mention, tires have created more headache and planting issues than just about anything. Take the time to fully inspect all tires and check pressures. Especially for ground drive planters and fertilizer pumps, a few pounds psi variance will affect the accuracy of application. Whether it be your planting population running lower/higher than target or under/over applying fertilizer, something as simple as tire maintenance can prevent some issues that will be evident all growing season. Outside of the time and headache of fixing a tire when you could be in the field. Tillage depth and without question, safety of road travel, are all reasons to go kick the tires.
Software Functionality and updates
There is nothing more frustrating than having a tractor parked while you’re on the phone with tech support. Technology is an ever-changing aspect of farming. Many times, necessary updates are not always communicated well to the end user. Be proactive and check for any updates or glitch fixes with software providers before they are busy diagnosing in season issues. Especially in these current times, having to buy new technology such as autosteer and guidance is unbelievably expensive, if you can even get it. Make sure what you have is up to date and functional to avoid the rock and a hard place.
Remember safety first
Know the rules of moving equipment on public roads and around power lines. Remember to get enough sleep so that you’re alert and can avoid accidents. Employ a buddy system for moving equipment, and always have your phone on you in the event an incident should occur. Safety should always be a top priority during the busy planting season.