Rugged terrain, heavy crop residue and soil compaction are challenges for all farmers using no-till planting methods. Yet, more and more farmers are moving to no-till practices, lured by higher yield potential. If done right, no-till planting can control soil erosion, reduce fuel and labor costs by eliminating extra trips across the field, and improve soil moisture and fertility. But successful no-till planting depends on making sure your planter is set up correctly.
To start, it’s important your planter is in top condition so it can withstand the rigors of planting in previous crop residue. Essentially the first three steps of conventional cultivation are bypassed when practicing no-till, but you won’t gain any advantage if the equipment isn’t working properly. You can increase yield potential using no-till by following some simple maintenance checks to ensure your planter is ready to manage the residue and place seed with precise spacing and depth.
Before you plant:
- Make sure the coulter blade is approximately one-fourth of an inch shallower than the double disc opener blades. It can be adjusted down with different adjustment holes in the no-till coulter arm. Set the planter down on a level surface to check.
- Ensure each coulter blade measures 16 inches in diameter. Worn coulters that are closer to 14.5 inches should be replaced .
- Check bearings in residue wheels and make sure the height adjustment is free to move.
- Clean residue managers and adjust settings so they just brush the ground and only turn or run two-thirds of the time.
While you plant:
- Keep speed in the 5 mph range to help reduce row unit bounce.
- Make sure you have enough down pressure and that the planter is level.
- A planter with hydraulic weight transfer can help ensure even planting depth across the entire planter bar.
- Consider planting deeper to get more uniform soil moisture.
- Make sure the seed trench is closing and you are getting good seed-to-soil contact. If it’s not, you may need to run more closing wheel down pressure. Another option would be to look at additional closing wheel options like the spiked closing wheels that we offer.
Following these tips will help you get the most out of your planter during the season. For more information and additional care tips, you can always refer to the equipment owner’s manual or contact your Kinze dealer with questions.