10 Step Planter Maintenance Checklist


  1. Level the Planter
    • Can cause no-till coulter to run below disk openers resulting in a “false bottom”
    • Planter running down hill will put unnecessary weight on gauge wheels
    • Planter running slightly uphill toward tractor is preferred
  1. Bushings & Parallel Arms
    • Look for excessive movement in the parallel arm linkage
    • Worn bushings will cause increased chatter in row unit resulting in meter vibration and decreased performance
    • Replace worn bushings and/or parallel arms
  1. Drive System
    • Look for kinked or rusted chains
    • Replace any worn chains
    • Properly lubricate chains
    • Drive system includes:
      • Transmission, Main Drive, Meter Drive, Insecticide Drive
  1. Calibrate Meters – this should be done every 100 acres/row
    • Clean & Replace worn parts
    • Use intended seed size for calibration
    • Look for metering errors
    • Country Visions Offers this service for $15/row
  1. Double Disk Openers
    • Measure disk diameter; if less than 14.5” replace blades
    • Check for 2” of blade contact:
      • Using 2 business cards, insert one from the bottom and one from the top until the cards stay in place
      • Measure distance between the two cards; if greater or less than 2”, add or remove shims until 2” is achieved
  1. Seed Tubes
    • Inspect seed tubes for wear
    • Look for “dog ears” on bottom of tubes
      • Can cause seed to ricochet out of seed furrow
    • Replace all worn seed tubes
  1. Closing Wheel System
    • Check for excessive movement in closing wheel system
      • Can cause variation in seed furrow closing
      • Replace if movement cannot be corrected
    • Check alignment
      • With planter on the ground, drive forward
      • Look for disk marking to be in center of closing wheels
      • Adjust if not centered
  1. Gauge Wheels
    • Check tolerance between wheel and disk openers
    • Wheel should not run freely from disk openers
      • Add or remove spacers until wheel has slight contact with disk openers
    • Look for excessive movement in gauge wheel arm assembly
      • Replace bearing if worn
      • May need to replace arm assembly if movement persists
  1. Row Cleaners
    • Make sure row cleaners are properly set
      • Too shallow will result in residue hair pinning
      • Too deep will result in seed being placed in cool damp soil
    • Cleaners should run sporadically
  1. Seed Firmers
    • Ensures seed is placed at the bottom of the seed furrow
    • Improves uniform seed emergence
    • Set proper tension (See manufacturer’s recommendation)