Spring Planting Preparation

March 22, 2024 12:46 PM
Blog Post

The spring planting season in Iowa will start soon, so it is time to make a list of items to check and get completed before we go to the field. As we all know, planting the seed at the right time, right seed depth, and acceptable soil conditions is critical to giving the crop the best starting point for our yield goals. Whether a person has brand-new equipment or the same as prior years, the maintenance checklist remains the same. This article will review important maintenance points for equipment and contains links to more in-depth articles for each piece.

Tractor(s): Check the tire pressures, machine ballasting (especially since most of us use this same tractor on multiple implements), batteries, belts, hoses, and oil levels to make sure everything is ready to go to the field. Use the article “Are you getting the most out of your tractor?for more information.

Tillage Equipment: We want to ensure that tillage tools are level from front to back and side to side and adjusted properly to help provide a uniform seedbed for planting. This article has a lot of information to help assist in these settings.

Planter: Now is the best time, especially with the current weather pattern, to check the planter tires, tire pressure, row units, hoses, belts, and electrical wiring to make sure we are ready for the field. More specifics can be found in the article “Planter “Pre-Flight” Checklist”.

Calibration graphic.

Two critical focus areas that need to be checked include the depth and closing systems on the planter. Field trial research has shown that these two planter settings are critical to help with consistent seedling emergence and are important factors in yield potential this fall. The video “Checking the Depth Settings” shows how to check the depth setting.

After verifying the depth settings are correct, make sure the closing system is adjusted to close the trench from the bottom of the trench to the top. Closing the bottom of the trench assures good seed to soil contact with moist soil in the trench. The video “Checking Closing Wheel Alignment” will help to determine the closing system is properly set.

It is important to properly prepare and maintain the planter to set the stage for the seed to get planted at the proper depth and then to make sure the seed trench is properly closed to ensure the plants emerge at the same time. 

For additional information and resources on equipment and technology visit Digital Ag Extension