In row crop operations, harvest yields are dependent on proper land preparation and planting in the spring. Since the planting season is so critical, learn how you can prepare to have a successful one.
How do I prepare my land for planting, and why is it important?
Whether you run a tillage or no-till row crop operation, there are still things you should do to prepare your land for spring planting. Your land should be fertilized and clean of weeds and debris from the cold winter months. Regular soil testing and proper fertilization practices from the test recommendations will help ensure your soil has the right nutrients for your row crop operation.
Importance of land preparation for row crops
Land preparation ensures you give your row crops the best seed-to-soil contact for optimal growth and enhanced yields. If your soil is not clean, fertilized, or prepared correctly, your crops and yields will reflect that. Land preparation is where your crop cycle begins, so you must consider proper fertilization and preparation before spring planting begins.
What do I need to do to get my equipment ready to plant?
Whether you do the pre-season work on your equipment yourself or work with your local Koenig Equipment Service Department, it is always important to make sure your equipment is in proper working condition before heading to the field.
The importance of equipment inspections before the planting season
Equipment inspections prevent unexpected failures and minimize repair costs by ensuring that your equipment and all its components are working properly. Koenig Equipment offers KoenigCare Inspection programs for agriculture equipment. With KoenigCare, a certified John Deere technician will perform a multi-point inspection of your equipment, checking for required repairs and making recommendations to ensure your equipment is field-ready this spring.
Planter maintenance checklist
- Row Cleaners – Review row cleaners for wear and adjust accordingly.
- Coulters – Look over the coulters and measure their diameters. If a coulter is slightly worn but still usable, adjust the depth to ensure it reaches the same depth as the rest of the coulters.
- Closing Wheels – All bearings need to be tightened appropriately. Consult your operator's manual for model-specific guidance. Verify that the closing wheels have no damage or wear and that the spring is intact.
- Meters – Take apart to clean and replace any covers with cracks. Look over the seed brushes and replace any that are worn. Make sure you calibrate the metering units as well.
- Chains and Sprockets – Look through all the chains and sprockets. If they show wear and need replacing, now is the time to do so. Be sure to grease the chains and sprockets regularly throughout the season.
- Depth Wheels – Depth wheels need to be running tight against the disks. Look over the washers and ensure they are good and not worn. If you need to change the washers, be sure to work from the inside to the outside (or vice versa) and not at random.
- Seed Tubes – Ensure the ends of all seed tubes are open. As a seed tube wears, it tends to curl inward, causing the seeds to catch and not be planted as intended. While looking over, ensure the tubes are fastened correctly so as not to come loose and cause future damage.
- Seed Firmers – The seed firmers assist in pressing the seed down into the ground to the correct depth. Check the tension and adjust the bolts until the desired tension is reached. Again, if these pieces are worn, it is better to replace them before the season to prevent any issues in the field.
- Planter Unit – Planter units should be level. Look over each planter unit one at a time. If the sides are not the same height, check the bolts to make sure they are tightened or see if additional bushings are needed to make the unit level again.
- Seed Opener Disks – Seed opener disks should have a 'V' slot to open the ground. If the disks are worn and need replacing, if you see a 'W' opening. Check your operator's manual for the minimum diameter your specific planter needs to place the seed at the correct depth.
What planting tools and equipment are available from John Deere?
Depending on your operation, you can choose a John Deere planter or drill for your row crop planting equipment. If your crop is corn and soybeans, you will need a planter. Depending on your preference, John Deere offers a few different planters: air seeders, drawn planters, or mounted planters. A grain drill might be a better option if you only plant soybeans and prefer a closer row and planting at higher seed populations.
What should my planting schedule look like?
Ultimately, the weather controls when you can get crops in the ground, but there are some standard time frames for planting corn and soybeans. Your planting schedule can vary year-to-year depending on weather and soil conditions.
Corn planting tips
Corn has a tight, ideal window to get it in the ground. After years of study and research, the ideal time to plant corn is from April 20 to May 10. As you go further into May, the yield potential starts to decrease more and more.
Soybean planting tips
Soybeans offer a bit more of a grace period on planting windows. In the southern regions of Ohio and Indiana, soil conditions are usually suitable for soybean planting any time after April 15. In the northern regions, the last week in April is a better time to start planting soybeans.
What John Deere equipment can help me maximize my efficiency during planting season?
John Deere offers precision agriculture equipment and solutions to increase your operation’s productivity and efficiency during planting season. With a StarFire™ receiver and a display, you can leverage programs like AutoTrac™, AutoTrac™ Implement Guidance, and more to maximize your operation. Contact your local Optimization Specialist today to learn more about the John Deere precision agriculture solutions Koenig Equipment offers.