Pre-Planting Checklist for a Seamless Planting Season

Submitted by Adam Grillot on

When it comes to planting, preparation is key. To ensure a smooth, uninterrupted planting season, it's crucial to take some time to check that everything is in order. In light of this, here's a comprehensive pre-planting checklist to help you avoid potential issues and pave the way for a successful planting season.

Manuals and Safety

  • Locate and consult your operator’s manuals for all operational and maintenance information.
  • Review all highway transportation and safety items in your operator’s manual.

    Tractor Checks

    • Check the configuration of your tractor for your planter (tread settings, tire inflation, hitch settings, and ballast).
    • Confirm that your tractor maintenance is up-to-date and all filters and fluids have been checked.
    • Ensure the tractor warning and field lights, HVAC, radar, and GPS components are working properly.

    Planter Checks

    • Connect the planter electrical harness to the tractor and check the planter turn signals and flashing warning lights.
    • Verify your planter has a Slow Moving Vehicle (SMV) sign in good repair.
    • Check the planter wheel lug bolts for torque and tire inflation.

    Seed Meters and Hydraulic Hoses

    • Check your seed meters for brush condition and proper meter to housing clearances.
    • Connect the hydraulic hoses to the tractor and check the hose routing for proper slack and avoid any unintended pinching or rubbing.

    Operation Checks

    • Operate all fold, unfold, raise, and lower functions and check for leaks.
    • Operate markers raise, lower, and alternating functions in both auto and manual positions.

    System Checks

    • Connect vacuum and CCS motor hoses, verify return circuit hose connection to motor return fitting, operate motors and check for leakage and proper operation. (Make sure to use the “float” valve position to stop motors.)
    • If your planter is equipped with Individual Row Hydraulic Downforce (IRHD), purge and flush the system.
    • Check the seed and fertilizer drive clutches, sprockets, chains, idlers, drive couplers for proper alignment and unusual wear.

    Transmission Checks

    • Check the seed and fertilizer transmissions for the right sprocket combinations for your desired seeding and fertilization rates.
    • Check seed and fertilizer transmission drive tire inflation and engagement point.

    Before Planting

    • Fill the liquid fertilizer system with water, check for operation and leakage, then drain the water.
    • Check Tru-Vee™ blades for a minimum diameter of 14 inches and a blade to blade contact area of 1.5 to 2.5 inches. Adjust as necessary.

    Supplies and Testing

    • Check that gauge wheel tires just touch blades, and still turn with minimal resistance, or are no more than 1.5 mm (0.06 in.) away from blades at closest point. Adjust as necessary.
    • Check that the seed tubes are centered (not contacting blades) and seed tube guards can “self-center.”
    • Check and adjust seed depth, row unit down pressure, closing wheel pressure, and row unit attachments for anticipated field conditions, and verify all units are set identical as a starting point.
    • Check all monitor and precision software and update as required.
    • Verify monitor setup for number of rows, row width, planter width, radar calibration, vacuum sensors, down force sensors, fertilizer sensors, ride dynamic sensor, pneumatic down force sensors as equipped on your planter.
    • Lubricate all chains and lubrication fittings; ensure lubrication fittings take grease.
    • Verify you have extra shear pins for seed drives, fertilizer drives, and markers.
    • Check to be sure you have an adequate supply of graphite or talc for seed units.
    • If possible take planter to test area and check seed drop and spacing by tying up closing wheels. Verify spacing is correct for anticipated plant population. Be sure to warm hydraulic oil and fill seed disks prior to setting vacuum levels. Check the distance from Fertilizer trench to seed disc confirm it is correct 2 inches away and preferably 2 inches deeper.


    Following this comprehensive checklist will pave the way for a successful planting season. 

    Should you need any further assistance or have any questions about these checks, don't hesitate to connect with us at Koenig Equipment. Our team of experts is always ready to provide you with the support you need to ensure a smooth and successful planting season.


    Related resources: 

    New John Deere Tractors

    New John Deere Planters and Drills

    New John Deere Precision Farming Equipment

    New John Deere Application Equipment