Take Time to Adjust the Planter
To help provide “picket fence stands,” corn growers must make proper planter adjustments. It’s also important to match the planter speed to field conditions and to avoid planting seeds in extremely poor soil conditions.
Planting in soils that are too wet can lead to sidewall compaction. The under-developed root systems resulting from the compaction are often confined in a flat plane within the furrow trench. Planting in too wet of soil, especially with coulters, allows sticky soil to build up on gauge wheels resulting in planting depth differences.
Shallow planting places seed in differing soil moisture levels and can result in differing emergence dates. Shallow planting also can lead to a shallow secondary root system. “Rootless corn” may result, or plant development may be greatly delayed compared to neighboring plants.
Failure to close the furrow is usually caused by poor soil conditions, improper closing wheels for field conditions, incorrect down pressure, or planting in sod. Worn or improperly adjusted planter parts can cause or aggravate all the previously mentioned problems.
Make sure your planter does all its jobs properly: open the seed furrow without sidewall compaction; place seeds at a uniform depth; and close the seed slot without compaction. Stop the planter frequently and physically check to ensure you’re getting uniform seed depth and good seed-to-soil contact. Although it will take a few extra minutes in the spring, you’ll be glad you did when it’s time to harvest those extra bushels come fall!