What is in this article?:
- Corn planter adjustments for dry soil
- Extra weight may be required
• Many planters allow seed depth to be adjusted 3 to 4 inches. Actual depth should be checked however to ensure penetration of seed openers and accurate seed placement.
• Row cleaners may be used as an aid for deeper planting, but subsequent rainfall can create soil sealing or erosion.
• Greater down pressure than normal may aid seed-to-soil contact.
Extra weight may be required
In some cases, extra weight may be required on the planter toolbar frame to allow penetration of the seed opener. This last issue is more commonly encountered when a large number of row units are used on a given planter toolbar (e.g., narrow- or split-row planter use) or separate fertilizer injectors are used on the planter.
Rather than relying strictly on depth adjustment between the bottom of the seed opener and bottom of depth-gauge wheels an alternative approach to increasing planting seed depth to a zone of adequate moisture is to create a furrow ahead of the planter by setting row cleaner depth deeper than usual.
This concept loosens soil for easier penetration of the seed opener. More aggressive or deeper depth settings may remove an inch or two of surface soil before insertion of the seed by the seed opener and depth-gauge wheels.
Creating a furrow with row cleaners may be the simplest method to insert seed deeper than ordinarily capable with the planter’s seed depth adjustment (typically 3 to 4 inches). This approach has worked well for some operators in previous planting situations with dry surface soil.
This approach carries potential risks if rains occur during early germination and growth. Rainfall can puddle and seal tilled soils affecting the ability of corn to emerge. Even if corn has emerged, excessive water runoff erodes soil and can wash seed and plants from furrows if rows are sloping.
Contrary to planting in moist or wet soil, increasing down pressure somewhat on closing wheels can help seed-to-soil contact. Some extra down pressure on depth-gauge wheels slightly increases seed depth and increases emergence rate, bringing additional moisture into the seed zone by increasing capillary action on the soil water.
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