Top Tips for Optimal Planting

Success starts with planting.
By: Daryl Bouchard, Store Manager, LOCKWOOD® Manufacturing

With the planting season just around the corner, I’d like to share some of my top planting tips to help you maximize your yields and profits. The success of your potato crop all starts with how well it is planted.

Before you fill your planter and head to the field, it’s important to check for worn parts. In addition, make sure opener plows are built up or replaced — this is crucial for maintaining proper seed depth.

Optimal seed spacing is important to maintain a more uniform size profile for seed, table, and processing markets.

Ground speed is very important for proper seed spacing. We all like to plant faster than we should; however, this can cause problems. No matter the spacing — whether you’re planting at 7 inches or up to 18 — when seed pieces make contact with the ground at higher ground speeds, they have a tendency to roll, which creates uneven spacing. Good seedbed prep will also improve seed spacing.

Additionally, check that soil isn’t flowing forward and changing your seed depth at different ground speeds.

Make sure covering discs are adjusted properly to the correct angle so that they don’t disrupt the granular fertilizer bands. The fertilizer band must be 3 to 3½ inches to each side and 1½ to 2 inches below the seed piece.

Pick planters will help hold seed pieces in place on rolling ground. Belted cup planters require more blocky seed pieces to prevent rolling, while air cup planters hold seed pieces in the cups with suction. All three planter types will do an excellent job at spacing if your seed profile is cut properly — try to maintain a nice blocky seed profile.

LOCKWOOD has introduced height sensing on its new planters, which controls fertilizer and seed piece placement depth whether the planter is loaded or empty. When they are full, most planters will plant seed pieces deeper. Additionally, individual row shutoff, a patented LOCKWOOD planter feature, aids in ensuring appropriate seed placement and spacing when making turns.

Last but not least, make accurate adjustments to your seed cutter. Potato planter performance in the field is directly affected by seed preparation. If you believe your operation’s seed preparation, planter performance or seed spacing could be improved, contact your equipment dealer to optimize your planting results. Once seed is in the ground, you can’t make changes until next year.

Success starts with planting.

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