It’s critical to try to eliminate vibration on your planter’s drive system.

Vibration from chains and sprockets moving through the field at 13-plus seeds per second can take a properly performing meter and cause it to create skips, doubles and spacing errors.

Be sure that any chains and sprockets are working well

Chains should be properly lubricated. Replace chains annually as they’re fairly inexpensive.

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You also want to check the sprockets themselves.

If the teeth on the sprocket begin to wear that’s going to create chatter and accelerated chain wear, which affects seed meter performance. 

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Check any tensioners and idlers.

If you see that an idler has wear in it, this can create vibration in a chain and cause it to walk back and forth. You’ll want to replace that idler. 

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Remove the drive chain from the hex shaft on the planter.

Put a wrench on the hex shaft and rotate it. Feel for any grinding that may occur. If it doesn’t feel smooth, you’ll want to pull the hex shaft out and check to ensure that the bearings themselves are spinning smoothly. If they’re not, be sure to replace them. 

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When replacing the bearings, check for proper alignment on any hex shaft sections on your planter.

Improper alignment can cause a section of the rows of your planter to have a loping characteristic to them. This means that the population will go high and low and high and low as the alignment of those drive dogs begins to change as you go through the field. Check at each fold point or shaft transition point on the planter. 

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If your planter has a cable drive, you’ll need to disconnect the cable drives and inspect the ends to ensure there’s no fraying. Fraying on the ends of the cable drives can create vibration and a poor rotation of the seed meter. This will also result in poor spacing down to the ground. 

These maintenance items take quite a bit of time, but they’re things that you can check in the off season. If you catch these errors before you go to the field, it’s going to save you a tremendous amount of downtime or regret from a poor stand in the coming season.

A Premier Precision Planting Dealer is your partner to help you achieve a picket fence stand this spring and steer clear of the regret that comes from avoidable yield loss caused by lack of maintenance. Find your local Precision Planting Premier Dealer at planterexpert.com.

To watch videos of all recommended annual maintenance checks, visit PrecisionPlanting.com/Maintenance.

Download the free Planter Maintenance Guide. This guide includes a 1-sheet checklist, links directing you to the corresponding videos, and an overview of 15 key maintenance areas on your planter.

Download the free guide! 

The Planter Maintenance series is brought to you by Precision Planting.

More from this series

Precision Planting, LLC is the leading provider of practical and effective precision ag technologies to help make farmers smarter every season. New technologies from Precision Planting are opening doors for farmers to take advantage of the data they collect on every field pass, from planting to harvest, and to use that data to increase production and profit potential by better managing input costs and ensuring the seeds they plant maintain their top-end yield potential at emergence and beyond.