Corn School: It pays to invest in planter meter maintenance

Have you noticed doubles and skips in your corn fields? Poor-performing meters on planter row units are the likely culprits and they’re costing you money.

With the 2020 planting season quickly approaching, we asked Kearney Planters service manager Shaun Dilliott to share some tips on meter maintenance and testing. Dilliott and his team work on hundreds of meters every year at their Thamesville, Ont., facility.

In this episode of RealAgriculture’s Corn School, Dilliott says it’s normal for growers to bring in meters that haven’t been serviced in several years. Testing often reveals the accuracy of these meters to be 90 per cent or even lower. That’s a big waste of money, says Dilliott who notes the meters don’t leave his shop unless they are operating at 98.5 per cent accuracy or better.

In the video, Dilliott takes a look at both vacuum and mechanical meters and identifies typical maintenance requirements, including parts replacement. He notes that it can cost up to $150 per meter to replace parts and perform service, but growers will see the difference. “It will show in the field with a picket fence stand,” he says.

The cost of maintenance and repair is really only a fraction of what growers lose in the field when you factor in lost yield and extra seed costs, says Dilliott. “Sometimes you can recoup your investment in less than one season.”

Click here for more Corn School episodes.

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