Soybean School: Setting the planter for soybean success

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When it comes to planter prep, corn is king. The simple truth is most growers spend a lot of time fine-tuning planters to ensure corn seeds are deposited at a consistent depth and are snugged into the soil after the trench is closed.

But what about soybeans? Do growers spend enough time working on how well their planters will set the oilseed crop up for success?

Kearney Planters operations manager Cullen Tinline says many of the pre-season planter adjustments and maintenance performed by growers will typically contribute to efficient planting of both crops — that includes everything from hydraulic cleanliness to checking mainframe pivot pins and tires and wheels, inspecting the row units, assessing parallel arm health,  looking for seed blade wear and prepping seed meters.

There are, however, specific soybean equipment choices and strategies that growers, and planter experts, continue to wrestle with. On this episode of RealAgriculture’s Soybean School, Tinline looks at whether growers should chose no-till coulters over trash wheels. There’s plenty of options and lots of configurations — from single arm versions to narrow and short arm versions — “but the narrower the row, the more trouble we seem to have with trash and with trash wheels,” he says.

“Fifteen inches and under, we seem to run into a problem with these due to trash flow,” says Tinline.  “We can put narrow gauge wheels on, we can do a lot of things, but eventually what it comes down to is we’re pushing trash from one row into the other.”

When it comes to coulters, Tinline believes they are a necessity — he says they take stress off the seed blades and create a more mellow path to the surface. But growers can run into problems if blades are not maintained and properly adjusted.

In the video, Tinline also looks at the ever-confusing world of closing wheels, the need to do population counts behind the  planter, and why it’s important to check planter electronics.

Tap here for more Soybean School videos.

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Soybean School (view all)Season 13 (2024) Episode 1

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