How often do you think about your closing wheel settings? Do you think about how that can impact your yield? Every year, before planting season begins, it is important to test your closing wheel settings and get them where you want them. A mistake in your closing wheel settings on your corn planter can cause problems in emergence. Problems in emergence can turn into yield impacting issues.
A new article was written in the Southeast Farm Press about studies done on closing wheel settings. It gives farmers something to think about before planting season this year. Darren Goebel, agronomist and manager of global agronomy and farm solutions for Agco, has a Crop Tour Program that includes 20 sites across the corn belt. Closing wheel pressure is one of the tests his company conducts. Their goal is to show farmers that how you set your planter makes a big difference. Uniform emergence is something every corn growing farmer should strive for in their fields.
One of Goebel’s studies was done in Union City, Ohio. He visited the site last summer, right after pollination, to evaluate and help farmers. The closing wheel aggressiveness test was done at 7 different sites. The first setting = lightest and the fourth setting = heaviest. The yields from the trials varied from 228 bushels per acre at setting 2 to 222 bu./ac. at setting 4. Goebel says that the first two settings were virtually the same at around 227 bu./ac. Setting 3 averaged 225 bu./ac. All of the trials were done in conventional tillage because in no-till fields, Agco spokespeople explain, the heaviest pressure is often needed. This properly closes the slot over the seed.
The main observation made comes down to using the minimum pressure needed and that will completely close the furrow and maximize emergence. Goebel recommends a certain procedure when adjusting your closing wheels:
- Dig behind the planter and make sure the seed is at the depth you’ve selected.
- Make sure it is firmed in the soil.
- If the seed is at the right depth and firmed in the trench, back off closing wheel pressure to the right setting.
- Make sure closing wheels are properly aligned.
Closing wheel pressure ultimately comes down to an issue of emergence. If that is a goal on your operation, then making sure your closing wheel settings are correct is a must. Emergence dictates high yields and having even emergence through out your field is the first step in a great growing year. We encourage you to take a look at your closing wheel settings this year and reach out to us for any more information on spring planter prepping.
Source: Southeast Farm Press