Introducing Furrow Brow planter gauge wheel blades... When planting conditions aren't perfect, your seeding depth still can be.
Every good farmer knows that uniform emergence is crucial to
getting high yields.One critical part
of uniform emergence is getting consistent planting depth.There are a lot of planter designs, popular
methods and attachments, all aimed at getting seeds uniformly placed at the
bottom of the seed furrow –but the truth is that planting depth all starts at
the depth gauge wheel.The wheels need
to contact the ground and they need to be ROUND!That sounds pretty simple, but in actual
practice there are conditions in almost every field which make that difficult
–at least some of the time.In a perfect
world, soil at planting time would be sufficiently dry and friable to the
extent that it didn’t cling to planter parts.Often, this is the case on 90% of a field, but the other 10% of the
field is a little sticky.Sometimes the
surface is dry, but the soil below clings to openers or coulters, which bring
out lumps of the damp soil or mud which then cling to the depth gauge
wheels.Result:lumpy, out-of-round depth gauge wheels cause
uneven planting depth and bouncing of the row unit itself.And soil carried on the gauge wheels affects
the acres far beyond where the problem starts, such that uneven planting depth occurs
even in areas of the field where soil conditions are ideal.
simple, inexpensive, and durable solution to build-up on planter depth gauge
not a scraper, as it never actually touches the gauge wheel.Nor does it need adjustment.Properly installed, it is placed directly
between the pivot arm bolt and the wheel and centered within the range of
motion of the wheel, such that its distance from the wheel is consistent no
matter where the wheel is within that range of motion.It will not remove every speck of dirt from
the wheel on every rotation, but it will “knock off” any lumps large enough to
seriously affect planting depth.In
ideal soil conditions –it does nothing.Isn’t that what you want it to do?
How the product works –the secret of Furrow Brow success:
What makes Furrow Brow different from all other gauge wheel scrapers, blades,
and cleaners that you might find on the market is that Furrow Brow is the
only one in which the blade doesn't touch the gauge wheel tire, and the only
one in which the blade is in a static position and does not travel with the
wheel. These features are why Furrow Brow actually solves a problem when most gauge wheel scrapers just
trade one problem for another. Because the blade does not touch the
tire, in ideal conditions the Furrow Brow does nothing. It is just there. It
doesn't rub the tire or wear on the tire. Because the blade is in a static
position relative to the wheel, each time the planter is raised, the movement
of the tire down and to the rear dislodges any mud or debris which has
accumulated behind the blade... and you start with a clean blade on the next
planter pass. And because the blade is perpendicular to the wheel, there is little chance of material "hairpinning" over the blade and stopping the wheel.
Many a farmer has asked, "What keeps the brow from turning on the bolt when it encounters mud or debris?" The answer is simple: Bolt tension. We recommend torqueing the bolts to the specification for the bolt which is provided in the instructions. On some planters we provide a grade 8 bolt to increase that torque value. With that much tension, and with the brow itself having such a short lever to exert force on the bolt, the impact of mud or debris on the blade is actually insignificant. Having the brows mount directly to the gauge wheel arm bolt makes them extremely easy to install.
After the widespread planting struggles of 2019, some potential customers have asked if Furrow Brows work in high residue situations, in
extreme mud, or in combinations of the two. The answer to this is yes, but with
the qualifier that everything has a limit ...and rest assured, someday someone will find it. Furrow Browwas initially designed to
clean the gauge wheels in marginal planting conditions, or where part of a
field was marginal, or where muddy spots were present but small, incidental, or brief.
And for that they work great! Having no-tilled into heavy corn stalks, soybean stubble, and 30 inch tall green cover crops, experience has shown that residue is just not a problem for Furrow Brows, as more than 500 users can attest.
No one seeks to plant into large muddy areas, but
sometimes planting in bad conditions just can't be avoided. In 2019, Furrow Brows were tested in conditions way and far beyond their initial intent. The
result was that they actually worked surprisingly well in sticky mud with heavy corn
residue thrown in. The coulters/residue managers balled up with mud, the closing wheels built up with mud and corn stover until they wouldn't turn, and both the coulters and closing wheels had to be cleaned off periodically just to keep going. It was that muddy! (I wouldn't advise anyone to ever plant in such awful conditions if they want to raise a decent crop... especially corn.) In conditions this bad, a ball of material usually accumulated on each brow blade
and generally failed to dislodge until it became large enough to "shed off"... yet the gauge
wheels ran clean and never stopped or balled up. In other words, in the worst-case scenario "it was ugly but it worked!"
the rare situations where problems have been reported with Furrow Brow, it has
almost always been attributed to planting into residue with surface wetness where the
residue itself stuck to the gauge wheel tire and piled up against the Furrow Brow
blade, thereby creating a residue plug ahead of the closing wheels... such as when planting cover crops into a field covered with snow. In
these situations, I recommended loosening the brow and rotating them out of the
way, but for most people this will never be an issue.