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.