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  • Writer's pictureYIELD ADVANTAGE

Straight and Level

Your toolbar is the foundation to everything that happens on your planter pass but it is one of the most overlooked and forgotten items on growers pre season checklist. The toolbar that your row units mount to must be level when in planting position or it will upset the balance of your entire planting sequence. If the bar is tipped forward or backward it will have negative effects on the relationship between the disc openers/ row cleaners/ closing system/ fertilizer system etc. If the tool bar is not set correctly it becomes much more difficult to troubleshoot any other system on the planter that might not be performing quite right. Adjusting toolbar level varies by planter model but usually includes adjustment at drawbar tongue or 3 point and linkage. Any time you switch to a different planting tractor or make other modifications its a good idea to confirm that your level has not changed.

Also important to think about is if the planter bar is straight and square from left to right. Especially important on larger and folding planters , it is not uncommon for toolbars to get stressed over time from all sorts of thing like hitting a rocks, poles, pulling through soft soil/mud, turning to tight and bending a draft tube, bearing/ mechanical failures etc. It doesn't take much of a change to cause larger planters to pull very unevenly, in which case all of todays expensive GPS and automation may not keep your seed where it needs to be. Repair or adjustment may be needed.

Finally pay attention to the working height of the toolbar. It should be at a height that allows the row unit parallel arms to straight and level the majority of the time. If parallel arms are running uphill or downhill it will throw off performance of the entire row unit. Pay attention to any stops set into the 3 point system on mounted planters. Many drawn planters need different combinations of cylinder depth stops to make sure that the left side of the machine matches the right side and that wings match the center.

Keep these easy checks in mind this pre season and hopefully you can save some headaches when the seed starts going in the ground!

(The farmer below skipped these few easy checks and adjustments and his performance suffered because of it.)

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