By Dave Amson, Morris Customer Service Manager
The most valuable tool in your pre-seeding equipment toolbox is a sound, proactive, pre-maintenance program. If you are like most farmers, including myself, the February blahs have you anxiously awaiting the upcoming growing season and getting your equipment out and onto the fields. However, taking this time to be proactive by investing in the pre-season maintenance of your air cart and air drill will be critical to their performance, and ultimately, the success of your crop.
Delays due to seeding errors caused by equipment issues are costly. If you think you are just going to pull into the field to seed, you could be in for a big surprise. That is why following a pre-season checklist is so important. Since preventive maintenance is key, be sure to spend the time. Thoroughly inspect that chains and gears are working as they should. Make sure there are no cracks in wiring and that all tires and openers are in good shape. And, of course, a good pre-season checklist starts with good post-season protocols and management too, as fertilizers can cause corrosion and can seize things up.
Our 22-point air drill pre-season checklist and our 42-point air cart checklist are a comprehensive guide to performing maintenance on your equipment prior to seeding season. I want to highlight a very important maintenance step that many farmers skip.
Checking for Air Leaks
When it comes to equipment maintenance and air drills, air leaks are often missed. Air leaks in an air cart can be disastrous. Although it takes a little more work, I recommend what we call “dead heading” the system. It is the best procedure for checking for air leaks. Start by placing a blank off plate or piece of cardboard to separate between the cart and the drill’s primary air hoses. This will act like the drill is going into the ground, thus creating backpressure back into the tank to help you find leaks more easily. Use soapy water and spray around the air cart to check for major leaks. Slow bubbles are okay, but fast popping bubbles need to be addressed. Air leaks will cause problems with product flow and accuracy, and in some cases, it will fully prevent seed from coming out of one of the heads, so the product is either bridging up in the tank or dispersed to a different head.
Although crucial, this pre-season maintenance test for air leaks often gets bypassed, as most people don’t think they feel leaks (and you won’t until you fully test as I recommend above). In fact, I would suggest that, despite the risk of causing huge financial losses, less than five per cent of farmers actually perform a thorough pre-season maintenance air check.
At Morris, we work closely with our local dealers to support farmers in growing their success. To get off to the right start this growing season, visit your local Morris equipment dealer for a pre-season inspection, or utilize our online pre-season checklists.
Either way, make sure you give yourself adequate time to get up and running and definitely don’t leave it to the last minute. After all, when it comes to equipment, you have a lot invested. That is why their care and maintenance is important for not only the success of your crop but also the life of the equipment.
How do you ensure seeding success? Tweet @Morris_Seeding and share your pre-season routine.
Dave Amson is the Customer Service Manager and has been part of the team for six and a half years. He operates a mixed farm of about 1,000 acres with 60-70 head of cattle near Radisson, SK. The main crops on Dave’s farm are canola, wheat, barley, oats and flax.