The most promising forecast of rain we have seen for a long time has seen some of our clients active in the field planting sorghum into long fallows where moisture is evident but too deep to germinate seed. In anticipation of this I’ve been called in to check a few planters that may get their first real run for two seasons.

One thing that was common with all the planters I checked was the door vacuum seal on a lot of the meters had become hard and deformed from sitting idle for so long. As the vacuum seals hardens it loses its ability to provide vacuum and starts to wear the seed plate prematurely.

Vacuum plays a very important part of the seed singulation process and increasing vacuum to compensate for a poor vacuum seal is treading a dangerous line given that various row units vacuum seals will possibly be in different stages of wear. Seed meters that are not equipped with a seed singulator will produce a high rate of doubles under high vacuum.

Every skip or double in the field is loss production. A 1% drop in seed singulation is costing you financially on both fronts with wasted seed and loss of yield.

The pictures show a reasonable condition vacuum seal in the door and a distorted hard seal I removed.

So why we may be tempted to pull the planter out of the shed and get stuck into it thinking “It hasn’t done anything since we last checked it” it may be just a good idea to have a quick look inside your meter before you start.