Successful planting in reduced tillage situations requires the operator to have a better understanding of how the planter operates than is needed for success in conventionally tilled conditions.
For best results the planting units should always be operated parallel to the soil line.
Low tongue height causes erratic control of unit mounted attachments. In addition, down force and closing wheel pressure are reduced if the planter units are tilted forward.
Down force on the units may need to be increased when planting in the following situations:
- Double crop/Sod/Mature green cover crops
- Drought/Planting directly on the old corn row
Selecting the Proper Depth Setting for Row Cleaners
For no-till operation the teeth should be set about 1/2" above the bottom of the seed trench. Small changes in depth of planting will not require an individual adjustment of the row cleaner; however, the amount of tooth engaged in the soil should not exceed 1-1/2" unless a furrow is needed to reach moisture.
For use in tilled soil the row cleaner should be raised to a point where the teeth ends are at the soil line or only slightly engaged. It is usually necessary to reduce the down force to a minimum setting in this situation because the planter sinks into the loose soil and may cause the row cleaner to furrow out the soil. Hard clods and root balls will be rolled aside. The cleaner's teeth will not be continuously rotating.
Depth adjustment in increments as small as 1/4" are achieved by alternating the pin between the outside holes in the receiver tube.
Use in Various Herbicide and Cover Situations
Martin Row Cleaners can be used to plant no-till where pre-plant herbicides have been applied on surface residue if rainfall occurs ahead of planting to move the herbicide from the trash to the soil. For most formulations this would require approximately 1/2" of rainfall. The cleaners should be operated at a shallow depth to insure that soil is not moved out of the row area.
Where herbicides have been incorporated into the soil by tillage, the risk of losing weed control in the row is substantial. Because the herbicide is combined with clods and trash, some of which will be moved aside, only the highest settings should be used. For best results use a floating model with side treader wheels.
Sods and cover crops that have been sprayed ahead of time and are starting to decay will be easily moved by the cleaner allowing sunlight to reach the soil.
Green covers will remain in place; however, the action of the teeth raking through soil fractures the sidewall and allows the seed trench to be closed easily.
In double crop planting the loose straw is raked aside and attached stubble remains in place.
Soil temperature begins to rise within a few hours after residue is moved on sunny days. Temperature readings at mid-afternoon with residue moved and bright sunlight usually register 5 to 7 degrees higher than areas covered with heavy residue. Numerous research studies during the past 40 years have shown that bare soil loses temperature during the night and must be warmed again by the sun each day.