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APRIL / MAY 2017

Upcoming Events

By Glen Davis, President, Legend Seeds

Happy Planting Season! All year long we work toward planting season and this is the time of year when we like to remind everyone that there is only one chance to plant and we need to do it right. Outside of hybrid selection, planting is one of the most influential factors in having a high yielding and successful year. At Legend Seeds, our job is to make sure we have the best genetics available for you and that they are properly placed on your acres. We feel hybrid selection is also a critical factor, one of the things that differentiates us is our testing program that allows us to get the right product on each acre. This planting season when the stress-level can be high, let’s remember to slow down and do it right. Even though you feel rushed because there is so much work to do and lots of ground to cover. This edition of The Advantage includes a Spring Planter Maintenance Checklist from our Research & Lead Sales Agronomist, Josh Lamecker. Josh dives into the technical aspects of tuning up a planter and the article serves as a great reminder to carry along to the shop as you look over your planting equipment. If there’s anything you need, give us a call! That’s the Legend Advantage for our customers while working with a regional seed company. Call us if you have any questions or needs: 1-800-678-3346. Your success is our success. Let us know how we can help. Put us to the test!

KNOWLEDGE PLOTS Be sure to check our website or Facebook page for announcement of dates and locations! LAKE PRESTON, SD KNOWLEDGE PLOT

June 8, 2017 • 5:00 - 6:30 PM WISCONSIN TECH DAYS July 11-13, 2017 • Algoma, WI MN FARMFEST

August 1-3, 2017 Redwood Falls, MN DAKOTAFEST

August 15-17, 2017 Mitchell, SD SD STATE FAIR

Aug. 31 - Sept. 4, 2017 Huron, SD BIG IRON FARM SHOW

Sept. 12-14, 2017 West Fargo, ND

I have seen the Legend Advantage with the performance of the Legend Seeds soybeans on my farm for the past two years. I’m proud to say that my farm will be 100% Legend soybeans in 2017. James Wollak - Rice, MN

2016 Yield Advantage Club Member


contact the disc opener along the entire width of the scraper. If your planter uses rotary scrapers, be sure that the scraper is not worn to the point that the mounting for the scraper contacts the opener blade.

Spring planting is an important time for precision and there’s little room for error when it comes to getting your crop off to a good start. Here’s a maintenance checklist to consider as you begin preparing to plant:

7. Gauge Wheels: The row unit gauge wheel should make contact with the disc opener blade and act as a second scraper when the row unit is in the ground. If the gauge wheel is not making proper contact, adjust the shims in the gauge wheel arm. You may have to replace the gauge wheel arm or replace the bushings. Gauge wheel tires also wear out and lose their shape and scraping edge that contacts the disc opener. Replace the tire if necessary.

1. Frame: Inspect frame structure for signs of metal fatigue, such as cracks, bowing or separated welds. This type of wear can be hazardous to the operator and expensive to repair if left too long. 2. Hydraulic System: Inspect cylinders, hoses, and hydraulic lines for leaks.

8. Closing System: All planters have some sort of closing system, whether that system is a pair of V wheels, a single press wheel or a combination of closing discs and wheels. Inspecting closing wheels is a lot like inspecting gauge wheels. You want to make sure your bearings are good and that pivot points and axles are not overly worn. The rubber tire on the closing wheel should not be overly worn or want to slip on the rim. Check your down pressure springs for broken or cracked springs and make sure the adjustment to the down pressure spring works freely. Closing discs should be inspected, too. They have very small bearings and blades that can wear out easily.

3. Drive Line: Inspect drive shafts and couplers for twisting or abnormal wear. Replace worn out bearings, sprockets and chains. Chains that are rusty can be freed up by soaking them in diesel fuel or chain lube. All of the chains should be welllubricated with a lightweight oil or chain lube. 4. Row Units: Inspect down pressure spring, parallel linkage and bushings. All broken, twisted or worn parts on the shank of the row unit should be replaced. Some planters have a firming point, shoe, or inside scraper. These need to be replaced on a regular basis, this will depend on your soil type. The inside scraper also functions as a guard for the seed tube, if it is worn too much, your disc openers will wear on the seed tube. Worn seed tubes can cause erratic seed placement in the seed trench. If your seed tubes need replacement, you can now purchase seed tubes with tungsten inserts that can come in contact with the disc opener. These inserts can protect against wear.

9. Metering Systems: Mechanical finger meters: Examine wheel for broken fingers or overly stretched springs. Examine carrier plate, if a wear groove has developed along the top of the carrier plate make sure that it has not worn through the dimple in the plate. This hill and valley is important for preventing doubles. If it is worn more than halfway through, it should be replaced. Replace the brush at the top of the carrier plate every 100-150 unit acres. This is a cheap fix to doubles and overplanting in older meters. Check the seed belt for cracks, if the seed belt is becoming hard or brittle, replace it. Hard or brittle belts can make the meter drag and cause doubles. Examine the belt sprocket every other year, if the teeth are becoming hook-shaped, replace them. Hooked teeth can make the seed belt jump and can increase wear on the seed belt and meter drive parts. When reassembling a finger meter, never overtighten the drive parts. in most cases, finger tight is sufficient. Overtightening will increase wear. The best way to make sure your meters are working properly is to have them tested. Meters should be tested every year. Have your meters tested by a trained professional and make sure his test counts 1,000 seed drops per test. Any test recording less than 1,000 seeds is not accurate enough to properly adjust your meter. If at all possible, provide your dealer with a sample of your seed or at least advise them on what seed size you use and what seed treatments you use. This will ensure that your meters are adjusted to fit your needs.

5. Disc Openers: Any chipped, cracked, or abnormally worn disc blades should be replaced. Measure the blades across the center to determine wear. Most new disc opener blades measure 15 inches. Replace disc blades that show more than ½ inch of wear. The disc opener blades should make contact with one another from 8:00 to 6:00 with about 4 inches of circumference. Heavy duty opener blades will not have as much contact (only about 3 inches), always replace disc openers in pairs. Mismatching new and used opener blades can seriously affect the row unit’s ability to penetrate hard ground. Using mismatched blades will also create an abnormally-shaped seed trench, which will negatively affect seed placement. 6. Scrapers: If your planter uses flat scrapers, replace the scrapers after ½ inch of wear or if the scrapers no longer firmly

Brush Meters: Check the individual cells on the seed plates to make sure that they are not becoming malformed. Inspect the brushes in the meter and replace the bottom brush if it is


missing over 10% of the bristles. A telltale sign of a bad lower brush is severe overplanting. The upper brush is much more sensitive. If the bristles are missing, bent over, or worn off, replace the brush. Brush meters will have a wear band along the inside of the meter housing. This is to prevent seed from wearing into the casting. Replace the wear band when it gets thin.

These need to be adjusted. Replacement meters that John Deere uses have a lot of retrofit kits and replacement seed plates, or other parts are available from specialty companies. These products have some merit and most back up their claims with sound research. Seed Lubricants: Every planter manufacturer has a seed lubricant that they recommend using in their meter, whether it is mechanical, brush, vacuum or pressure metering. Use the type of lubricant suggested for your brand of planter. ADVANTAGE

Vacuum and air pressure type metering system: Planters that use air to meter seed require a different level of maintenance than mechanical meters. Inspect all of the air delivery lines for potential and current leaks. Inspect the seed plates for cracks and examine all the dust seals on seed-plated and hose joints. Make sure these items seal properly to prevent dust from getting in the system. Fine dust can quickly damage even new air pumps. Many brands of vacuum meters have “knock off” brushes, little brushes the seed moves against to knock off doubles and seat the seed firmly against the seed plate.

2017 ALFALFA WINTER KILL FACTORS By Dan Matzek, Dairy & Livestock Business Lead & Agronomist

As spring approaches each year, it is important to pay attention to your alfalfa fields as they begin to green up and grow. It is time to look for signs of “winter kill”. Winter kill is the generic term used to describe death of an alfalfa stand from fall through spring. However, the name is misleading, because most stand death happens during the spring. There are many reasons why alfalfa dies out over the winter and in the early spring. This year we have more factors working against the alfalfa than normal. I’ll provide a recap of the conditions alfalfa stands have faced in the Northern US starting last fall that give me cause for concern this year when inspecting your alfalfa stand for winter kill.

be severely injured and killed by the freezing temperatures. In eastern Wisconsin, there were fields that had 6-8 inches of new spring growth in March before the weather turned back to the multiple nights near zero with below zero windchills. This may have killed these fields and they will need to be watched very closely as the weather warms up again in late March and early April. ► C  rowns & Taproot Concerns: A second form of winter kill is having the crowns heaved or pushed up out of the soil (shown below). When there is more than a half-inch of exposed root below the crown, then there is a very high probability that the taproot has been severed and the alfalfa plant will die shortly after greening up in the spring. Sometimes, the taproot gets severed deep enough that the plants will yield close to normal initially, but when cut for the first time the stand will never green up again.

► Cool and Wet Fall in 2016: Our warning signs started last fall with saturated soils in many areas for a prolonged time which puts the alfalfa roots in an oxygen deficit. Then, the soils froze in December. Then we had a brief warm up that added more water from the melting snow and rain that caused ponding water in the lower areas which then froze again. If the water was deep enough to cover the crowns and stems that were left, then there is a good chance that some plants died at that time. ►W  arm and Wet February in 2017: Currently in many of the areas in the Legend Seeds footprint, February experienced a record warm up and melted the snow cover we had and added even more puddles to the fields which would refreeze adding to the stresses already there from the fall.

Photo Credit: Michigan State University ► T he final risk factor is one that we don’t have to worry about in the spring of 2017. The general rule is that a prolonged soil temperature of 15° F at 3-inches deep will kill alfalfa. ADVANTAGE There has been sufficient snow cover through the coldest part of winter across the Legend Seeds footprint to protect the plants from low temperatures, so this is not a concern in our northern region this year. (Continued on back panel)

► Early March Warmup in 2017: The danger with losing our snow cover in early spring is that the alfalfa plants are now exposed to the warming temperatures. In just as few as three days of temperatures in the upper 50s and low 60s alfalfa can break dormancy and start growing. This is particularly true with alfalfas that have a fall dormancy rating of four and higher. If alfalfa breaks dormancy too soon it can



Rotate or Leave it? The decision to rotate a field can be hard to make with the irregular patterns of dead areas. The rule of thumb is rotate if the field falls below the average of 40 stems/square foot. I recommend using a larger size hoop than the simple 1-foot squares that are often available and used. A larger circle will Winter kill from ponded water

give you a better representation. Be sure to sample several areas of the field until you feel comfortable with the numbers you are collecting. If you have questions or would like help in this decision-making process, please contact your local Legend Seeds representative for guidance. ADVANTAGE

Winter kill from cold soil temps

Photo Credits: Michigan State University

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April/May 2017 Advantage Newsletter  

April/May 2017 Advantage Newsletter