Mechanical Finger Meters
- Examine wheel for broken fingers or overly stretched springs.
- Examine carriers 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 of 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 150-200 unit acres. 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. Also, 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 treatments you use. This will ensure that your meters are adjusted to fit your needs.
- Check the individual cells on the seed plates to make sure that they are not becoming malformed.
- Inspect the brushes in the meter. Replace the bottom brush if it is missing over 10% of its 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.
Vacuum And Air Pressure type metering systems
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. These need to be adjusted and replaced periodically.
The vacuum meters that John Deere uses have a lot of retrofit kits and replacement seed plates and other parts from specialty companies. All of these products have some merit and most back up their claims with sound research.
Every planter manufacturer has a seed lubricant that they recommend using in their meter, whether it is mechanical, vacuum or pressure metering. Use the type of lubricant suggested for your brand of planter.