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Confection Planting Guide & Troubleshooting Tips

Tuesday, January 1, 2008
filed under: Planting Systems

What’s the most important information source available for avoiding or rectifying problems associated with planting sunflower? It’s a tool every grower has — but one that some may not utilize as often as they should: your planter operator’s manual.

While some planter manuals are more “sunflower friendly” than others, all of them provide some information on metering systems, calibration procedures, depth control, planting speed, troubleshooting tips and the like. If you don’t find the answers in the manual, a call or trip to your dealer is in order.

Beyond that, several sunflower seed companies have web sites with useful seed selection and planting recommendations. A few even have developed — or are presently developing — booklets that provide specific advice on equipping and calibrating planters for top performance when seeding sunflower.

One of those is Seeds 2000, which makes available to its customers a general sunflower planting guide, as well as one that focuses specifically on planter recommendations for the large “new-generation” confection varieties.

“For many years, confection sunflower has been a challenge to plant with certain planters,” the Breckenridge, Minn.-based company notes. “As the industry moves to the new generation of even longer and larger seed, planting has become even more challenging.”

The following confection planting recommendations were compiled by Seeds 2000 from an variety of sources, including grower and dealer experiences, planter test stand results, and manufacturers’ recommendations.

— John Deere Vacuum —

• Recommended Disk — large sweet corn (ProMax 40, #A52391)

• Other Disk — small sweet corn (#A52390)

• Vacuum Setting — 8 to 12" water pressure

• Doubles Eliminator — #A61046

• Knockout Assembly — #A37348

Editor’s Comment: Deere itself recommends using the A52391 disk for seed lots that range from 2,250 to 3,250 seeds per pound, and the A52390 for seed lots ranging from 3,250 to 5,250 seeds per pound. Both are flat disks to aid with the pickup of the odd-shaped sunflower seeds. For other seed sizes, Deere offers the 30-cell sunflower disk #H136478.

• Troubleshooting —

Problem: Can’t set planting rate low enough for target population

Solution: Plug every other hole with silicone; then set planter at 2x the target rate in manual to compensate.

Problem: Monitor reads sporadically.

Solution: Mix talc slightly above manufacturer recommendation of one-half cup per bushel. If seed is treated with Cruiser, double manufacturer recommendation to 1 to 2 cups per bushel.

Problem: Seed plugging in tubes.

Solution: Switch to large curved seed tube #A56786.

— Deere Center Fill (CCS) —

• Same recommendations (including talc) as for the Deere vacuum planter.

• Troubleshooting —

Problem: Seed is plugged in hopper’s seed delivery hose end.

Solution: Reduce tank pressure, set at lighter density seed setting. Use hose end #A81580; cut hose end at 45°, with deepest cut starting at fill side of the end.

— Kinze or Deere Finger Pickup —

• Use large fingers. If planter setting cannot be set low enough, some growers take worn-out fingers, cut 0.5 to 1” off the pickup end of every other finger, and then set the planter at 2x the desired rate to compensate.

• Mix talc with seed at 1/2 to 1 cup per bushel. Use 1 to 2 cups if seed is treated with Cruiser.

Editor’s Comment: Deere recommends using sunflower finger #A37177 for oil sunflower seed sizes 3, 4 and 5.

• Troubleshooting —

Problem: New planter or updated units are under-planting or planting sporadically.

Solution: New teardrop-style metering cradle (backing plate) will not plant seeds consistently, kicking seeds out because the opening is too small. Use Kinze part #GR0664 (also works on JD units) or the old-style JD metering cradle. Part #GR0664 is more rectangular and will plant with 80-90% accuracy.

Problem: Seed tube plugging.

Solution: Use large curved seed tube — #A26184.

— White / Air Delivery —

• Recommended Disk — large corn (#852434) or medium corn (#852435)

• Air Setting — #2

• Tickler Brush — Set down 1/4 turn so just two of the four brushes touch.

— Case IH / 1200 Vacuum —

• Recommended Disk — large corn (#275116A)

• Vacuum — 20-22” water pressure

• Baffle Setting — 2

• Singulator Level (“old”, lever)— 0.75

• Singulator Level (“new”, dial) — 3

• Mix graphite (seed flow lubricant) at 1/8 to 1/4 cup per bushel. Use 1/4 to 1/2 cup if seed is treated with Cruiser.

— Case IH / Cyclo Air —

Seeds 2000 does not recommend the use of the Cyclo for planting confection sunflower.

— Air Seeders / Drills —

Follow manufacturer guidelines. Varies by brand.

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