Mastering Hydraulic Down Force: Planting Tips for Optimal Seed Placement
18 Jun 245m 11s

Kevin Matthews discusses the intricacies of setting the appropriate down force using hydraulic systems in modern planters to avoid excessive rigidity in the planter.

John Deere is a paid sponsor of The views & opinions expressed in this video are those of and are based solely on the experiences of the XtremeAg team.

00:00 We talk about our down force with our hydraulic down force and we really wonder how much should we apply? 00:07 And traditionally, a spring system or airbag system, you're, you're putting, you know, 250, 300 pounds down pressure, 400 pounds down pressure. 00:15 'cause that's what you're pushing down on the road. And that's what we always taught in accustomed to. But when we go to hydraulic down force, 00:22 it's measured differently. It's got sensors that measure it, that does the measurement. This is a sensor here that's on a John Deere. 00:29 You have a load pin that goes in right here for precision planting. And it's measuring the pressure 00:34 that's on these gauge wheels right here. Your little mustache right there is kind of like a walking beam. 00:40 It measures how much pressure you want against that gauge wheel when that gauge wheel comes up. So you got the weight of the row unit plus 00:47 how much more pressure do I want. You're not necessarily putting 400 pounds or 200 pounds or a hundred pounds. 00:54 What you're doing is you're setting your gen four or your gen or your gen three, your gen two or your John Deere system, you're setting that down pressure 01:04 and you want ground contact. Everybody gets caught up on the margin, the down pressure margin 01:10 and that gauge wheel margin, you shouldn't be caught up on it too much. The biggest thing the margin's gonna tell you is if this 01:15 sensor's not reading, if it's all flying, if it's got a problem and these styles have a lot of problems with 'em, they're switching these to dts 01:23 and that will help correct that problem. The key thing is, you got to remember is the more down pressure you get against this 01:31 gauge wheel, the more rigid you make your planter. So if you got contours in your field, you need to realize that I see my down, my ground contact has dropped down 01:42 to 80% while I automatically want to go up on my down pressure, putting pressure against these gauge wheels 01:47 to get better ground contact. But what actually may be happening is, is you're getting it so stiff, you're making the planter so rigid 01:55 by putting too much down pressure that this row right beside the row number nine here, row number 10, is actually up on a ridge 02:04 and it's at a hundred percent ground contact, but it's got it so rigid it won't let it down enough. So the travel can get this one to the correct thing. 02:12 It creates a rigid planter. So what you'll realize is on the hydraulic downforce, instead of choosing a number like three 50 to 400 02:20 or whatnot, you're going to have limits as to how much you can put. Usually it's 400 02:25 to 500 is a limit depending on your planter type. But in your monitor you're going to choose 50 pounds. 70 pounds, you can customize it anywhere from 50 02:34 to about 150 pounds. What you're going to find is if you got 70 to 80 pounds of pressure against this gauge wheel arm right here, 02:44 this mustache, this reading that much pressure against it, that's all you need. That's going to be good seat soil contact. 02:51 And what you're gonna realize is your ground contact, even though you is not getting good contact at 150 pounds against this 02:59 Gauge wheel, you drop it down to 70, you make that planter more flexible, you let it follow the ground contour better. 03:05 And when you do that, that is going to allow a 95 to a hundred percent ground contact on your map. A lot of people says, I want 03:12 a hundred percent ground contact. If you try to run a hundred percent ground contact the entire time on your planter, 03:18 what you're doing is you're causing tremendously excessive wear because you really need it be to to stay in 03:25 that 95% to 100%. If it stays about 98%, that's perfect. Don't try to get it no better on ground contact, 03:34 especially no tilling and contours. If you're on a flat plained out field and you don't hardly need any, hardly down pressure at all, 03:42 less say 50 pounds extra, added it on this versus the weight, and you set your monitor at 50 pounds 03:48 and you're at a hundred percent, that's cool. That works good. Don't worry about it. But when you get into no-till environment 03:54 and uneven conditions, you gotta let that planter be flexible. You don't want to jack it up rigid. 04:00 And these sensors are very accurate. They do a good job, but you really, that's what you're after. 04:05 You know, you look right here on our map. We're keeping everything, you know, above 90%. And I'm happy with that. That's really good. 04:13 We went out and walked these fields after the corn's come up, it looks really good. Your ride quality is pretty important. 04:19 When you go from five mile an hour to eight mile an hour, you're probably going to need to go up 10 pounds. 04:24 You're probably going to need to go from a, if you're on 70 pounds and you're getting great contact, 95 plus percent 04:32 and then you're going to go to eight mile an hour, you're probably gonna need to go up 10 pounds. The reason being, the faster you're running 04:37 through the field takes more pressure to hold it in. 'cause it's this naturally wanting to ride itself out due to the friction. 04:43 Do you have any questions on this or concerns or not completely clear on the hydraulic down force, how to set your planter and the margins? 04:52 Send us a question, let us know. We can help you with it. But rest assured, the hydraulic down force, 04:58 the way you measure it and the way it works, is a totally different concept than your airbags and your traditional springs 05:04 that we grew up using. Y'all stay safe. I hope this helps you a little.

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