Tillage management: Is your seed drill calibrated correctly?

Calibrating your seed drill is an important task. It ensures that the seed drill is sowing at the correct rate and, therefore, contributes positively to the crop’s establishment and overall performance.

Once you have calculated the correct seed rate, you must then ensure that you are putting out that seed rate with the drill.

Many manufacturers have guidelines on setting up the drill; but it is important to calibrate your seed drill for different batches of seed. Seed from different years, varieties and seed dressings will flow differently in the implement.

For example, some seed dressings may be thicker than others and they will flow at varying rates in the drill.

Seed drills should be calibrated when alternating between different crops, different varieties and different batches of seed.

A quick overview

Shay Phelan, a tillage specialist with Teagasc, gives a quick overview of how to calibrate your seed drill in the short video below.

Each machine will have different equipment and calibration methods.

Shay mentions that wearing parts can have an impact on the rate of seed that the drill deposits. Calibrating the drill allows the farmer or contractor to check for these faults; but it also ensures that the seed is going out at the correct rate.