by Lucas Veale, Assumption, IL
John Deere’s ExactEmerge Planter has completed another successful spring planting season. The productivity, seed placement, and uptime of these planters are impressive when compared to even the most stringent of standards. This is the 4th season for ExactEmerge Planters and John Deere has continuously improved this product. In this post, we will review some of these improvements and after four years we have a good feeling for the wear life of the planter components.
First, we will look at the new meter housing wear pad pictured below. Starting in 2018, this wear pad is made out of a new ceramic material. In previous years it was made out of the same metal material as the housing. Prior to the change, this proved to be an annual replacement item. If not replaced annually, the bowl would begin to wear into the housing during the second planting season. The new ceramic wear pad pictured below is from a 16-row planter that planted over 3200 acres this spring. As you can see, there is very little wear and the wear dimple is still clearly visible. These ceramic wear pads retrofit back to previous model year ExactEmerge Planters. This is a nice improvement by Deere and was factory installed starting in 2018.
New Meter Housing Ceramic Wear Pad
The next item we will cover is the lower pulley assembly. In 2017, John Deere changed the design of this assembly and assembly cover. In the picture below, the bottom pulley is the older style and the top one is the newer style and it is shown installed in the brush housing. Notice the front or lower portion of the older style. It has a plastic lip that the newer one does not as shown by the arrow. John Deere removed this lip since crop material could build up between the brush and the housing wall, causing the brush to stall and even causing undue wear on the brush. This was noticed mostly in soybeans. The new assembly is opened up to allow excess debris collected by the brush to discharge automatically. This new style is retrofittable to older model ExactEmerge Planters, but you will also need to replace the lower cover as well.
The top picture is the new style assembly
A common wear issue with the lower pulley assembly is the outer lip of the lower idler. We have seen some of the lower idlers with the outer lip worn completely off. This will cause the belt to come off track and potentially damage the brush belt.
Worn outer lip of the lower idler
New lower idler
The wear in the top picture has happened after several thousand acres, but should be a part of your postseason or pre-season inspection to make sure you don’t have a thin outer lip on the lower idler. The new lower pulley assembly does not have any changes to address this issue. Again, this doesn’t start to show until after many, many acres. One of the symptoms you may encounter with this issue is a row starting to plant low, especially in soybeans. Upon inspection of the brush (see pic below) you will notice that the brush is shifted to the edge of the idler and the worn outer lip has cut into the brush and reduced its width. This will prevent a crisp and efficient handoff of the seed from the meter to the brush and some seeds will “free fall” in the brush module.
The reduced width of brush belt
One of the most common questions is, “How long do the brushes last?” Of course, this depends on the environment they have worked in as well as the care they have received. We are seeing an average brush lifespan of 12,000 acres on a 24 row planter. We have seen some last significantly longer and some significantly less. Again, the care received and the exposed environment will have a large impact on the brush life, but 12,000 acres can be used as a normal wear guide. The symptom of a worn brush is low population on that row, again which is especially noticeable in beans.
The last thing to pay attention to is the sensor installation which should be properly inserted into the sensor slot. We have seen when these sensors are incorrectly installed they can cause a false “double” and false high population. It will also significantly impact seed spacing. Notice in the first pic that there is a tab on the stainless steel wear strip. If this tab is outside of the sensor slot, the seed will hit the tab and move back in front of the sensor eye causing the false double and false high population. The lower picture show the correct sensor installation.
Incorrectly Installed Seed Sensor
Correctly Installed Seed Sensor
Hopefully, you have picked up some tips as you inspect your ExactEmerge Planter before putting it in the shed for next year. Always remember to remove the seed disks from the seed meter and remove the brush from the brush module for winter storage. Also, don’t forget to check out our planter videos on www.sloans.com for more information.
Sloan Support is written by the product support team at Sloan Implement, a 20 location John Deere dealer in Illinois and Wisconsin. Learn more at www.sloans.com