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Chain Marker Improves Planting Accuracy
"I wouldn't plant corn or soybeans without it," says Nebraska farmer Melvin Fischer, of Emerson, who rigged up a simple chain marker which lets him know - right from the tractor seat - if the planter is traveling in perfect position.
The marker - one on each end of the planter - is simply a short angle-iron arm with a chain dangling from one end. You make it as wide as the row width on your particular planter.
If you're planting 30 in. rows, for example, make the distance between the end planter unit and the dangling chain exactly 30 in. (See drawing, which shows marker adapted to a four row 30-in. planter).
"When you're planting, you only have to glance at the chain to see if it's following exactly in the path of the previously planted end row," explains Fischer. "If the chain isn't on the row, you know you're off and can quickly adjust your steering accordingly to get back on target. You still guide on the regular planter marker. This chain marker simply verifies your driving accuracy.
"I've discovered that, because of an eye problem, I'm generally right on the mark going in one direction, but off it going the opposite direction. Drive through the country soon after corn and beans are up and you'll see that a lot of farmers have driven off target because of a similar dominant-eye problem which, in most cases, they probably aren't even aware of," notes Melvin.
He manually folds the chain markers back along the planter frame so they're out of the way when going through gates, or down the road. He welded metal "stops" on the frame which prevent the chain markers from dropping down below horizontal when extended into the operating position.

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1985 - Volume #9, Issue #4