Right now, in the thick of a chilly winter, it can feel like spring planting season is far off, but it will creep up on all of us quicker than we realize. In the meantime, there are plenty of tasks farmers can do to make sure planting goes smoothly when spring arrives.

One of the pieces of farm equipment that deserves attention in these frigid months is the planter, which of course is responsible for one of the most important jobs in the spring. The following are a few things you can do to ensure that it’s ready to get going as soon as the weather allows:

#1 Thoroughly Inspect Your Planter for Loose Hardware

Chances are quite good that something, somewhere on your planter shook itself loose during last year’s planting season, so give your machine a thorough inspection, including all of the bolts on the parallel arm, the transport and field wheels, the center post bearing, and the hitch. Anything that’s loose, tighten it up.

#2 Double-Check the Status of Safety Devices

If the safety chain isn’t properly installed, or if the safety lights do not work correctly when connected to a tractor, the person operating the machinery could experience unsafe working conditions. This also is a good time to make sure that you have your slow-moving vehicle sign cleaned off and attached properly in a place where other cars and trucks will see it.

#3 Check and Replace Parts That May Need Replacement

This may be the most time-consuming part of the process since there are so many parts that may require replacement, but it’s worth it to have things run correctly in the spring. Check your row units and attachments, your drive line bearings and chains, and anything else on your planter that could wear out and require replacement.

#4 Grease the Whole Machine

Once everything is in its place and working like a dream, go ahead and grease the entire machine, taking care to replace any fittings that may not accept the grease as well as they should.

#5 Check with Bottom Line Solutions for Software Upgrades

Your precision planting software is going to require an occasional update. Be sure to check in with us here at Bottom Line Solutions over the winter to see if there’s anything we can do to help ensure that your planter is completely up to date and ready to get to work once the weather warms up and the ground softens. We are always happy to help however we can, even in the off season.

If you can do these things in the winter, your springtime will go a lot more smoothly and machines will get out in the fields as soon as the weather allows. The early bird gets the worm, after all, so an early start on prepping planters for spring seems like a great idea to keep farmers busy this winter.