Why It Is Important To Calibrate Your Seed Drills

Some producers across the state are in the middle of harvest while others have sent the last grain truck to the elevator and are getting geared up for seeding. An important question to ask your self is this: can I set the notches on the drill to a seed index of 45 and not look back? Even with a new drill, the answer should be “No”. Everyone has their preferred seed drill whether it is an old John Deere HZ drill or one of the new air seeders. No matter the type of seed drill used, one should always calibrate to ensure proper seeding rates. If too much seed is going out, one could be wasting dollars. Also, your yields will likely suffer if plants are competing against each other, so, after you have chosen your variety, make sure to calibrate your drill. If you plant too little seed, your fields won’t produce to its full potential. You’ll have more weed pressure and disappointing yields. Because drills meter by volume and seed is planted by weight, the only way to be sure you’re seeding at the right rate is to calibrate your drill.

Make sure to check out our Seeding Rate Converter that can help with the calibration process.

The YouTube video titled “Seed Drill Calibration” demonstrates a step-by-step process for calibrating a seed drill

Here is a PDF titled “Ready. Set. Seed” was presented at the 2014 Direct and Oilseed Cropping Systems Conference in regards to planting canola. 


Dale Whaley, Regional Extension Specialist in Integrated Weed Management and AgricultureFor questions or comments, contact Dale Whaley by phone at (509) 745-8531 or by email at dwhaley@wsu.edu.

Washington State University