Care and Maintenance of Grain Drills
Care and Maintenance of Grain Drills
Rear view of grain drill, equipped with single disk-openers.

Care and Maintenance of Grain Drills

by G.C. Cook, L.L. Scranton and H.F. McColly, 1951

The proper care and maintenance of a grain drill is essential for efficient and economical use. It should be kept properly lubricated and adjusted at all times and at the end of the season properly stored until needed.

The following is a list of the parts which should be checked:

  1. Hopper
  2. Agitator
  3. Feeding device
  4. Seed shaft
  5. Furrow openers
  6. Seed tubes
  7. Drag bars
  8. Scrapers
  9. Wheel bearings
  10. Frame
  11. Wheels
  12. Levers
  13. Fertilizer and grass seed attachments
Care and Maintenance of Grain Drills
Views of double-disk furrow openers with cutaway view on right which shows how seed is delivered to opened trench.
Care and Maintenance of Grain Drills
03 Detail of fluted grain drill feed cups showing different settings for various seed sizes. Quantity is regulated by shifting feed roll and feed cut-off to permit more or less of the feed roll to turn within the feed cup.
Position 1 – (A) Feed cup, (B) latch in upper left-hand notch. All gates up with latches in top notch at left side to sow all grains, small seeds, kaffir corn and beets.
Position 2 – (C) Latch in right-hand notch. Fasten all latches at right side to sow peas, common beans, soybeans, corn and extra large quantities of trashy oats.
Position 3 – (D) Latch in lower left-hand notch, (E) feed roll. Fasten all latches in lower notch on left side to sow soybeans, marrow fat or kidney beans.
Position 4 – (F) Feed cut-off, (G) feed shaft. Drop gates to clean feeds.
Position 5 – (H) Soybean gate special attachment. Can be furnished for planting soy beans and rice in quanitites up to 80 pounds per acre.
Care and Maintenance of Grain Drills
Detail view of double-run feed showing (upper view) lock lever on small side of feed for regulating quantity feed gate, and (lower view) adjustable gate inside the feed cup for regulating size of feed opening in the small side.
Care and Maintenance of Grain Drills

The following procedure is suggested for cleaning the seeding mechanism:

  1. Remove grain from seed box hopper. All grains should be removed to prevent the molding or germinating of the grain, which may cause the mechanism to clog.
  2. Place the drill on saw horses.
  3. Open the feed regulator and open each feed gate.
  4. Lower the furrow openers and put the drill in gear.
  5. Turn a drive wheel to run the seed through the feed mechanism.
  6. Brush any remaining seed or foreign material into the seed mechanism so as to completely remove from the seed box.
  7. Clean the feed gates and surrounding surfaces thoroughly by brushing with kerosene.
  8. If the grain drill is equipped with a fertilizer apartment, it should be thoroughly cleaned to eliminate the hardening of old fertilizer and help prevent corrosion of the mechanism.

Before storing the drill or early in the spring the drill may need to be painted to protect it and to make it more attractive. The farmer should take pride in using an attractive, well-cared-for machine.

Care and Maintenance of Grain Drills
Remove the drive chain, clean with kerosene and check for wear. When replacing or adjusting the chain, the chain tightener should be adjusted until the chain will have a tension as illustrated here. The hook end should run forward as illustrated.
Care and Maintenance of Grain Drills
Checking furrow opener bearings for excess wear. If worn, remove and replace with new bearings. Also check seedtubes.
Care and Maintenance of Grain Drills
Removing axle pin from pawl holder.
Care and Maintenance of Grain Drills
Driving out the old boxing.
Care and Maintenance of Grain Drills
Putting in a new boxing.

Calibrating the Seeding Mechanism of the Drill

To begin the calibration of the grain drill, first, partially close each seed gate; then pour some grain into the seed box. Place a canvas under the drill to catch the grain. Be sure that the canvas is under all seed tubes. Lay a board under the drill to protect the canvas when the furrow openers are lowered to operating position.

Care and Maintenance of Grain Drills
The grain drill in position for calibrating the seeding mechanism.

If, for example, oats are to be used at 12 pecks per acre, to check the calibration, set the seed regulator lever to this point. Then measure the width of the drill. The drill illustrated above is 6 feet wide. The next step is to measure the circumference of the drive wheel. The wheel illustrated above is 12 feet in circumference. This information is used in a computation required for checking the seeding calibration.

Care and Maintenance of Grain Drills
Measuring the width of the drill. Distance between furrow openers times the number of furrow openers is equal to the width of the drill.

There are 43,560 square feet in one acre. The 43,560 should be divided by 6 feet, the width of the drill. This equals 7,260 feet, the distance the drill must travel to cover one acre. The 7,260 feet, the distance the drill must travel for one acre, should be divided by 12 feet, the circumference of the drive wheel. This equals 605 turns the drive wheel must make to cover one acre; 605 turns for one acre divided by 4 equals 151-1/4, the number of turns of the wheel necessary to seed one quarter acre.

In order to keep track of the turns more easily, tie a rag around the rim of the drive wheel. Then turn the drive wheel to force the grain out of the seeding mechanism. The piles of grain should be approximately equal in size to insure a uniform seeding rate.

Care and Maintenance of Grain Drills
A white cloth is tied around the rim of the wheel so as to help the operator to more easily keep track of the number of turns of the wheel.

After the wheel has been turned 151 times, raise the furrow openers, remove the board, carefully gather up the grain and put it in a sack for weighing or measuring. The seed in this demonstration weighed 24 pounds. With this information, the computation can be completed.

Take the 24 pounds, the amount of seed sown in one quarter acre, and multiply by four. This equals 96 pounds, the amount sown in one acre; 96 pounds, sown in one acre, divided by 8 pounds, the weight of one peck, equals 12 pecks sown in one acre. As this checks with the setting of the seed feed regulator, the drill is correctly calibrated.