Trying Your Hand at Check-Row Planting?

Follow these easy steps


| February 2009



check-row layout

As can be seen in this illustration of how to lay out check wire, the wire couldn’t be pulled absolutely taut but had enough slack left to allow it to follow the planter when close to the end of the row.

To lay out wire, drive the planter to the edge of the field in position to drive across the field where the first two rows are to be planted.

Take the end of the wire from the reel, hook on an anchor stake and set the stake to the rear of the planter in line with the check head nearest the edge of the field.

Adjust the reel tension just enough to straighten the kinks as the wire is being unwound. Drive straight across the field so that wheel marks can be used as a guide on the return trip when planting the first two rows.

Drive to the far end of the field, uncouple the wire or remove the wire reel (leaving enough to reach the edge) and turn the planter into position for planting the first two rows. Hook the wire on another anchor stake and set the stake at the field edge behind the exact center of the planter.

Lower the row marker on the side toward the field, place the check wire through the fork and pulleys and close the pulley holder. Lower the openers to the desired depth and drive to the opposite end of the field, using wheel marks as a guide.

When the check head is about four buttons from the end of the row, release the wire, raise the planter and marker, and turn into position for starting the next row.

Pull the anchor stake and move it directly behind the planter’s check head. Pull the wire and throw it toward the planter with an upward, circular, whipping motion, moving at least 50 buttons (I once read of a guy who claimed his father could, in his younger days, “whip” 80 rods or quarter mile of check wire). Place the wire into the fork and pulleys of the check head and close the holder. Take up any slack and set the stake at the edge of the field and directly behind the center of the planter, making sure to maintain the correct tension.