What Are Worn Parts Costing You?

posted on Tuesday, February 8, 2022 in Blog



Think your planter can make it one more season without an inspection? You might be surprised just how much worn parts can impact your bottom line. Worn row unit parts can reduce performance and impact yield by affecting:

  • Correct population
  • Uniform spacing
  • Uniform emergence
  • Ability to hit the planting window

True North Equipment can test your meters to ensure you maximize your planter’s performance … and your farm’s yield potential. 

Putting pencil to paper, let’s look at a hypothetical example based on 2,000 acres of corn with a 16-row 1770NT MaxEmerge™ XP Planter assuming $4.51 market price.

Some of the most commonly replaced meter wear parts that can negatively impact your planter’s ability to deliver the correct population or uniform spacing within a vacuum meter include knockout wheels, seed meter brushes, and vacuum meter seals. As the study above suggests, correct population and spacing accuracy can ultimately impact your yield potential by up to 4 bu/acre*. If any or all of these 3 meter parts are worn or damaged, the below table illustrates the associated yield and revenue that may be at risk.


4 bu/a x $4.51 = $18 per acre in potential revenue

For a 2,000 acre corn operation totals $36,000


Meter Inspection, Parts, and Labor to replace Knockout Wheels

Seed Meter brushes, and Vacuum meter seals

$106 per row x 16 rows = $1,696


$34,304 Net Revenue at Risk 

Calculating your seed investment for a 10-hour day of planting in a hypothetical example: A corn grower with a seeding rate of 34,000 plants per acre on 30-inch rows with a 24R30 1775NT is planting nearly 1.3 million seeds per hour at 5.5 mph or 2.3 million seeds per hour at 10 mph.
Assuming a bag of seed costs $274...

Either way...in a 10-hour day of planting, that’s a BIG investment. With that many dollars in seed going through your planter meters each hour of the day, isn’t it worth the cost of a meter inspection to ensure you get the most out of that investment?

Uniform emergence can have a big impact on your bottom line, at 5% to 9% impact on yield* on corn. At 200-bushelper-acre average, you could experience yield loss of up to 18 bushels, or roughly $63 per acre, at $3.50 per bushel. 

Worn or misadjusted opener blades, an uncalibrated downforce system, row cleaners or coulters that gouge or hang up, or closing systems that are misaligned can all compromise seed placement. Every seed that doesn’t emerge within 48 hours of its neighbor is at risk for producing smaller ears. And that’s unclaimed potential that was in the bag.

The window of productivity during the planting season is narrow and when you find your self on the side lines broke down replacing numerous worn out parts, that window becomes even narrower. Accourding to North Dakota State University’s Extention and Ag Research, The optimum period for planting corn in North Dakota is during the first three weeks of May. Early planting allows for the use of full-season hybrids that are able to maximize the use of sunlight and favorable temperatures during the growing season.

“When corn planting is delayed beyond May 20, growers in the northern tier of counties should consider switching to another crop,” says NDSU Extension agronomist Joel Ransom. “Growers in the rest of the state should consider switching to a hybrid that is 5 to 7 days earlier in maturity to avoid corn that is so wet that it makes harvesting in the fall challenging and the grain expensive to dry.”

He continues, “Planting corn after June 1 can be risky and is only recommended in the most southern regions of the state, using hybrids that are 80 relative maturity (RM) or earlier. Even though we are now in the recommended planting window for corn, conditions for corn growth are not favorable.”

Paul Farrell, True North Equipment Parts Asset Manager says, “Time is always precious when you should be in the field.  Weather is unpredictable and good planting/harvest weather is not guaranteed.  We have promotional sales and less inventory delays if producers are proactive in purchasing and replacing worn parts ahead of planting windows.  Trying to repair when you should be in the field costs more money in parts, labor, and opportunity lost.  Yields diminish if crops are planted outside of the optimum time frame.”

Lonnie Thompson, True North Equipment’s Corporate Parts Manager explains how back-orders have been an issue to keep an eye one.
“Availability is the number one issue at this time. Back orders are at an all time high and lead time can be weeks to receive parts. Also the cost in acres could mean the difference of finishing a crop or delayed planting or harvesting losses. Shutting down to fix during season can be the difference between loss and profit very quickly.”

True North Equipment Parts Managers in Mahnomen Luke Burd has a list of reasons to consider why a farmer should plan to replace worn parts now, during the off-season, rather than later during planting season. 
"While out visiting with customers, we have been mentioning the uncertainty in the supply chain. Some parts available today may not be so in a couple of months. It would be better to have it taken care of now so farmers can spend more time operating during the planting season."
He goes on to list more considerations on buying parts now, “Often, you will find that a simple repair of a worn part during off-season can become far more cost-effective than replacing a broken part during planting season.  Not only is that piece of equipment not producing, and its efficiency gone, it will often have the added expense of calling in a repair from your local dealer or having more than one of your employees to make the repair causing their daily work output to be lower than desired.  Not to mention additional costs associated with an emergency ordered part or having to travel a great distance to pick up that part.”

To recap on the importance of ordering replacement parts sooner rather than later, here’s is the list down falls you may come across while ordering parts during planting season. 

Supply Chain Uncertainty
Equipment not producing
Efficiency Gone
Added Expense of Calling in a Repair
Costs associated with an emergency ordered part

Employees make an emergency parts run
Time employees need to make the repair
The chance of parts on Back Order
Diminished yields


Remove as many variables as possible during the off-season before the planting season begins, schedule an inspection or easily purchase your parts at our customer portal, MY TRUE NORTH. My True North is your online portal to take care of business where ever you are. A full-service set of tools allows you to do everything like order parts, schedule services, and inspections, and pay your invoices, all from the palm of your hand. 

My True North - Customer Portal

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Easily access from our website via the "My True North" link in the main menu or from the True North Equipment App available for both Apple and Andriod Devices.


  • Order Parts
    • Search for parts by part number, description, or parts catalog lookup, view availability and pricing, and place an order.
  • Request Service
    • Make a request for service, we'll call you to schedule and confirm your service appointment in your local True North.
  • Pay Invoices
    • View your account balance, search for and print invoices, and pay off any unpaid invoices via bank account or credit card.
  • Invoice & Transaction History
    • View, search and sort your full transaction history for all your EQUIP accounts using one login and from any device.
  • Shop Used Equipment
    • Request to add to, modify or remove any pieces of equipment you have on record, & browse used equipment for sale.

Please contact your local True North Equipment location with any questions. Parts orders/service requests submitted outside of regular business hours Mon. - Fri. 7:30 AM - 5:30 PM CST, will be processed/followed up on, on the next business day.


We know that not everybody can't pick up parts during business hours, and that’s why we have several locations where you can pick up parts after hours. Just place your parts order and we’ll send it to the drop-box of your choice for your free pick up.

"We have several Drop Boxes that we service on a regular basis year-round.  The program is ever expanding as we are getting more requests to have parts dropped year after year.  Other stores are starting to add drop routes hoping to reach more customers and to better serve the customers they already have. The convenience for our customers is great.  Most times, they can order their parts through the 'MY TRUE NORTH' customer portal or call the store.  They request the parts and pay for them and in some cases even later that day have the parts available to be picked up in their nearest drop box". Luke Burd said.  

He goes on to add "Our Mahnomen location, started using drop boxes back in 2015 with a box in Fosston and one in Bagley.  With the success in those we added one in Clearbrook.  We now have a drop box in Fosston, Bagley, Clearbrook, Bemidji, Blackduck, Callaway, and Detroit Lakes.  All are serviced weekly in-season, and most are serviced all year long."

Each box is conveniently located in and around our Minnesota locations of Baudette, Mahnomen, Thief River Falls, and Warren.

Visit our website, www.truenorthequipment.com for drop-box locations near True North Equipment stores in Baudette, Mahnomen, Thief River Falls, Warren, Grand Forks, and Grafton.

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