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Chicken Tracker™

Press & Gauge Wheels for Planters & Drills

Standard, rubber closing wheels have a tendency to press the soil closed causing a smooth effect, especially when the soil is wet. On a hot, dry windy day, the furrow will crack back open exposing the seed. The Chicken Tracker will eliminate this problem.

About the Chicken Tracker

Chicken Track press wheel on a Case IH planter tail section

Schaffert Mfg.'s Chicken Tracker was designed to take the place of the original Case IH planter press wheel. It has been modified to fit most other planters and drills.

Unlike the original solid press wheel which can smear soil, the Chicken Tracker mulches and mellows soil over the seed bed.

Chicken Trackers running in the field behind a Case IH planter

Pressure is applied at three points over the tread on the chicken tracks at all time, firming soil around the seed.

The application of pressure on 3 points provides good seed to soil contact, leading to more even emergence and higher yields.

The soil over a row closed with the Chicken Tracker is mellower than the soil over a row closed with standard closing wheels.
Photo courtesy of a customer in Illinois

The Chicken Tracker helps eliminate mud build-up and will not plug up with rootballs.

It is easy to install. Just pull the bolt—the bearings are all there.

Benefits of the Chicken Tracker

View of the row behind the Chicken Tracker

Prepares the Seed Bed

  • Mulches and mellows the soil over the seed bed
  • Firms soil over the row
  • Does not smear soil like rubber press wheels can
  • Pressure is applied at 3 points on the tracks at all times
  • Eliminates air pockets

Eliminate Common Problems

  • Helps eliminate mud build-up
  • Will not plug with root balls
  • On a hot windy day the trench will not crack back open

Where They Work—Suitable for Many Soils

  • Made to work in tough soils
  • Works in no-till or conventional

Ease of Installation

  • Takes the place of your original press wheel
  • Easy to install, less than 5 minutes per row

Chicken Tracker for Drills

The Chicken Tracker retrofitted for a John Deere drill next to a muddy regular solid press wheel


A producer in Texas with a John Deere 455 drill was having problems with the regular press wheels building up with mud and also not putting enough dirt over the seed. The regular press wheels were leaving tracks too deep in the furrow.

The farmer stated that many years he does not get enough soil over the seed.

When they get a hard rain and the wheat is emerging in the trenches made by the regular press wheels, they lose some stand from crusting and burying plants that were already emerging and leafing out.

The rows behind the standard 2x13 press wheels are leaving tracks too deep in the furrow while the row behind the Chicken Tracker is covered in mellow, mulched soil.


We shortened the Chicken Tracker's spokes from 6″ to 4″ and beveled them to fit the John Deere 455 drill unit.

We wanted the Chicken Tracker to mellow the soil over the seed row and also hold the drill units up at the planting depth for uniform seed depth placement.

The rows planted with Chicken Tracker press wheels on a John Deere 455 drill


In the rows in tilled soil with the regular press wheel the seed depth is almost 1″ deeper with very little cover over the seed. The press wheel is the depth control on these drills. The rows with the regular press wheels are running 1″ deeper than the row with the Chicken Tracker.

Unlike the regular press wheels, the Chicken Tracker is not building up with mud.

The Tracker holds the drill unit at the correct set planting depth, giving uniform seed depth placement. The rows with the Chicken Tracker show the proper amount of mellow, mulched soil left over the furrow.


“We have clay soils, planting conditions not always ideal; but the Chicken Tracker really helps to make sure that trench is closed. A lot of times it looks good right after you plant, but a day or two later it doesn’t look how you thought it should. With the Chicken Tracker you get a lot more pounds per square inch, on the Case planter it’s so easy to take on and off. They’re just awesome.”

  J.A., Nebraska

We used 4″ Chicken Trackers and were pleased with the soil contact that they produce and believe it helped prevent washing down the row in hilly ground after a hard rain.

We were also very pleased with the stand and spacing with the Rebounders–had 98% accurate spacing.

  J.V., Iowa

E.M. gives Chicken Tracker Testimonial

We purchased 4″ chicken trackers in the spring of 2018 for our 12 row 30″ front fold Case IH 1250 planter. Right away I noticed they did not build up with moist soil like the original rubber press wheels. I like how they mulch the soil over the seed bed and are very well built.

We are a no-till operation and are always planting into moist soils. This new addition to our planter has helped with even uniform seed bed finishing and better emergance.

We also purchased gauge wheel scrapers for the 12 rows. I'm extremely happy with Schaffert Mfg's products and would highly recommend them to anyone. 

  E.M., Canada

If you don’t want to plug your press wheels, try Chicken Trackers. They really help if you are putting down fertilizer with your planter and greatly reduce soil crusting for better emergence.


The Chicken Trackers work really well. Helped a lot in sticky conditions and allows us to plant a little faster in good conditions. Pretty much eliminated the air pocket in the seed trench we were seeing.

  D.C., Nebraska
  see more Chicken Tracker testimonials  

Row #2 shows how the Chicken Tracker leaves behind clumped soil that will not crust and crack after rain like rows #1 and #3, which were planted with regular solid press wheels

The center of the picture is the Chicken Tracker row and the other are the normal press wheels (Case IH press wheels on a Kinze planter). When I planted this the conditions where good and this picture is after two small rains of about a half inch or less.

If we had gotten more rain, the rows planted with normal press wheels would have crusted. The Chicken Tracker clumps soil so it does not crust as easy.

  D.V., Illinois

Chicken Tracker bolted in place of original press wheel on a John Deere 455 grain drill
Chicken Tracker mounted to John Deere 455 drill

With the Chicken Tracker wheels, I noticed they left no ridge between the rows like the original press wheel left. This proved to be very beneficial because when we got a rain after planting with the Chicken Trackers, the ridges didn’t wash down like they did with the regular press wheels and put a crust on the wheat plants that were emerging or ready to emerge. 

After all the rain we had this past spring, a better stand emerged with the Chicken Trackers, and we didn’t have to replant due to crusting problems. The Chicken Tracker wheels also did not build up with mud like the regular press wheels did after the abundance of rain during planting.

Schaffert Mfg. Co. made the Chicken Track rods 5 1/2″ between spokes. On the side with the arm coming down alongside the spokes they angle cut the rods so they run parallel with the arm, which left from 1/2″ to 3/4″ of room between the arm and Chicken Tracker wheel. This kept them from plugging with trash and residue.

To mount the new Chicken Tracker wheels, I used a 5/8″ x 4″ bolt with a 7/8″ nut over the bolt for a spacer bushing between the press wheel arm and the Chicken Tracker wheel hub. It was one of the best things I did to improve the John Deere 455 grain drill.

  L.W., Texas

I ran the Chicken Tracker wheels over 1000 acres of no-till corn and 800 acres of no-till beans. I was very impressed with emergence of crops behind the Chicken Trackers.

When I ran my row cleaners deeper into wetter soils, the Chicken Tracker collected some mud. Then when I ran the row cleaners shallow, just moving residue away, the Chicken Tracker worked great. So, as with anything, work until you find the Trackers are doing their job.

Overall I was impressed with this product.

  K.K., Illinois

I ran one Chicken Tracker in the spring of 2014 on my 24R Case, over approx. 3,000 acres. And loved it! It crumbled the top soil in all conditions.

Here in southern Wisconsin, we have variable conditions—throughout all or many fields. The Chicken Tracker helps eliminate any variables without plugging.

They're easy to install, just the one factory bolt. If the spring would turn super dry, switch back to the factory rubber wheel.

I would recommend the Chicken Tracker to anyone with minimum or no-till and any varying soil type.

  J.A., Wisconsin

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