Watchin’ My Corn Pop Up in Rows

The planter, unfolded and ready to go.

Almost as soon as we turn the calendar to April, the atmosphere on the farm changes. We start thinking about getting the planter out and ready to go, we try to remember where we parked everything last year, and we clear out the machine sheds for seed and chemical deliveries. The days get longer, and everyone is working longer. On top of daily chores, we have to begin taking inventory and ordering parts and then going over the planter, tractor, sprayer, and tenders to make sure they are ready as soon as the soil temperature is right (50 degrees) for planting.

My camera broke this week, so you are getting some pictures from last year, hence the young-ness of Russell and Lucy. It is a family tradition to take a picture of the kids with new equipment, it helps us to remember when we got it.

Last year we got a new planter. We went from a 12 row to a 24 row planter. Talk about moving up! It has been exciting to learn all about the new technology that we can now use. Through GPS technology, we can adapt the how thick the seed is planted to the soil types in the field, and the planter also knows when it is overlapping where it has already planted and will automatically shut off the rows so as not to overlap. This saves us a lot of time and money by conserving the seed and maximizing yields.

Getting the planter ready to go. Lucy is standing at the back of the planter.

Filling the planter with seed corn. So much better than hauling around bags of seed!

The planter and tractor have fertilizer tanks that apply liquid nitrogen and starter fertilizer at a specified rate precisely where the seeds will utilize it, so as not to waste fertilizer. In the fields that have had manure on them, we don’t apply any nitrogen, only starter fertilizer.  The corn seed is treated with insecticide to prevent bugs from eating it.  It also has genetic traits to stop corn borers and make the corn plant resistant to glyphosate herbicide.  In recent years, we have become concerned with weeds developing glyphosate (also known as round-up) resistance. In other words, there are a few weeds that have adapted to the herbicide and no longer die when they are sprayed with it.   Because of this, we have chosen to use a different herbicide this year.

The tractor, barely visible with the fertilizer tanks, the tanks in the back are for seed...it looks like a spaceship when the planter is folded up, all you can see is tanks!

Another new feature of this planter is that it is a bulk-fill planter. Gone are the days of seed corn in 50 lb bags! We can now fill the planter’s bulk seed tanks with seed from a large container and plant all day without having to worry about running out of seed, stopping, and filling each row’s box with bagged seed corn.

Look closely and you will be able to "row" the corn... it's just starting to pop up!

Little bitty corn plants, they were planted about 3 weeks ago.

When we are are done with corn, we will have to make some adjustments to the planter to switch over to soybeans.   An inch of rain will slow us down, we have to wait for the fields to dry out so we don’t make tracks in the mud and cause erosion.  Farming is heavily dependent on the weather, one of the first things I do every morning is check the forecast.

Believe it or not... there is corn planted in this field. It came out of the CRP program this year, so will be interesting to see how it grows. I'll update throughout the growing season so you can see how amazing these little corn seeds are.

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8 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Wayne Nieman on May 17, 2010 at 3:50 am

    Liz,

    This is great–again! Thanks.

    Wayne

  2. Posted by Tom on May 17, 2010 at 7:09 pm

    Liz,
    Just discovered your blog..Looks great. Keep up the good work.

  3. Liz,
    Great job! Love the photos (cute kids!)…especially shows the scale of farming today and the value it brings to the community. Thanks for all you do. Keep it coming! (I’m a fan!).

  4. Posted by Teresa B. on May 17, 2010 at 9:35 pm

    Love your blog! So glad to see a blog written by a real farmer. It’s fun to see what’s happening on the farm.

  5. Posted by susan on May 20, 2010 at 2:13 am

    i think i am learning stuff…even though i grew up on a farm!!!

Comments are closed.

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