I write this while sitting on the floor at the foot of my bed, still in my work clothes as I scarf down a bowl of Honey Nut Cheerios. Yes…this is supper for the night. It’s 8:30 p.m. and Dad let me leave the farm early to finish up some household chores and this blog. My husband, Jared’s still working to put the final touches on the planter before it heads out to the field later this week.
In the spring, this would be considered “normal.” The urgency and stress of getting crops planted results in many late nights. We primarily grow corn and soybeans on our farm, as do many other farmers in Nebraska. The first crop we plant is corn.
Many factors must be taken into consideration before and during planting. A successful corn crop depends on the temperature of the soil, seedbed preparation, planting depth and seed spacing. Planting your corn early is typically best. However, temperatures should be warm enough to assure quick germination and emergence and to avoid hard frosts that may surprise you.
The precision and technology modern planters have today can sometimes be overwhelming, but important for modern food production. Riding along in the cab you will hear a lot of different beeps and hums from the monitors communicating to the farmer about what the planter is doing. Each component of the planter works together to place the seed in the ground at a uniform depth and distance between each seed. Without this information farmers may not have a great crop come harvest. Research has shown that the uniform spacing of seed can increase yields up to 20 bushels per acre.
After the seed is planted the waiting game begins. If planting conditions are right, we should start to see our little green sprouts pop up in 10 days to 14 days.
Throughout the growing season, we’ll monitor the field for weeds, pests and diseases that may arise. Six months later we’ll check back in to harvest…but that’s another story for another time:)