By: Morgan Wrich

Spring is here and our focus has turned to planting crops! This time of year is a busy one on our farm. The hours spent preparing for another season are finally coming to fruition. Part of preparing for another growing season is deciding what crop varieties to plant. Just like a gardener thinks about the plans for their garden every year, a farmer does the same for their fields, just on a bigger scale. 

Farmers have many options to choose from when choosing seeds to plant. There are many different seed companies that all have their own lines of hybrids and varieties. During the winter months, farmers review information from the companies and meet with their local sales representatives to help make their decisions. Many seed companies will also host field days in the fall to showcase any new products or products that have been performing well in the area. These field days can help farmers get a real-world look at how a hybrid might work in their fields. A farmer then orders their seed over the winter so it is ready for delivery come springtime.

When we think about what type of varieties or hybrids we want to plant on our farm, we consider several factors, including soil type, weather outlook, common diseases and pests and our location. We farm in two counties with slightly different soil types and weather patterns. One of our farms is also irrigated, while the rest are not. An irrigated field means it has water available to it, and if we don’t get enough rain, we can make it “rain” with a pivot. Like how a gardener ensures their garden is adequately watered throughout the season. Based on these factors, we want a seed variety that is drought tolerant, can stand up well to wind (also called green snap), is resistant to corn rootworm and is resistant to corn rust.

Much thought and planning goes into deciding what to plant for a growing season. It’s not as simple as ordering a few seeds, planting them in the ground and hoping for the best. As farmers, we want to ensure we choose the best variety for our farm while considering price, sustainability and many other factors!