Monday, May 16, 2011

Planting Corn...

It's been an interesting spring...and a busy week!

We've had so much rain that it's been difficult to get into the fields to plant anything.  This past week, however, we had beautiful weather.  The sun came out and the winds dried out the ground enough to begin planting corn...(and begin baling first cutting of hay)  There were a lot of happy, and busy farmers!

On Thursday evening, the custom corn planter arrived.  Jim had all of the seed ready and sorted according to which field it was to be planted in.  He plants several different varieties, so that the corn is ready to be harvested at different times as we need it.  Some will be designated for silage, some will be for refilling the silo several weeks later, and some will be combined or picked as ear corn.

On Friday morning, Mark, the guy who plants our corn, headed for the fields.  He planted all day and came back on Saturday to finish. 

On Saturday morning, I caught up with Mark at our neighbor's farm, where we rent some ground.  I rode a few rounds with him to get a few pictures. 

 He can set the population density on the corn planter according to the farmer's request.  This year Jim had him plant the corn at 32,000 seeds per acre.  Here, he is refilling the planter.  There is a meter inside the cab of the tractor that tells him if the corn is being planted evenly from all of the seed boxes.  When the seed gets low, it beeps, and he knows it's time to stop and refill.

This picture is taken from the cab of the tractor, looking out the back at the planter.  You can see the rows behind that have been planted.  Off to the right, you can see a single line in the field.  This line is made by a marker that is off to the side of the planter...when he turns at the end of the field to come back, he will center the hood of his tractor over that line to ensure evenly spaced rows. 

The corn is being no-tilled into the ground.  Last fall after the corn was harvested, Jim chopped and baled the corn stalks on this particular field for bedding (corn fodder), and the ground remained untouched until this spring, other than spreading manure and fertilizer.  In other words, there was no tilling done...this is the way that we now plant all of our corn. Some corn is planted into soybean or rye ground as well.

This is the very back of the planter.  The two wheels with spikes on are closing up the row where the corn was planted, and the chain drags the loose dirt to help cover the row even further.

Now what we need to do is....wait. 

We had .5" of rain on Sunday, which was perfect for washing the granular fertilizer that was spread into the ground!

We are so dependant on the weather for just about everything that we do!  Hopefully the corn will sprout and grow quickly, since the ground has warmed and we've been having warmer days.  The 2" inches of rain that we had this evening in the course of an hour however, present some questions...did any of the corn wash away?

Hopefully in a few short days, we will see tiny green sprouts peeping through the soil!  I'll keep you posted!


  1. So glad your weather cooperated and you got your corn planted. My field is still waiting for its beans. Of course, I've got to have a fence to move the bovine off the field first. Hopefully this week.

  2. Alica you sure are lucky, if we wanted to plant we would have to use a boat and oars. It is steady rain and cold here.
    I love the photos it really makes people understand the process. Great job. B

  3. Glad it has dried up for you. We are still waiting. I planted my garden a week ago and i hope all this rain has not ruined my seed. Thanks for the ride along

  4. Hi Alica, I follow your blog and love todays post. My hub is one of the guys who put those planters together and rig them to monitors. We also farm our 40 acres. Like you we got ours planted mothers day and it's up and doing good. Hope to hear yours is too by now. You should see some of the big tractor computers and what all they can do. It's amazing.

  5. Can't wait to see the seeds growing into corn plants! These are great pictures and descriptions.

  6. I love seeing your pictures of real farming and not the playing around that I do. :) My corn is up I noticed this morning. You know we got Silkie chickens by accident when my kids were young. We didn't know what they were. They fast became my kids favorites. Just for how sweet they are and they do love hatching babies.
    Thanks for coming by today and I look forward to more pictures.

  7. So interesting to see how you plant it on a large scale.


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