It's getting close to planting time and as we edge further into March everyone is itching to get into the field as soon as the weather allows.
We're pushing the envelope for corn and the other crops will soon follow. I can't judge how far the ice and snowstorms set us back, but that period of time we spent below freezing sure didn't help us get ready.
Those cold temperatures may have been a good thing in regard to insect pressure. The time we spent below freezing a couple of weeks ago certainly put a bite on some of those pests that can damage crops.
Today the sun is shining, but no one will be in the field except to maybe help drain off some water. So, here we sit waiting for the ground to dry.
I was never the one in the tractor with a planter behind it. I didn't have the skill set to keep a row straight as at that time our only guidance systems were inside our heads.
I'm too easily distracted. Even a simple task of drilling wheat or alfalfa would probably have resulted in an ununiform task. I would have gotten too into a song or have been yelling at a guest comment on a talk show. At least we had FM radios back then.
Cotton planting was totally out of the question. On our place the rows had to be perfectly straight. While I don't have the patience required to draw a straight line, I can see a wobble in a row from a mile away.
Having to notice a kink in a field the rest of the year would drive me crazy.
So that's why Bill drove the planter. He showed promise early on for the task of planting. He had a built-in global positioning system in his brain before GPSs were put into tractors.
His rows were beautiful, straight and no skips. I don't remember anyone else putting a seed in the ground after he started planting for us.
The decisions made at planting time, including who drives the tractor, are critical and can determine whether or not a crop has a good turnout later on in the year. Producers have more decisions to make about varieties, seed treatments, planting depth, planting date and row spacing than ever before.
If the planting window is narrowed because of weather, the fine tuning of those decisions become even more critical.
During the presidential election a candidate seemingly disparaged farmers alluding to how simple a farmer's job was – plant, cover, water grow. He was talking about tech and how much more gray matter an individual needs in today's society, compared to when we were agrarian based.
At some point I had to laugh at his assumptions. It takes a heck of a lot of gray matter to make those critical planting decisions today.