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A race against rains: We finally get last field planted

Kyle Stackhouse Tractor and planter
The trip home was like driving through a car wash, but we are now able to call #plant22 complete.

Last Tuesday night, 20 miles east of home, we finished planting the last field of corn. The soybean planter ended the day 20 miles to the northwest of home.

We hustled around Wednesday morning and retrieved the planter, determined to get five acres of wetter ground planted before it began raining again. Well, we got it done. It wasn’t pretty and didn’t go all that well. It misted the entire time. Trash was wet and didn’t want to flow through the planter.

As rain looked imminent, we took the planter to the shop for some maintenance. We still had one more field to plant.

This is what it’s like when you’re racing against Mother Nature to finish planting. Every farmer has a similar story.

The rain dried up and passed. We debated several times whether to go plant or not. (We prefer not to plant ahead of a heavy rain.) But we also liked the idea of getting everything wrapped up. After lunch we took the tillage tractor to the field. Dad made a lap or two and it started to sprinkle again. He came home. About 3:00 p.m., we looked at the radar and decided to give it a go. It’s a good thing we didn’t wait until 3:15.

Around 8 p.m., Ken needed a couple bags of seed to finish up the field. As soon as I got the seed to the field it began to sprinkle. He got the three short passes finished up and headed home. The trip home was like driving through a car wash. I parked the seed tender and got soaked walking from the shed to the house. But today we are able to call #plant22 complete. We ended up with about half an inch Wednesday evening.

No-till record

This planting season is undoubtedly a record for us. I haven’t had time to run the numbers yet, but I suspect we are somewhere around 60-65% no-till. This far surpasses any prior year for our operation.

Why? I would say conditions were right. Early in the planting window we didn’t want to stir the soil and bring up mud as it was still wet underneath. As we went through the planting season, it was going well and with regular rain, the ground never got hard or crusty. We kept plugging away field by field. We only worked fields that we had to, and most of those were fall chiseled.

I don’t think we are the only ones that did more no-till this year; $4 per gal. fuel will have that effect.

In the end, the entire crop was planted in about 15 calendar days, of which about 10 we were able to plant. It was fast and furious.

Sometime this week we will be able to evaluate stands and confirm that everything went ok.

The opinions of the author are not necessarily those of Farm Futures or Farm Progress. 

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