Farm Progress

Planting the entire corn crop in a week was a first for us.

Holly Spangler, Senior Editor, Prairie Farmer

May 2, 2017

1 Min Read
PUSHING: All the corn’s planted, but none of it’s up.

Way to go, 2017. We’ve already set a record: My husband planted our entire corn crop in a week. When he started, it was dry; he rolled from early morning to late at night. And when he finished, it was 3 a.m. and a shy two hours before the thunder rolled in and the rain fell.

This also explains why we didn’t really see him for a week, except for someone occasionally handing off a meal, the kid who came along to load seed, and the one day I packed my own lunch to eat with him in the tractor, because we actually had stuff we needed to talk about.

We figured there were about 48 hours when he never even saw Jenna, because he left so early in the morning. She was at play practice during supper, and everyone was in bed by the time he came in.

But then the rain came. And now everyone is reacquainted.

It’s a little disconcerting — this finishing planting but not yet seeing anything emerge. We’ve never done that before either.

And so now we wait. For the corn to come up, for the weather to warm up, for the verdict: Were we right to get it done quickly and before the big rain? Or should we have waited with some, spread the risk, hoped the weather would help us?

These are the questions we ask. Agronomists say there’s always one “voodoo” weekend when we shouldn’t have planted. The kicker is that we never know it at the time. Last year, it was Mother’s Day weekend, but who thought that then, since it was May? Hindsight, man; it’s always 20/20.

So we wait, and we wonder and we hope for the best. And then we plant the beans.


About the Author(s)

Holly Spangler

Senior Editor, Prairie Farmer, Farm Progress

Holly Spangler has covered Illinois agriculture for more than two decades, bringing meaningful production agriculture experience to the magazine’s coverage. She currently serves as editor of Prairie Farmer magazine and Executive Editor for Farm Progress, managing editorial staff at six magazines throughout the eastern Corn Belt. She began her career with Prairie Farmer just before graduating from the University of Illinois in agricultural communications.

An award-winning writer and photographer, Holly is past president of the American Agricultural Editors Association. In 2015, she became only the 10th U.S. agricultural journalist to earn the Writer of Merit designation and is a five-time winner of the top writing award for editorial opinion in U.S. agriculture. She was named an AAEA Master Writer in 2005. In 2011, Holly was one of 10 recipients worldwide to receive the IFAJ-Alltech Young Leaders in Ag Journalism award. She currently serves on the Illinois Fairgrounds Foundation, the U of I Agricultural Communications Advisory committee, and is an advisory board member for the U of I College of ACES Research Station at Monmouth. Her work in agricultural media has been recognized by the Illinois Soybean Association, Illinois Corn, Illinois Council on Agricultural Education and MidAmerica Croplife Association.

Holly and her husband, John, farm in western Illinois where they raise corn, soybeans and beef cattle on 2,500 acres. Their operation includes 125 head of commercial cows in a cow/calf operation. The family farm includes John’s parents and their three children.

Holly frequently speaks to a variety of groups and organizations, sharing the heart, soul and science of agriculture. She and her husband are active in state and local farm organizations. They serve with their local 4-H and FFA programs, their school district, and are active in their church's youth and music ministries.

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