May 10, 2013

Corn and Beans

JD tractor and a Kinze 32 row planter
I have a list of things that I want to do each year. If you saw my list you would probably think I was a bit strange. A few of the things I want to do this year revolve around row crop farming:
1. Learn to drive a Semi (I hope to do this in the fall)

2. Run the Turbo till tillage implement (completed this spring)

3. Plant Corn and Soybeans (I planted beans late last month)

Close up of the soybean planter, this can also be adjusted for corn as well.
I have been in many tractors, but there is something about planting and harvesting a crop that is really fascinating. I could do it full time if I could find a sucker to let me drive their tractors, but I think they would have to be pretty desperate.  Working the soil, treating the weeds and planting the crop seems pretty simple, but there is an art to driving equipment with all this great technology.

This hopper wagon is full of Becks Liberty Link  beans to refill planter.
Driving a tractor is one thing, but when you add in auto steer, irregular field shapes, night tilling, waterways and lining up your rows perfectly, there are a lot of things to remember. When you see those guys out in the field rolling right along, let me tell you, it is harder than it looks. They really know what they are doing and I am pretty sure I am not going to get hired to work ground or plant beans any time soon. It would take me 20 times longer to do the job and probably not to their perfection either. I’d better stick with occasionally making a meal for the local farmers so they will let me drive the tractor every once in a while. I think I have that pretty down pat.

Planting corn, view from the tractor cab. Big tank holds Nitrogen
that is released when seed is planted.
Even though we do not plant corn or soybeans on our small farm, our animals consume a lot of corn and beans. Animal production in Ohio has a direct link to what row crop farmers are doing. The production of their product affects the price and supply of what I feed to my animals.

Just like with anything you do in life, practice makes perfect when planting soybeans. I think that farmers are always learning how to do their jobs better and more efficiently, but I also think farmers are born with the drive, passion and know-how to do what they do. Farmers work round the clock to get the work done, some working 20-hour days to get ahead of the weather. I know when I spend a little time talking with my crop farmer friends I am extremely grateful that they do what they do! Please remember to be careful when you see equipment on the roads and instead of passing them in a hurry give them a beep and a friendly wave to show them how much you appreciate what they are doing.

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