Field Corn Planting Time

It’s that time of year again to dust off the tractor and take it out for a spin.

Remember last fall when I showed corn being harvested? Well, today, I’ll show how it’s planted.

When I caught up with Harland, he had just run out of seed corn for the planter, so we headed back to the barn to get more bags.

We’ve been married almost 3 years now, and the bloom is off the rose:  I had to ride in the back of the pickup. Some nonsense about the passenger seat being full of stuff. Yeah, sure, whatever.

At the barn, he got bags of corn loaded up.

Hmmm….they look heavy, and I would help, but all I have is puny girl arms.

Back at the field, he fills the seed boxes on the planter.

Once filled, each box is topped off with a sprinkling of baby powder.

After all, the seed corn is a bunch of babies and they need their baby powder.  Ha ha…a small joke.

Get it?

Seriously, the baby powder keeps the corn running smoothly through the planter.

Ok, so now that all the little corn behinds have been powdered, we’re ready to plant. But first a quick tutorial on how the planter works.

Hey, you’re not doing any planting until you get how all this works, so listen up.

The corn is planted in 3 steps.

As the planter is pulled behind the tractor,

  1. These wheels with teeth (sorry, I don’t know the names of all this stuff) turn and dig out a furrow.
  2. The corn seed is deposited into the furrow.
  3. These discs turn and fill the furrow with soil covering the seed.

Here’s the planter is action. With each pass around the field, it plants 6 rows of corn.

Occasionally, Harland hops off the tractor to check the seed depth. If it’s planted to shallow or too deep, it may not germinate. So he digs down to the seed that was just planted.

And there it is, right where it should be:  1 1/2 to 2 inches deep.

Ok, time to get in the tractor and go a few laps around the field. Harland gets in first.

And then it’s your turn. Hop up.  Smile Harland, we have company. There’s a place to sit over on the right, you’ll see when you get up there.

Now that you’re settled in, Harland takes off. Hold on to your hats. The top speed when planting corn is 5 miles per hour.

Here’s the view looking out the front window,

and looking out the back window down at the planter.

After a few laps, we get back down and watch as Harland drives away.

When he gets to the far edge of the field, he turns around to come back.

And so Harland continues up and down the field for the rest of the evening.

It took him about 4 days going from early morning ’til after dark each night.

I’ll have more posts about the corn when it comes up, and throughout the summer as it grows. And next fall, when the corn is harvested, I’ll share that with you as well.

And so the farm year goes.

To everything a season.

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Cattle, corn, wheat, beans, mud, snow, ice, and drought. Plenty of fresh air and quiet. Our life is sometimes heartbreaking, sometimes joyous, but never boring.

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18 Responses

  1. Wow, it seems like just yesterday I was reading about Harland harvesting the feed corn! So when do you plant the corn for human comsumption…in your own little garden? So, anyhow, is it me, or do those kernels look green. I was thinking maybe it was a kind of fertilizer on them. But then, the kernel he uncovered to check the depth looked red. I am amazed at all those bags of kernels…and that was probably his second fill up! That is a lot of planting!

    • Suzanne says:

      Hi Bonnie,
      We plant eating corn in our veggie garden, but the field corn is mostly for livestock consumption. The different colors on the corn seed are dyes to indicate that the seed has been treated to protect against fungus and insects.

  2. Nell says:

    I grew up a ‘farm girl’ and have been in ‘the big city’ for quite a few years. Just reading this makes me miss home and farm life…a bunch. Thanks for all the peaks into your life.

  3. Tina says:

    Okay a question. What is that thing off to the left side of the last picture coming out that looks like a kick stand?
    I once went down to the place the farmers go and told them I wanted to buy some seed corn, this was for my home garden. They asked me how much I wanted and I told them just a little bit for like a couple rows. They all laughed and gave me an envelope full and I remember it was pink. Insectcide or fertilizer I think they said.I know, I can’t believe I am admitting that!

  4. Kerry Hand says:

    Me too. Whats the outrigger thingee ?

    • Suzanne says:

      Hi Kerry and Tina,
      The arm on the side of the planter is called a disc marker. It leaves a “line” across the field. On a return pass, Harland centers the tractor over the line, and that lines up the planter’s rows alongside the previous pass..

  5. Julie says:

    Love “bloom is off the rose: I had to ride in the back of the pickup”
    Best part of this post, I laughed so hard 🙂

    Great pics!

  6. Alica says:

    Four days means a lot of corn planted…how many acres do you farm? I can identify with the picture of Harland digging up a kernel of corn…my husband does exactly the same thing! Our corn would normally be going in by now, but it’s just been too wet, and everything’s behind.

    • Suzanne says:

      Hi Alica,
      Not sure the number of acres because we farm our own, and then rent from our neighbors too. We’ve been lucky getting the crops in as it is bone dry here, but we also need the rain now that they’re in. Could you send us some?

  7. Mary says:

    Our poor farmers are at least a week from getting in to plant crops if it stops raining. Weather man asys ther is no end in the near future so it could be longer for them. None of us have our gardens in yet as it is too wet. Hopefully things come together soon.

    Thanks for sharing. Harland probably loves being on the computer. Ha Ha

    • Suzanne says:

      Hi Mary,
      We are very very dry here and wouldn’t mind you sending some of your rain here. Thank you in advance. 🙂

  8. Glyndalyn says:

    “The bloom is off the rose” is great. Thank you and Harland for your skill producing corn. All those corn-related products are not grown in the grocery. From Tiny Hamlet in Middle TN.

    • Suzanne says:

      Hi Glyndalyn,
      I did get to ride back to the field in the truck though, after he removed the stack of empty grain sacks. What a privilege. 🙂

  9. CreationsbyDina says:

    These pictures remind me of growing up on the farm. The only thing was we were poor farmers and did not have all the fancy John Deere tractors. We used to take a flat hay wagon in the fields and walk along side it picking up large rocks out of the field and put them on the wagon. We also picked and shelled a lot of field corn by hand!! My parents used to tell us that if we found a red ear of corn we were lucky. We were so gullable back then!!

    • Suzanne says:

      Hi Creations,
      There are a few corn cribs still around and I think of that time when the corn was harvested by hand in the winter. I can’t imagine.

  10. Teresa says:

    I’m sure it feels great to have that job out of the way!

  11. Don says:

    this is very interesting. Please keep it up. As a city dweller I am always interested in what crops are. How do you tell the difference from wheat, barley or oats. I wish farmers would put up a sign saying what is growing. Took me several months to find out what sorghum was.

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