Upon looking back at my posts the past few months, I realized that I never ACTUALLY sat down and blogged solely on our first year of planting. So I figured I would spell it all in all of it’s glorious detail of what Eric has been up to since April 21st. So here we go…deep breath…planting.
For starters, I literally had slim to none education or explanation on what went into planting before Eric and I met. And when we moved here and actually started the planting process, my mind was completely overwhelmed and blown. So that was fun.
April 10th is the earliest day that farmers are “able” to start planting. In other words, crop insurance companies won’t cover your crop planted before that date due to the possibility of frost. Eric, along with his dad, ordered their seed and had it delivered to the house a week or so before planting, as well as met with our crop insurance agent to get drought, general storm and hail damage for our fields. That way if things go bad (there is always that possibility), we will at least get a certain percentage back of what we lost. Crop insurance is super expensive, but, as we have seen with all the bad weather that has been around us, is completely necessary.
We farm in a partnership with Eric’s folks and plant corn and soy beans. There are lots of details that go into that, but I won’t break too deeply into that today. Basically, we use the same equipment they do and plant and harvest together. There are numerous fields around Milford that we farm. It sounds kind of silly (or at least at first it did to me) but they each have names. Most of the time they are named after who used to farm them or who we rent them from. They are so named: Yost, Mel’s, Reed’s Place, Terry’s, Richard’s, Home Place, Telk, Lyle’s and The Railroad. A few of these fields were new to our family this year, as it was our first year back farming, so there was quite a bit of dirt work that needed to be done prior to planting. Some of the fields had not been maintained properly, so the guys spent quite a bit of time disking, field cultivating and working over their terraces, drains and pivots. This Spring, Kim and Eric each tried to plant their own fields, but helped each other out when the days got really long or when the other had something else going on.
Usually, corn and bean fields get alternated each season. This is to keep the nitrogen levels in balance, therefor keeping the yields up year after year. We plant our corn first, beans second and sweet corn patch last. Different planters aren’t needed with each crop, rather different disks inserted into the planter to fit the type of seed being spread. Our planter is run via GPS, so our rows are always pretty darn straight. There is quite a bit more technology associated with planting than I realized and it has been fun to learn the machinery since we have been here. Eric has let me drive each of the tractors and it’s a lot harder than I thought it was going to be. Maybe that’s because Nora was usually in the tractor with us 🙂
Full planting only takes about 10-14 days for us, but with all the rain and storms we had this spring it took us about a full month to get all of our crops in the ground. Sheila, Nora and I enjoyed making meals and bringing them out to the guys in the field during this season, but were always glad to see them when they could spare a little time to come home for lunch. Luckily, none of the large storms with tornadoes or hail have hit our crops as they have gotten bigger, but one of our pivots got taken out by a tornado, so we were feeling very blessed compared to many farmers around us. Our planting this year basically went off very smoothly, so we are hoping for a good summer and fast harvest.
A lot of this may seem confusing, or even ho-hum for some, but this is a very exciting time in our family’s life! It has been a season of learning, patience, fear and excitement. Again, we are feeling very blessed with our first planting season and are loving looking out the window and watching our crops pop up in pretty little rows (and if you are now singing Tim McGraw’s “Where the Green Grass Grows, you are pretty cool in my book!).