Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Waiting To Get Our Hands Dirty

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Spring on the farm always means planting season. As a youngster I remember spending many hours with my mom and siblings- planning, preparing and planting the garden. I always thought that selecting what to plant was the best part of gardening. There was so much to choose from and every plant and vegetable pictured on the packets looked colorful and tasty. But then reality set in when it was time to actually get my hands dirty. Often times my mom would set a timer saying, "You can quit working in the garden when the timer rings." Planting, weeding, and harvesting were all part of the grand scheme to get yummy fresh veggies on our table. But jeez, won't that timer ever ring?

Farmer John, on the other hand, can't wait to get his hands dirty. The only timer John is waiting for is the "starting bell" to begin Spring fieldwork. No, there isn't really a starting bell, but there are preparations in the works. 
Our first delivery of corn seed has arrived. We plant several brands and varieties of seed which are chosen by John and our agronomist to ensure the best crops for our cattle, and our soil and weather conditions. We plant 140 acres of corn, which typically feeds our animals for the following year. This picture shows 30 bags of corn seed. 30 bags x 2 acres per bag = 60 acres of corn. Each acre will be planted with 35,900 corn seeds! How much does corn seed cost? See for yourself...

Remember, this invoice is for 60 acres of seed and we plant 140 acres. We will be receiving another delivery of seed for the remaining 80 acres. That's another bill of nearly $30,000 plus the bills for the oats and alfalfa we also plant! We farmers are risk-takers. I think that's why we always have one eye on the weather, and a prayer on our lips.

Typically field work begins in April, however it's all up to the weather. John will have to wait patiently while the soil warms up and dries out a bit. Planting too early may cause the seeds to rot in the ground or not germinate due to the cold. In past years, some farmers have risked planting too early, only to have to replant again later when conditions are right. This is a costly mistake since you have to purchase twice the seed and invest twice the time and fuel to replant.

So for now Farmer John is dusting off the planter and getting it ready, and waiting for that "starting bell" to ring.

PS- I don't plant a garden any more; haven't for years!
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  1. Hope that "starting bell" rings soon for Farmer John and his helpers!

    1. Thanks! The forecast for today is snow so I'm thinking we have a bit longer to wait to hear that bell.

  2. Loved your childhood memories of planting a garden. How fun!

    1. I think my mom used the timer so she didn't have to keep responding to "Are we done yet?" She just pointed to the timer. Clever lady!