Thursday, June 02, 2011

Plantin' is Done

This morning's post will be brief, as we're off to pay our respects to my FIL's uncle who passed away last week. My husband and I have very different views on funerals. While they rank among the Top 10 in things he'd like to avoid in his life, I don't mind attending them. Don't get me wrong, they're not fun by any means, but there is something to be said about a gathering of people for one single purpose. And when that single purpose is to give strength to a grieving family, it is hard to avoid the power in the room. You are in our prayers, Uncle Wendel. May you rest in peace.

On a lighter note, the last bit of our corn was planted earlier this week. While we run on a Much smaller scale than many of our mid-west farming friends, the acreage that we plant is a vital part of our operation.

Every piece of farmground surrounding our dairy is used to plant crops to be fed to our herd. Alfalfa, Orchard Grass, Oats, Corn... we use it all. This time of year, we're busy working ground after the oat harvest, getting it ready to plant corn. This is the corn planter, a much smaller rig than I see in my fellow bloggers' posts! Either way, it gets the job done. :)
The arms to each side of the planter are markers. They mark a line in the dirt so the planter can see where he's already planted, and follow the line back down the field so he doesn't miss any space between. At the end of the field, the arm comes up...
he turns around, drops the opposite arm...  
drops the planter... 
and he's off again. Wouldn't it be nice to plant a garden "so simply"? Then again, I'm not sure I could keep up by hand at harvest time! 
An important part of planting season are the seeds... and just what would you expect a corn seed to look like? 
Well, corn kernels, of course! These kernels are pre-treated and thus a lightly pink color. This will help give them a boost before and during the growing season, rather than the farmer treating the plants after they've sprouted.
The seeds are placed in these bucket type holders on the back of the planter. This planter holds 6 buckets at a time, which means he's planting 6 rows of corn at a time.

A closer look reveals the disc that sits below the bucket.
This disc spins and the seeds drop one at a time between the teeth on the outer rim of the disc. When I took these photos, the planter was waiting for a smaller disc to be delivered, the seeds were falling through the disc too quickly so he needed one with smaller teeth.
The disc drops each seed through this opening below it...
where it falls down this chute... 
and through this opening, that's set in the ground at the right depth. The dirt then falls back in over the top of the seed, covering it just right. Such an amazing invention, could you imagine planting each seed One. At. A. Time.?

If this field was completed on May 31st, is there anyone who wants to take a guess on when the corn will sprout?  

3 comments:

Lana said...

My farmer husband just came in to grab a quick bite, and I showed him this post. He liked seeing the six-row planter, it brought back memories of what he called "71 units," referring to the buckets where the seeds go. We plant around 1800 acres and have graduated to a 16-row planter. It makes the season a lot quicker, and with the crazy "spring" we have had in Indiana, time is definitely money when it comes to that small window of opportunity to get the seeds in the ground. We are done now, except for about 90 acres of soybeans we plant for another farmer.

Colleen Cecil said...

Let me first say I am sorry to hear about Uncle Wendal. Moving on, what an awesome post Ellen and great pictures. Make sure you post this on the knowacaliforniafarmer.com too!

The Durrer Family said...

Thanks, Colleen... I'll have to look into that!