Minnesota Farmer

Should I start

April 11, the day crop insurance will cover some of your expense if your crop is damaged by the weather in our area.  Should I start planting corn.

It was a chilly 16 degrees as the sun came up this morning.  I’ve had wood in the boiler for the last several days to help keep the house warm.  There was ice on the pond this morning.  Some farmers in Southwestern Minnesota will start planting corn today, but I will not be one of them.

I have my seed in the shed and the planter is ready to go, but I just cannot bring myself to start planting this early.  Despite the warm days we have had lately the signs are just not right.  Not having several thousand acres to plant may be part of it, but I know I can get the corn planted in 7 days if I need to, so I’m not in a rush yet.

Even with the cold tolerance of the modern day varieties as compared to the old varieties, I cannot see putting the seed at risk.  I know you should store seed in a cool dry place, and our soil is cool and dry now, but putting it out for the rodents and insects to feast on just does not seem right.

I’m still a bit old school.  My farming grandfathers told me a number of ways to tell if the ground was warm enough.  We have no barn swallows here, which means the insects that hatch as the soil warms are not out.  The oak and ash tree do not even have a hint of leaf on them, much less the squirrels ear sized leaves they should have to indicate proper soil temperature.  Last but not least, I have not dropped my pants to see how comfortable the soil is on a bare bottom, never tried it, but have talked about it.  Things just do not feel right to me yet.

I did see a planting crew heading to the field about 8:30 this morning so I know there will be corn going in the ground today.  I have been hearing rumors of corn planted and already up just across the border in Iowa.  It will be interesting to see how many do get the planters going.

Some of my neighbors have not been careful enough lately when they travel the roads with seed corn on trucks and trailers.  I have seen evidence of bags of seed that fell off and split open on the road.  At about $300 per bag, this is a real tragedy.  Just a little care could prevent such a loss.  This is not a time for hurry, but a time to make sure everything is done right the first time.

So don’t look for me planting corn today, and with the forecast for rain showers for the next few days, I don’t expect to start this week.  If I get going by the 23rd and done by the 30th I’ll be happy.  We’ll see.



1 Comment so far
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You are probably wise to wait. Just the other night I heard that squirrel ear sized comparison from farmer friends. I’d never heard that one before.

Comment by Minnesota Prairie Roots

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