Our soybeans are planted on ridges formed with a row crop cultivator in corn the previous year. The seedbed is not worked until the planter passes through the field planting soybeans. In the first image, you can see the corn stalk still firmly in the center of the ridge. Our planter is set off about 3 inches from the center of the ridge and places the soybeans beside the old corn row. This has proven to provide a much better seedbed than trying to plant down the center of the ridge, as we did for many years. The RTK GPS guidance makes this possible.
This year proved to be more challenging due to the extremely dry conditions. With 1 1/2 inches of dry dirt on the surface, we had to sweep away a significant amount of dirt with our Dawn brand row cleaners. This worked well to get us down to moisture but proved tricky when soil types varied from a clay loam to more peat like soils. The whole planter unit just sank through the ridge and caused way too much soil to move. We ended up using a field roller on a number of acres to press down the exposed corn root balls that could have caused problems at harvest.
We had our earliest start ever in a planting season. April 15, 2015 was the day it all began. Some tillage was done the day ahead so we could get off to a fast start in the morning. We spent until 2pm on April 15th troubleshooting GPS issues. So much for the jump start. Man can make all the plans he wants, but God is in control.
A few days of warmer and dryer than average weather gave us ideal planting conditions. Looking ahead though told us that our window of opportunity would quickly come to a close. The following week was going to be quite cold with many nights below freezing. Four days of planting and then a break. The next week saw a neighbor here and there putting some corn in the ground, but we did not want to take the chance.
Monday, April 27th we were off to the races again and completed corn planting on April 29th.