Poor Corn Emergence

It is frustrating to find that major seed companies don’t have a level of quality control that matches their seed prices. With the impending wet and cold planting season that was forecast this spring, we had our equipment ready to get a jump start planting corn if that window of opportunity presented itself. April 18 – April 24 was our window and it quickly closed again until May 5. Two of the five varieties we planted failed at their first task of creating a good stand (high percentage) that emerges evenly. Gold Country 104-37 had very uneven emergence and a thin stand. Dekalb 52-85 had even emergence but, once again, a thin stand. Why don’t these companies publish a cold germ test on their seed tags? Warm germ is quite deceiving.

In this photos, taken from the top of our grain leg, you can see the difference in stand. The one on the left is obviously thinner than the one on the right. Both are Dekalb varieties.

Planting season is knocking!

Warm enough February day for the door to be open.

It happens every spring. We open the machine shed door, after clearing any remaining snow and ice from in front of it, move any equipment blocking the planter and extract the sleeping planter from it’s nest. Once the planter is outside, it receives its spring wash down. The dust that has settled on it over the past 8 months is flushed away with the power washer and the planter is ushered into the heated shop for it’s pre-planting work over. Because it worked on the day we completed planting is no reason to assume it will make it through another planting season without some refurbishing and lubrication.

Washing the dust off.

Planting weather is fickle in Minnesota. It can lull you into believing that you have all the time in the world to get the crop in and then the updated forecast puts us under the gun to get as much in before the rains or cold snap hits. We don’t want a half ready planter to come between us and the impending deadline. Continue reading

Test plot planting day 2016

test plot follow with ranger

Planting the plot. Ranger follows to help change varieties on the other end.

test plot changing varieties

Not everyone likes having their picture taken.

Every year, Otto Farms puts in a test plot for corn varieties. Our limit is 24 and we made it to 21 this year. That’s a lot of seed boxes to empty and refill every 500 feet of planting! We plant 3 varieties on each pass. 4 rows/variety. We couldn’t have picked a better day. Beautiful weather with light winds and short sleeve temperatures.

Below is the lineup of varieties that made it into our plot this year. These are varieties we are planting in our field as well as varieties we would consider planting in future years. Most of the varieties are double stacks meaning that they are roundup and corn borer resistant. We have a couple that add in root worm resistance as well. When the double stack varieties are planted in the field we add an insecticide in the seed furrow to control corn root worm as well as other in-ground insects. Continue reading

Spring planting photos.

vertical till

Kuhn-Krause Vertical Till Machine

vertical till view from cab

Vertical Tillage viewed from the rear window.

sprayer ready

Getting the spray equipment ready.

corn kernel seed in trench

Checking seed placement and soil contact.

planting corn front view

Planting as viewed from the driver’s seat.

planting corn rear view

Rear window view of the planter.

Planting as well as applying fertilizer and insecticide.

Planting as well as applying fertilizer and insecticide.

planting corn follow

Planting corn – rear view from the field.

Corn Planting 2016 – April 15

Planting as well as applying fertilizer and insecticide.

Planting as well as applying fertilizer and insecticide.

After the slow/cold start to April, we were pleasantly surprised but the fast warmup of both the air and the soil.

An array of monitors.

An array of monitors.

April 15, 2016 was our official start date this year for planting corn and by April 23 (due to a rain delay) we had all our corn in except 80 acres. We thought we’d squeeze it the last field before the weather turned against us but to no avail. Now we wait through a week of forecast rains.

Soils were fit for planting and had plenty of moisture available for good germination. We still need to get our pre-emerge herbicide on the fields but that time will come soon enough.

The current rain delay allows us to catch up on other things that get ignored when planting is the priority.