Planting season. This is one of my favorite times of the year. With each pass through the field comes the promise of a new year, new crop, and new opportunities.
There’s no doubt that planting season also doubles as one of the most stressful times of the year!
Between working around spring weather to do any field work (filling irrigation tracks, disking, etc.), to planting the crop, or spraying for weeds/insects, there is always plenty of things to do to stay busy this time of year.
With all that is currently going on, it seems like we often get to be in a bit of a rush as well.
Planting season reminds me of a book by Howard Buffet (Warren’s son) called 40 Chances.
If you’ve never checked it out before, please do me a favor and take a peek at it, at some point!
At the beginning of this book, Howard outlines and explains the name of 40 Chances. From his own personal passion for farming, Howard reasons that:
“All farmers can expect to have about 40 growing seasons, giving them just 40 chances to improve on every harvest.”
Granted 40 is simply a ballpark figure!
However, it puts things into perspective when you start to put a number to the amount of times we have to grow a crop. In-season the time seems to drag out over days, weeks, and months while the crop grows.
But in the grand scheme of things, 40 isn’t that large of a number. To me, that means doing our best to agronomically and economically have the best year that we can. To be flexible with what Mother Nature throws at us and to strive for the best year yet!
In my current time in the retail ag industry, I’ve seen several growers getting “antsy” to get started with planting for this season. There’s quite a few factors that can go into starting the season off right! So what are some of these factors???
Every year (usually about mid April) here in Nebraska, there is a date that is the initial crop insurance planting date.
If you’re not familiar with this, you may be thinking: well can’t a farmer plant their crop whenever they want to??
Yes, that is true. HOWEVER, if a farmer wants insurance coverage for his crop (just like health insurance) then he must wait to plant his crop on (or after) the initial state planting date.
While some growers may be in a rush to get their crops into the ground by this specific date to maximize the length of the growing season, they still need to tread with caution to make sure field conditions are adequate.
Even with the calendar hitting the right day, a grower needs to be cautious with the current field conditions and the 5-10 day weather forecast.
For corn, if temperatures are below 50 degrees Fahrenheit, the growth of the seed will be slowed and potentially inhibited. For any seed, whether corn, soybeans, etc. cool, wet soil conditions can slow down growth, bring in potential seedling disease, etc.
Last of all, and the most important question: are we fully prepared to start the season?
This means are starter fertilizer tanks delivered and filled? Is all of the seed delivered and placed accordingly to what field will be planted first? Have we completed all of the necessary field work?
There are a lot of preparations that go into the planting season. Contrary to Mr. Mike Bloomberg’s previous statement, farming is not “as easy” as it appears.
We must instead make the most of each chance, each season we have to make the most of the opportunity we have in front of us.
To my fellow growers out there…happy planting season!