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Sunday, May 15, 2011

The corn planting discussion everyone really wants to read!

My two sweet corn planting customers called me up today and thanked me for getting their corn planted. It made me feel good. It rained quite a bit last night.
I'm a little worried about the population. Our goal was 24,000 seeds but the monitor kept giving me 20,000 readings and I have too much seed left. If I divide out the seeds per bag vs the acres I come up with like 18,000 seeds. But, if I go by the spacing and use the little New Idea corn planter population slide rule I come up with the 24,000 goal. Depends on if the seeds are 8" apart or 9" apart. I did find one that was 10" and I think there were skips. The farmer dug up a lot of seeds and said 8 1/2" and no skips and no doubles. I did set the air up past 2 1/2lbs but I've never had to mess with the air before and don't really understand how it works.

I planted 1" deep in the wet clods but it covered really well. I have the turbo-till no-till coulters off a great plains drill for the fertilizer and the standard narrow wave White no-till coulters for the corn row. I did not install my row cleaners as they are really ridge-till disks and a little aggressive.
The press wheel is just the single wide wheel but I do have twisted drag chains and keeton seed firmers. The no-till openers really worked the clods up and make a much better seed bed. I had really good seed to soil contact with no voids. I think it will work.
It was a beautiful farm. Rolling hills a pond, and a oak wood lot. They have Charlois (sp?) cattle. You don't see those much any more. I wish I had a farm like it. Of course the wood lot would be full of antique machinery...

I started the next at 4 or 5 p.m. The field was well tilled and I planted at 1 1/2" We changed the fertilizer rate but actually did it wrong and got half the amount. Then I calculated it wrong in my head from the level on the tank so we just went with what we had and I got done sometime well after dark.
The fertilizer in the row worked fairly well. I just have a quarter turn valve to control the pressure and it is kind of touchy. I just put 3 gallons per acre in the row with the seed. I used old Blumhardt fittings to make up my spray boom and a shureflow pump I bought on ebay. I did get a little wild with a magnet and a couple relays so the pump and the calc-an-acre turn off when I raise the planter.

The best modification I made to the planter is the addition of a water tank to wash my hands after getting a hole in my glove and having sticky liquid fertilizer all over my hands.


  1. I still believe in starter fertilizer. Even though it's expensive in terms of cost for the specific amount of N-P-K I put it on, but all the big guys are getting away from it. It's hard to find a 'used' corn planter in Illinois that has starter tanks on it. Most are without. All of the new BIG planters, 16 or 24 row, don't have any starter tanks, simply because their folding frames can't handle the weight, so their operators put everything down pre-plant. Many argue they can't tell a difference between when they used starter and when they didn't. I still like it when the conditions turn sour. I feel it helps the young plant cope with cold temps or dry weather...

    All The Best,
    Frank W. James

  2. Frank, after switching to liquid I am even more impressed with the starter fertilizer. We also strip-till and it is hard to get the fertilizer worked in the ground. I think the starter in the row will help with our wet conditions. Keep the corn from turning yellow perhaps. I guess the big boys are sacrificing starter in favor of getting more rows planted.
    I've noticed over the years that farmers tend to do what the other guy is doing. Things come into fashion and the people who buy new every three years seem to always follow the hot new trends. Then there are the other folks. I'm thinking of trying ridge-till. Now there is a new technology!


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