After Planting Crops are Hungry!
Our corn and popcorn need feeding, and they want Nitrogen. To reduce our fertilizer bills and to be less wasteful with N loss to groundwater or the atmosphere we have changed our N application program in the last few years. Don’t put any N on in the fall after harvest anymore. Maybe do some preplant in early spring, but now pretty much 100% sidedress. What’s sidedress? That’s where we put Nitrogen after the corn crop is emerged after planting. Putting the N on closer to when the plant really needs it means we can back off the rate a little bit because there are less chances for environmental loss between application and when the corn will use the nutrient.
Don’t forget last year’s harvest that is still in storage. Normally farmers are hauling the previous crop up until a few weeks before the next harvest. Market prices determine how often and how much grain to move at a given time. As each bin gets empty, you must get in and shovel out the rest when gravity no longer flows the grain out. You also need to periodically check the inside of each bin to ensure the grain quality is maintained. If you find a bin with hot grain or bugs, pull a few loads out ASAP and check it again.
Prepping for Next Season
Equipment used during planting will all be cleaned and inspected for damage along with regular end-of-season maintenance. Sometimes there will be a minor repair that needs to be done. In the heat of planting season, you might let something small slide for a while if you can keep rolling. Try to put things away in a condition where they are field ready for their next use. This way when it’s time to pull that equipment out of the shed again the main thing we need to do is check tire pressures, but otherwise, it should be ready to roll.
Weeds, bugs, disease, ponding, hail, wind, and more can still affect our final yields. You’ll need to keep a vigilant eye on your growing investment in case a problem arises.
So that’s a lot of things to do right? By the Fourth of July, much of this should be done. Or at least the first round of tasks that need repeating will be done. But Independence Day, give or take a few days on either side, means a few more frenzied days of work.
Fun & Family
You do honestly have a little freer time in summer than we do in spring. You may have some weekend getaways planned over the summer. A couple of fun things for the kids away from home. When it’s not time to plant or harvest you’ll usually work a few hours on Saturday morning and never on Sundays. But when the planter is out, or the combine is harvesting all bets are off!