We are finally planting corn. Or at least we were until the rains came along last night and stopped us. Don’t get me wrong, by no means am I complaining about the rain, yet. It was nice to see that it can rain and to start to see water in some of the ponds. For those of you who did not get the heavy rains, I am sorry, and I am not trying to rub it in. Corn planting season 2018 has not been a seamless, effortless process.
For quite a while I felt like Goldie Locks when it came to getting the corn in the ground. At first it was too dry, then it was too cold, and it was never just right. For some reason I kept waiting for just right and now it is too wet. Further proof that we farmers are never happy, and the conditions are never right. In any case, this messed up spring weather had me days behind where I really wanted to be when it came to planting corn.
Finally, everything came together this week and Dad and I decided it was time to start planting. We had gotten the planter in the shop a week before that and had fixed what we knew to be broken from the season before. We checked out all the hoses, tubes, disks and chains and made the necessary replacements. The seeding rate and depth were set, and I thought we were ready to hit the ground running. I don’t know why I kid myself like that, maybe I am delusional.
Monday was the anointed day to start corn planting 2018 and I was ready. That morning I got out and started chores early with the anticipation of finally being in the field. It felt good. Finally, we were going to start on that long list of springtime tasks.
We finished chores and I started to load the seed while Dad serviced the tractor and got ready to go. Nothing was going to stop us, the birds were singing, the sun was shining, it was warm, and life was good. Right up to when my phone rang. Dad was on the other end and told me not to load seed and to come over, we had a problem with the planter. My mood went from bright and sunny to dark and stormy in an instant. This was not in the plans.
When I got over to Dad’s the problem was obvious. So obvious that I kicked myself over and over and over for not seeing it. The frame on one of the row units was cracked and the metal was too thin weld. The only solution was to completely change the unit out, hopefully the salvage place had something. A quick look over revealed that the dismantling would not be too hard, four bolts, a bearing, the planter tube and row monitor wiring and it would be off. It was too hard for one man to hold up while the bolts came off, so we used the loader and went to work on the bolts.
They still had the factory paint on them and took a lot of cussing, grunting and a layer of knuckle to come off, but the did come off. After that the dismantling was a breeze and we soon had the unit off and were headed to the salvage yard. That is when our luck turned back to the good. A unit was available, already torn off and ready to go. Within a few minutes we were headed for home with the new unit. It was decided to go with new bolts and spacers since the unit was already off. One of our neighbors stopped by at either the right time or the wrong time depending on your point of view and three hands made for an easy attachment.
What I had planned on taking at least a day had only taken about four hours and that was with an hour or more on the road. By mid afternoon we were back in the field and the planter was working almost perfectly. Life was good, the birds were once again singing, and the sun was shining. All was right with the world. We didn’t get nearly as much done on the first day as I would have liked but at least we got something planted and that felt like progress.
That evening I was chatting with a friend about the progress of our corn planting. I mentioned our trouble and we both agreed the first acre you plant or harvest is the hardest. Usually after that first acre things kind of fall into a routine and life gets a lot easier. That was the case right up to the rain and once again the weather has sidelined corn planting 2018. I guess that means it is time for cattle working 2018. That first cow is a whole lot like that first acre.